en The Story Changes: Ebola Is Now "Aerostable" And Can Remain On Surfaces For 50 Days <p><em>Submitted by <a href=";utm_reader=feedly&amp;utm_medium=rss&amp;utm_campaign=the-story-changes-ebola-is-now-aerostable-and-can-remain-on-surfaces-for-50-days">Michael Snyder of The End of the American Dream blog</a>,</em></p> <p><strong>When it comes to Ebola, the story that the government is telling us just keeps on changing.</strong>&nbsp; At first, government officials were claiming that it was very difficult to spread the Ebola virus.&nbsp; Some of them were even comparing it to HIV.&nbsp; We were given the impression that we had to have &ldquo;direct contact&rdquo; with someone else&rsquo;s body fluids in order to have any chance of catching the virus.&nbsp; But of course that is not true at all.&nbsp; <strong>Now authorities are admitting that Ebola is &ldquo;aerostable&rdquo;, that it can be &ldquo;spread through droplets&rdquo;, and that it can remain on surfaces for up to 50 days.&nbsp;</strong> That is far different information than we have been getting up until this point.&nbsp; So that means when they were so confidently declaring that they know exactly how Ebola spreads they were lying to us.</p> <p><strong>On October 24th, a 33 page document was released by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and in that document it is admitted that Ebola is &ldquo;aerostable&rdquo;.</strong>&nbsp; WND was one of the first news outlets to report on this&hellip;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The information was contained in a 33-page report released Oct. 24 by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Department of Defense&rsquo;s Combat Support Agency for countering weapons of mass destruction.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The agency report states <strong>&ldquo;preliminary studies indicate that Ebola is aerostable in an enclosed controlled system in the dark and can survive for long periods in different liquid media and can also be recovered from plastic and glass surfaces at low temperatures for over 3 weeks.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The report says the government is seeking technologies for the &ldquo;rapid disinfection&rdquo; of Ebola, including an aerosol version of the virus.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The technology must prove effective against viral contamination either <strong>deposited as an aerosol </strong>or heavy contaminated combined with body fluids,&rdquo; reads the solicitation document.</p> </blockquote> <p>You can view the document for yourself<a href=";mode=form&amp;id=4644486179fe1388a4c395d0d0527b5e&amp;tab=core&amp;_cview=0"> right here.</a></p> <p><strong>So is there any difference between &ldquo;aerostable&rdquo; and &ldquo;airborne&rdquo;?</strong></p> <p>That is a very good question.</p> <p><strong>Meanwhile, the CDC has finally come out and publicly admitted that Ebola &ldquo;is spread through droplets&rdquo;.</strong></p> <p>In other words, it can be spread by a cough or a sneeze.</p> <p>On the CDC website, it now says <a href="">the following</a>&hellip;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;A person might also get infected <strong>by touching a surface or object that has germs on it</strong> and then touching their mouth or nose.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Well, that certainly does not sound like &ldquo;direct contact&rdquo; to me.</p> <p>And once someone has coughed or sneezed, the virus can live on a surface for a very long time.</p> <p>In fact, authorities in the UK now tell us that Ebola can survive on a glass surface <a href="">for up to 50 days</a>&hellip;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The number of confirmed Ebola cases passed the 10,000 mark over the weekend, despite efforts to curb its spread.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>And while the disease typically dies on surfaces within hours,<strong> research has discovered it can survive for more than seven weeks under certain conditions.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>During tests, the UK&rsquo;s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) found that the Zaire strain will live on samples stored on glass at low temperatures<strong> for as long as 50 days.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>All of this directly contradicts what the CDC website has been telling us&hellip;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;To get Ebola, you have to directly get body fluids (like pee, poop, spit, sweat, vomit, semen, breast milk) from someone who has Ebola in your mouth, nose, eyes or through a break in your skin or through sexual contact.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>It turns out that is not even close to the truth.</p> <p><strong>And even as Obama boldly proclaims that there will not be an Ebola pandemic in the United States, the actions that his administration is currently taking suggest otherwise.</strong></p> <p>For example, we have just learned that the federal government has ordered 250,000 hazmat suits and is sending them <a href="">to Dallas</a>&hellip;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>A manager with a major shipping company has exclusively revealed to Infowars that the U.S. government has ordered 250,000 Hazmat suits to be sent to Dallas, the location of the first Ebola outbreak in the United States.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The manager of the shipping company proved his credentials to Infowars by providing a photo ID and sending a verified email from the company account, but wishes to remain anonymous due to understandable fears that he could be fired for revealing the information.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I just learned we have been asked to ship 250,000 HAZMAT suits to Dallas, TX. for the US Government. Again this is happening today, we are pulling these suits for the US Government to Dallas, TX,&rdquo; states the individual, who manages the drivers who work for the shipping company.</p> </blockquote> <p>Why in the world would the Obama administration buy so many hazmat suits if everything was under control?</p> <p>It doesn&rsquo;t make sense.</p> <p><strong>Is this Ebola outbreak much more of a potential threat than they are telling us?</strong></p> <p>Insurance companies sure seem to think so.&nbsp; In fact, many of them are now<a href=""> specifically excluding Ebola</a> from their policies&hellip;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Remember the promise of universal health care with Obamacare, with no refusal for &lsquo;pre-existing conditions&rsquo;? It looks like your insurance company may not have to cover you if you get Ebola. <strong>U.S. and British insurance companies<a href=""> have begun writing</a> Ebola exclusions into standard policies to cover hospitals, event organizers, and other businesses vulnerable to local disruptions.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While it is estimated that expenditures to treat the original Dallas Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, were approximately <strong><a href="">$100,000 an hour </a></strong>(though he passed anyway), it looks like insurance companies won&rsquo;t be footing the bill.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>President Obama originally refused to set up travel restrictions in and out of West Africa, too, even though the governments latest scare tactics and the CDC&rsquo;s ineptitude have resulted in insurance companies creating new policies which exclude Ebola care. Renewals will also become costlier for companies opting to insure business travel to West Africa or to cover the risk of losses from quarantine shutdowns at home.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>The American people deserve the truth.</strong></p> <p>I can understand the desire to keep people calm, but giving the public a false sense of security isn&rsquo;t going to do anyone any good, and it might end up making this crisis much, much worse.</p> <p>It is important for people to know how easily this virus spreads so that they can take appropriate measures to protect themselves and their families.&nbsp; Since June,<a href=""> approximately 400 health workers</a> have caught this virus, and <a href="">about 230</a> of them have died.&nbsp; These workers take extreme precautions to avoid getting Ebola.&nbsp; If this virus did not spread easily, this would not be happening.</p> <p><u><strong>&nbsp;If our politicians and the mainstream media are not going to tell us the truth, then we are going to have to keep one another informed.</strong></u></p> Insurance Companies Obama Administration Obamacare President Obama Sat, 01 Nov 2014 02:01:17 +0000 Tyler Durden 496669 at A Massive FX Quake Hits Japan: This Is What It Looked Like <p>When central bankers go wild...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="405" /></a></p> <p><em>h/t @NanexLLC</em></p> <p><em>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</em></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><em>Perhaps a better analogy is as follows:</em></strong></span></p> <p><iframe src="//" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1013" height="683" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Japan Sat, 01 Nov 2014 01:30:43 +0000 Tyler Durden 496668 at Who Will Suffer From A Leveraged Credit Shakeout? <p><em>Submitted by <a href="">Charlie Hennemann via CFA Institute blog</a>,</em></p> <p>Of all the noteworthy moments from the <a href="" title="Insights from the 2014 CFA Institute Fixed-Income Management Conference | @CFAevents">2014 CFA Institute Fixed-Income Management Conference</a>, the <strong>bombshell may have been the default call from Martin S. Fridson, CFA.</strong></p> <p>Fridson, CIO at Lehmann Livian Fridson Advisors, has been a leading figure in the high-yield bond market since it was known as the &ldquo;<a href="" title="Definition for Junk Bond | Investopedia">junk bond</a>&rdquo; market &mdash; and he <strong>sees as much as $1.6 trillion in high-yield defaults coming in a surge he expects to begin soon.</strong></p> <p><strong>&ldquo;And this is not based on an apocalyptic forecast,&rdquo; he assured the audience.</strong></p> <p>High-yield bonds, typically issued with credit ratings at the bottom of the scale, tend to suffer default surges during troughs in the credit cycle. The first high-yield default surge occurred from 1989 to 1992, and encompassed the <a href="" title="The Collapse of Drexel Burnham Lambert | The New York Times">collapse of Drexel Burnham Lambert</a>. The second surge ran from 1999 to 2003, following <a href="" title="Market Crashes: The Dotcom Crash | Investopedia">the bursting of the dot-com bubble</a>, and the third happened in the midst of the global financial crisis, from 2008 to 2009.</p> <p><u><strong>Fridson suggests the next default surge will be larger than the last three combined.</strong></u> Each surge saw an average annual high-yield default rate above 7% (which, if extended over a multi-year period, can add up to real money).</p> <p>Fridson currently projects that 1,155 issuers will default in the next wave. Over a four-year period that easily surpasses the 644 defaults in 1999&ndash;2003, the largest of the three prior default surges.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Fridson: Distressed managers will have &quot;plenty to do&quot; in next cycle; predicts a cumulative HY default rate of 33% in 2016-19. <a href="">#CFAFI</a></p> <p>&mdash; Charlie Henneman CFA (@CHenneman) <a href="">October 16, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p><span id="cke_bm_124S" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span>For context, Fridson points to the last default surge of 2008&ndash;2009<span id="cke_bm_124E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span>: It lasted only two years, and the market swung from a record number of defaults in 2008 to a below-average number in 2009, something Fridson &ldquo;would have said was impossible.&rdquo; The reason, of course, was that interventionist policies did as intended in the wake of the financial crisis, cutting the credit cycle short and giving new life to many issuers that were staring default in the face. In the absence of a strong cyclical recovery, this may only have delayed the inevitable.</p> <p>Fridson noted that <strong>since 2010, the high-yield market has seen deterioration in the credit-ratings mix even as it has grown at a compound annual growth rate exceeding 10%</strong>, fueled in part by European issuers accessing the high-yield markets in lieu of bank credit, which has been harder to get thanks to more conservative bank capital requirements.</p> <p>One key assumption behind Fridson&rsquo;s forecast is that the Fed ends its program of quantitative easing (QE) and allows interest rates to rise. QE may have ended, but <a href="" title="Dollar Surges as Fed Ends QE on Hawkish Note | Reuters">Fed guidance calls for interest rates to remain low for a &ldquo;considerable time</a>.&rdquo; Fridson was asked about QE and the persistence of low rates during Q&amp;A after his presentation, and the answer left the audience murmuring.</p> <p><u><strong>&ldquo;If we&rsquo;re in this Fed rescue mode [in 2016&ndash;2019], then I think we&rsquo;re in a lot of trouble. Very serious trouble.&rdquo;</strong></u></p> <p>The final presentation at the Fixed-Income Management Conference was from Paul Travers, a manager of bank loans and <a href="" title="Collateralized Loan Obligation - CLO | Investopedia">collateralized loan obligations (CLOs)</a> at Onex Credit Partners. Travers was quick to offer his thoughts about Fridson&rsquo;s forecast, which would have a profound impact on the bank loan market if it comes to pass.</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;I hope he&rsquo;s wrong,&rdquo; Travers exclaimed, noting that high-yield issuers are often also issuers of syndicated loans. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know if I can live through another four-year default wave.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>In a typical default situation, the holders of senior-secured bank debt would be expected to have much better recoveries than holders of the same issuer&rsquo;s high-yield bonds, because bank loans have higher priority in the company&rsquo;s capital structure. But investors in loans may not do as well in the next credit trough as they have in the past, as leverage multiples in the loan market have steadily climbed since 2011.</p> <p>Unlike fixed-rate high-yield bonds, leveraged loans typically offer floating rates indexed off of Libor,&nbsp;usually resetting monthly, which provides some protection for investors against the prospect of a rising interest rate environment. Travers considers the current credit environment &ldquo;relatively benign,&rdquo; and said the current low-rate, low-growth environment is the &ldquo;sweet spot&rdquo; for the leveraged loan market &mdash; positive growth that isn&rsquo;t rapid enough to threaten a rate increase. Under these conditions, the <a href="" title="S&amp;P/LSTA U.S. Leveraged Loan 100 Index | S&amp;P Dow Jones Indices">S&amp;P/LSTA Leveraged Loan Index</a>&nbsp;par amount outstanding&nbsp;increased to $768 billion in July of this year, adding $76 billion in the first half of 2014.</p> <p>During his presentation, Travers noted that &ldquo;<a href="" title="Covenant-Lite Loans | Investopedia">Covenant Lite</a>&rdquo; loans now exceed 50% of the&nbsp; S&amp;P/LSTA Leveraged Loan Index. According to Travers, fewer loan covenants wouldn&rsquo;t necessarily lead to a higher incidence of defaults, since loan holders in most instances would be inclined to waive covenants rather than force an issuer into default. But over time, the lack of tight covenants could allow cash to flow out of the company, resulting in lower loan recoveries for investors in the event of default.</p> <p><strong>Of more immediate concern to Travers was the impact of retail fund flows on the leveraged loan market, which had seen <a href="" title="Leveraged Loan Fund Outflows Reach Nearly $1B, Led by Mutual Funds, 14th Straight Week of Outflows |">14 consecutive weeks of negative flows</a> at the time of the conference after a long period of inflows. A fairly recent phenomenon in the leveraged-credit market, these retail flows from large loan managers &mdash; forced to buy and sell large blocks of loans to put cash to work or meet fund redemptions &mdash; contribute to volatility.</strong></p> <p>In addition to the underlying loan market&rsquo;s volatility, Travers suggested the <strong>CLO market was experiencing volatility itself as a result of <a href="" title="CLO Rules Seen Putting Squeeze on Smallest Debt Managers | Bloomberg">just-announced risk retention provisions</a> under section 941 of Dodd&ndash;Frank, which would require managers of CLOs to own at least 5% of the risk in their portfolios. </strong>Anticipation of this rule <a href="" title="Leveraged Loans: US braces for risk retention as volatility hits – CLOs |">was a contributing factor</a> in the rush of CLO issuance in 2014, which equaled 187 deals at the time of the conference.</p> <p>While the risk-retention requirement isn&rsquo;t expected to kick in immediately, Travers suggested that going forward, investors should determine whether CLO managers have the capital to comply with this new requirement as part of their due diligence process.</p> <p><u><strong>Fridson and Travers approached the leveraged credit market from different perspectives, but their talks suggested that the placid environment encouraged by low interest rates and accommodative credit won&rsquo;t persist.</strong></u> The next credit cycle will pose some serious challenges for leveraged-credit investors, regardless of their place in the capital structure.</p> <p><strong>Under the circumstances, the retail component of leveraged credit investments &mdash; absent from prior default surges &mdash; is probably not a positive development.</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="390" height="341" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bond Collateralized Loan Obligations Covenants default Default Rate Fund Flows LIBOR Quantitative Easing ratings recovery Volatility Sat, 01 Nov 2014 00:27:31 +0000 Tyler Durden 496667 at Meanwhile, The French Are Revolting... <p>Amid record unemployment, even recorder youth unemployment, and politicians willingly breaking EU treaties (with apparently no consequences), it appears - just as in the US - <strong>police brutality in France was the straw that broke 'Le Camel's back</strong>. <a href="">As RT reports</a>, another anti-police brutality protest turned violent in the French city of Rennes, with masked youths and police engaging in running street battles. The unrest follows the death of a young environmental activist earlier this week. <strong>Overnight Thursday, protesters in the northwestern city lobbed flairs at police and flipped over cars, some of which they set ablaze. Police responded by firing tear gas</strong>. We hear guillotines are still cheap on ebay.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="572" height="344" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The French (youth) are revolting...</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><em>As RT reports,</em></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>A similar protest in Paris on Wednesday also descended into violence. </strong>Around 250 people gathered outside City Hall in Paris, with some throwing rocks at police and writing "Remi is dead, the state kills" on walls, The Local’s French edition reports. At least 33 people were taken into police custody following the unrest.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="572" height="307" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The protests are in response to the death of 21-year-old activist Remi Fraisse. He was killed early on Sunday by an explosion, which occurred during violent clashes with police at the site of a contested-dam project in southwestern France.</strong></p> </blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="549" height="302" /></a></p></blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p> </p><p><strong>His death, the first in a mainland protest in France since 1986, has been blamed on a concussion grenade fired by police.</strong> France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who came under serious pressure to resign following the incident, announced an immediate suspension of such grenades, which are intended to stun rather than kill.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>The incident has put additional pressure on the already unpopular government of Francois Hollande, </strong>who has vowed that a thorough investigation will be conducted into the circumstances surrounding Fraisse’s death.</p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>Is this the start?</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="572" height="344" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> France Unemployment Fri, 31 Oct 2014 23:35:57 +0000 Tyler Durden 496666 at The BoJ Jumps The Monetary Shark - Now The Machines, Madmen And Morons Are Raging <p><em>Submitted by <a href="">David Stockman via Contra Corner blog</a>,</em></p> <p><u><strong>This is just plain sick. </strong></u>Hardly a day after the greatest central bank fraudster of all time, Maestro Greenspan,&nbsp;confessed that QE has not helped the main street economy and jobs, the lunatics at the&nbsp;BOJ flat-out jumped the monetary shark.&nbsp;Even then, the madman Kuroda pulled off&nbsp;his incendiary maneuver by a bare 5-4 vote.&nbsp;Apparently the dissenters - Messrs. Morimoto, Ishida,&nbsp;Sato and Kiuchi - are only semi-mad.</p> <p>Never mind that the BOJ will now&nbsp;escalate its bond purchase rate to $750 billion per year - a figure so astonishingly large that <strong>it would amount to nearly $3 trillion per year if applied to a US scale GDP.</strong> And that comes on top of a central bank balance sheet&nbsp;which had previously exploded to nearly 50% of Japan&rsquo;s national income or more than double the already mind-boggling US ratio of 25%.</p> <p>In fact,&nbsp;this was just the beginning of a Ponzi scheme&nbsp;so vast that in a matter of seconds its ignited the Japanese stock averages by 5%.&nbsp;And here&rsquo;s the reason: <strong>Japan Inc. is fixing to&nbsp;inject a massive bid into the&nbsp;stock market based on a monumental emission of&nbsp;central bank credit created out of thin air.</strong> So doing, it has generated the greatest front-running frenzy ever recorded.</p> <p><u><strong>The scheme is so insane that&nbsp;the surge of markets around the world in response to the BOJ&rsquo;s announcement is proof positive that the mother of all central&nbsp;bank bubbles now envelopes the entire&nbsp;globe.</strong></u> Specifically, in order to go on a stock buying spree,&nbsp;Japan&rsquo;s state pension fund (the GPIF) intends to dump massive amounts of Japanese&nbsp;government bonds (JCB&rsquo;s). This will enable it to&nbsp;reduce its government bond&nbsp;holding - built up over decades - from about&nbsp;60%&nbsp;to only 35% of its portfolio.</p> <p><strong>Needless to say, in an even quasi-honest capital market,&nbsp;the GPIF&rsquo;s announced plan would&nbsp;unleash a relentless wave of selling and price decline.</strong>&nbsp;Yet, instead,&nbsp;the Japanese bond market&nbsp;soared on this dumping announcement because the JCBs are intended to tumble right into the maws of the BOJ&rsquo;s endless bid. Charles Ponzi would have been truly envious!</p> <p><strong>Accordingly, the 10-year JGB is now&nbsp;trading at a microscopic&nbsp;43 bps and the 5-year at a&nbsp;hardly recordable&nbsp;11 bps.</strong> So, say again. The purpose of all this massive money printing is to drive the inflation rate to 2%. Nevertheless, Japanese government debt is heading deeper into the land of negative real returns because there are no rational buyers left in the market - just the&nbsp;BOJ and some&nbsp;robots trading for a few bps of spread on the carry.</p> <p><strong>Whether&nbsp;it attains its 2% inflation target or not, its is blindingly evident that the BOJ has&nbsp;destroyed every last vestige of&nbsp;honest price discovery in&nbsp;Japan&rsquo;s vast bond market. </strong>Notwithstanding the massive hype of Abenomics, Japan&rsquo;s real GDP is lower than it was in early&nbsp;2013,&nbsp;while its&nbsp;trade accounts have continued to deteriorate and real wages have headed sharply south.</p> <p><strong>So there is no recovery whatsoever&mdash;-not even the faintest prospect that Japan can grow out if its massive debts.</strong> The latter now stands&nbsp;at a staggering 250% of GDP on the government account and upwards of 600% of GDP when the debts of business, households and the financial sectors are&nbsp;included. And on top of that there is Japan&rsquo;s&nbsp;inexorable demographic bust&mdash;&ndash;a force which will shrink the labor force and squeeze even further its tepid growth of output as far as the eye can see.</p> <p><strong>Stated differently, Japan&nbsp;is an&nbsp;old age colony&nbsp;which is heading for bankruptcy.</strong> It has virtually no prospect for measurable economic growth and a virtual certainty that taxes will keep rising&nbsp;&mdash;since notwithstanding the much lamented but unavoidable consumption tax increase last spring it is still borrowing 40 cents on every dollar it spends.</p> <p><strong>So 5-year JGBs yielding just 11 bps are an insult to rationality everywhere, and a warning that&nbsp;Japan&rsquo;s financial system is a disaster&nbsp;waiting to happen.</strong> But even that is not the end of it. Having&nbsp;slashed its historic holdings of JCBs, the GPIF will&nbsp;now double it allocation to equities, raising its&nbsp;investment in domestic and international stocks to 24% each.</p> <p>Stated differently, 50% of GPIF&rsquo;s $1.8 trillion portfolio&nbsp;will flow into world stock markets.&nbsp; On top of that&mdash;the BOJ will pile on too&mdash;-tripling its annual purchase of ETFs and other equity securities. This is surely madness,&nbsp;but the point of the whole enterprise explains why the world economy is in such extreme danger.&nbsp;A Japanese market watcher caught the essence of it in his observation about the madman who runs the bank of Japan,</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;<em><strong>Kuroda loves a surprise &mdash; Kuroda doesn&rsquo;t care about common sense, all he cares about is meeting the price target,&rdquo;</strong></em> said Naomi Muguruma, a Tokyo-based economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co., who correctly forecast more stimulus today.</p> </blockquote> <p>That&rsquo;s right.&nbsp;Its 2% on the CPI&hellip;..come hell or high water.&nbsp; There is not a smidgeon of evidence that 2% inflation is any better for the&nbsp;real growth of enterprise,&nbsp;labor hours supplied&nbsp;and economic productivity than is&nbsp;1% or 3%.&nbsp; Its pure Keynesian mythology. Yet all the world&rsquo;s central banks are beating a path toward the same mindless 2% inflation target that lies behind this morning&rsquo;s outbreak of monetary madness in Japan.</p> <p><strong>Folks, look-out below.&nbsp; As George W. Bush said in another context&hellip;..this sucker is going down!</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1200" height="900" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Abenomics Bank of Japan Bond Central Banks CPI Japan Main Street Morgan Stanley recovery Fri, 31 Oct 2014 23:09:21 +0000 Tyler Durden 496665 at "The Most Important Chart For Investors" Flashback, And Why USDJPY 120 Is Now Coming Fast <p>Back in late September, we posted what Albert Edwards thought at the time was <a href="">"The Most Important Chart For Investors</a>" which was quite simply, a chart of the USDJPY. Here is the punchline of what he said:</p> <blockquote><p>We have long believed that investors ignore Japan at their peril. Time and time again, investors have missed major global market trends that have been catalysed by Japan. We have felt for some time that a fragile Chinese economy could be pushed over the edge by a further yen devaluation – <strong>in many ways a replay of the Asian crisis of 1997. </strong>And just as the Chinese real economy data has taken a turn for the worse in August, the yen has slipped below a key 15-year support level against the dollar. This is probably the most important chart investors should focus on. The next phase of global currency wars may have begun.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We have written previously that Japan?s QE and the associated yen weakness could trigger a re-run of the 1997 Asian crisis, only this time sucking in the Chinese renminbi. The yen has just broken below a key long-term support and after a brief technical pull-back, its decline is likely to accelerate. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>This will trigger a wave of profit-crushing deflation flowing from east to west</strong></span>. Andrew Lapthorne has just written a great note on Japanese equities. <strong>He says yen weakness, not corporate self-help, is the key to Nikkei outperformance, with Germany looking particularly vulnerable. It looks as if yen weakness is what we've now got! </strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Staring long and hard at the Yen/$ chart, I think that, in the current circumstances, the yen/$ will head to 120 pretty quickly</strong> - perhaps after a short reinvigorating retracement. And, if the dollar’s ascent is given extra impetus by the DXY also breaking out, a decline in the yen below Y120 will see an end to its 30-year uptrend – <strong>a trend that has relentlessly exported deflation from the west to Japan.</strong> Sound far-fetched? <strong>One of the few things I have learnt over 30 years in this industry is that when traders decide the yen/US$ starts to move it can jump by Y10 or Y20 very, very quickly indeed.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Considering the BOJ's overnight move, he was <em><strong>absolutely </strong></em>correct.</p> <p>So for all those who missed it, here it is again, because it explains not only where the Yen is headed next, but why, sadly, this could well be the end of Japan and the mirage of a recovery that has had everybody hypnotized for the past 6 years.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href=""><strong>Albert Edwards Presents "The Most Important Chart For Investors"</strong></a></span></p> <div class="content"> <p>Which incidentally has nothing to do with stocks or bonds, and everything to do with all-important FX (which just happens to drive all correlation and risk pairs around the globe thanks to the far greater embedded leverage in FX, and is why all "modern" traders focus almost entirely on the USDJPY and EURUSD).</p> <p>Specifically, as SocGen's Albert Edwards notes "we show on the front page chart what I believe to be the key chart investors should be focusing on at present. It shows the yen breaking down against the US dollar. This may be more than just a strong dollar story on the back of Fed tightening however, as it seems the yen has now also broken key support levels against the euro. This is a weak yen story. Though there are good fundamental explanations for recent dollar strength vis-à-vis both the yen and the euro, often commentators like to find a fundamental story to fit market events even when price movements have occurred without any clear fundamental explanation ? for we teenage scribblers (as ex-UK Chancellor Nigel Lawson dismissively called us) all have to fill those column inches of commentary."</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="600" height="309" /></a></p> <p>Wait, Albert is now a chartist? So it would appear, with a few large caveats:</p> <blockquote><p>Sometimes it is very clear to me that instead of fundamentals driving prices, it is the charts or technicals that are important. Hence I have long been an advocate of keeping one eye on the charts to see if a major support or resistance has been broken. The very fact that the markets contain so many followers of technical analysis means that the soothsaying of chartists can actually be self-fulfilling. <strong>Nowhere is this more true than in the world of foreign exchange (FX) trading where fundamentals often play a peripheral role, even in the medium term. And in a world where momentum investing has become more ?fashionable?, FX is the one area where a clear market trend is especially seized upon with relish</strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p>We couldn't agree more, since we ourselves enjoy point out, more often than not, when various algos activate momentum ignition strategies in the USDJPY to push the broader S&amp;P 500 above (never below) key resistance levels. In fact, it was on Zero Hedge where we pointed out last night the extreme oversold level of the Yen. Edwards, however says to ignore this, and instead to focus on what may be historic weakness in the Yen, which in turn will clobber the global economy.</p> <blockquote><p>... if I am right and the yen runs sharply lower from here, then this will spell real trouble for the global economy. (Do not be fooled if there is now a pause in yen weakness or even a partial retracement from these levels, as the rapidity of recent moves means the yen is now extremely oversold against the dollar ? i.e. the daily RSI=88. This should be the pause that reinvigorates the new trend).</p> </blockquote> <p>Why does a rapidly weakening yen spell trouble for the global economy?</p> <blockquote><p><strong>First, because the Chinese economy will see a further rise in its already strong real exchange rate, especially if other Asian currencies are pulled down with the sliding yen. </strong>This will hurt the Chinese economy which, from August data, appears to be weakening again. The strengthening renminbi will also exacerbate deflationary pressures further.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Second, a weak yen spells trouble for the west as a wave of deflation washes in from the rapidly devaluing east. </strong>This reverses a decade long trend. I believe that profits growth is so anaemic in the west that this monetary tightening via strengthening exchange rates could in itself be sufficient to send US and European profits into outright decline and subsequently their economies into recession (via a contraction in the investment spending). That is why this FX technical break is so important</p> </blockquote> <p>That's what <em><strong>could </strong></em>happen. Here is why Edwards believes, it <strong>will </strong>happen.</p> <blockquote><p>We have long believed that investors ignore Japan at their peril. Time and time again, investors have missed major global market trends that have been catalysed by Japan. We have felt for some time that a fragile Chinese economy could be pushed over the edge by a further yen devaluation – in many ways a replay of the Asian crisis of 1997. And just as the Chinese real economy data has taken a turn for the worse in August, the yen has slipped below a key 15-year support level against the dollar. This is probably the most important chart investors should focus on. The next phase of global currency wars may have begun.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>We have written previously that Japan?s QE and the associated yen weakness could trigger a re-run of the 1997 Asian crisis, only this time sucking in the Chinese renminbi. The yen has just broken below a key long-term support and after a brief technical pull-back, its decline is likely to accelerate. This will trigger a wave of profit-crushing deflation flowing from east to west. Andrew Lapthorne has just written a great note on Japanese equities. <strong>He says yen weakness, not corporate self-help, is the key to Nikkei outperformance, with Germany looking particularly vulnerable. It looks as if yen weakness is what we've now got!</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Staring long and hard at the Yen/$ chart, I think that, in the current circumstances, the yen/$ will head to 120 pretty quickly ? perhaps after a short reinvigorating retracement. And, if the dollar’s ascent is given extra impetus by the DXY also breaking out, a decline in the yen below Y120 will see an end to its 30-year uptrend – a trend that has relentlessly exported deflation from the west to Japan. Sound far-fetched? One of the few things I have learnt over 30 years in this industry is that when traders decide the yen/US$ starts to move it can jump by Y10 or Y20 very, very quickly indeed.</p> </blockquote> <p>Remember that "<a href="">shocking" CPI print from last week</a>? If the SocGen strategist is right, prepare for many more such "stunners" as Japan makes deflation-exporting its only business model, one which could well crush the economies of Europe, China, and the US... <a href="">and Japan! </a>Case in point: recall what just happened to <a href="">Sony last week</a>. But the all important offset, a rising global stock market, should make it all better at least until the entire economic base is so hollowed out, not even algos can dismisses the record divergence between stock market myth and economic reality.</p> <p>Edwards' bottom line: <strong>"If a clear break in the yen downwards against both the dollar and euro is occurring, not only will this spell trouble for the beleaguered Chinese economy and exacerbate deflation in the west, but it will also break the spell of German economic dominance.</strong>"</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>* * *</p> <p>And here is what Albert told us moments ago:</p> <blockquote><p>The amazing thing is how little interest there is with western investors about Japan and how it effects US or European portfolios</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Notwithstanding the fact that it is the 3rd biggest economy in the world by a long way (the same size as Germany and France added together if you look at it the right way ie current exchange rates rather than PPP)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Little understanding out there what yen devaluation means for Chinese renmimbi and how they will be forced to devalue too</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>ECB money printing will never be able to compete with Japn. The euro might be going down v the dollar but it will be going up against theyen</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Little understanding how, not only will eurozone be going into recession and deflation but that Germany will be the weakest economy in zone. Once Germany’s budget deficit starts to rise sharply as a result of their recession the new mad balanced budget act will kick in and they will be cutting spending aggressively. Expect the eurozone to disappear down a black hole!</p> </blockquote> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1184" height="610" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Albert Edwards Budget Deficit China CPI Eurozone France Germany Global Economy Japan Nikkei Reality Recession recovery Renminbi SocGen Technical Analysis Yen Fri, 31 Oct 2014 22:32:30 +0000 Tyler Durden 496617 at "Troubling Trend" NATO Warns Russian Military Aircraft Incursions Worst Since Cold War <p><strong>Over the last 2 days, more than two dozen Russian military aircraft,</strong> in four groups, were tracked and intercepted conducting aerial maneuvers around Europe, according to NATO. As <a href="">The Wall Street Journal reports</a>,<strong> this activity is on a scale seldom seen since the end of the Cold War,</strong> prompting NATO jets to scramble in another sign of how raw East-West relations have grown. &quot;There is a troubling trend... of sabre rattling&quot; warned The White House, noting that NATO has intercepted over 100 incursions by Russia year-to-date to which the US Army chief of staff ominously warned, <em><strong>this is &quot;Russian aggression,&quot; and &quot;we have to reassure our allies.&quot;</strong></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>A photo released Wednesday by the Norwegian Air Force shows what it said was a <strong>Norwegian F-16AM Fighting Falcon, left, accompanying a Russian Tupolev Tu-95MS at an undisclosed location </strong></p> <p><a href=""><img height="340" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><em>As The Wall Street Journal reports,</em></a></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>Russian military aircraft conducted aerial maneuvers around Europe this week on a scale seldom seen since the end of the Cold War,</strong> prompting NATO jets to scramble in another sign of how raw East-West relations have grown.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>T<strong>he North Atlantic Treaty Organization said that more than two dozen Russian aircraft in four groups were intercepted and tracked on Tuesday and Wednesday,</strong> an unusually high level of activity that the alliance said could have endangered passing civilian flights.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Military jets from eight nations were scrambled</strong> to meet the Russian aircraft, which a NATO spokesman said remained in international airspace and didn&rsquo;t violate NATO territory.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>However, NATO officials said such flights heighten the risks of military miscalculations.</strong> They also come at a time when U.S. officials have been voicing concern about Moscow&rsquo;s actions in the wake of the Ukraine crisis, where thousands have been killed in months of fighting between the government and Russia-backed separatists.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;There is a troubling trend of out-of-area events being increasingly used by Russia along its periphery for political saber-rattling, with probing incursions by air and sea by the Russian military becoming more commonplace and flagrant,&rdquo;</strong> a senior Obama administration official said. &ldquo;The United States has repeatedly called upon Russia to respect international law and the sovereign territory of its neighbors.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There was no immediate comment from Moscow, which has denied in the past that such flights were provocations.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>NATO said it has conducted over 100 intercepts of Russian aircraft so far this year, about three times as many as were conducted in 2013.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We have been keeping track of incidents and have noticed an increase in Russian flights close to NATO airspace since the start of the Ukraine crisis,&rdquo; said Lt. Col. Vanessa Hillman, a Pentagon spokeswoman. &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t think those flights help de-escalate the current situation at all.&rdquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Gen. Ray Odierno, the <strong>U.S. Army&rsquo;s Chief of Staff, called the flights &ldquo;Russian aggression&rdquo;</strong> in an interview on CNN. &ldquo;I think they are trying to reassert themselves,&rdquo; he said. <strong>&ldquo;I think we have to watch it very carefully. We have to reassure our allies.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="">Read more here...</a></p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p>In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO&rsquo;s new secretary-general, said more <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>&ldquo;transparency and predictability&rdquo; was needed between NATO and Russia &ldquo;to avoid that the crisis spirals into something worse [and] that misunderstandings create even bigger conflicts.&rdquo;</strong></span></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1137" height="645" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Falcon Obama Administration Transparency Ukraine Wall Street Journal White House Fri, 31 Oct 2014 22:29:32 +0000 Tyler Durden 496664 at "Who Do You Trust?" <p><em>Submitted by <a href="">Ben Hunt of Salient Partners&#39; Epsilon Theory blog</a>,</em></p> <div align="center"><img height="209" src="" width="166" /><br />&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin-bottom:14px; border:dashed 1px #858585; padding:20px 20px 5px 20px; background-color:#fbfbfb;"> <p><strong>Seek not the favor of the multitude; it is seldom got by honest and lawful means. But seek the testimony of few; and number not voices, but weigh them. </strong><br /><em>? Immanuel Kant</em></p> </div> <div style="margin-bottom:14px; border:dashed 1px #858585; padding:20px 20px 5px 20px; background-color:#fbfbfb;"> <p><strong>Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency? </strong><br /><em>? Joseph Welch, counsel for the US Army, confronting Sen. Joseph McCarthy (1954)</em></p> </div> <div style="margin-bottom:14px; border:dashed 1px #858585; padding:20px 20px 5px 20px; background-color:#fbfbfb;"> <p><strong>Trust Cramer!</strong><br /><i>&ndash; CNBC ad campaign</i></p> </div> <div style="margin-bottom:14px; border:dashed 1px #858585; padding:20px 20px 5px 20px; background-color:#fbfbfb; min-height:280px;"> <p><strong><img alt="" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1101" height="231" src="" style="display: block; margin-right: 20px; float: left;" width="176" /></strong><b>We are all wrong so often that it amazes me that we can have any conviction at all over the direction of things to come. But we must. </b><br /><i>&ndash; Jim Cramer</i><br />&nbsp;</p> </div> <div align="left"> <div style="margin-bottom:14px; border:dashed 1px #858585; padding:20px 20px 5px 20px; background-color:#fbfbfb;"> <p><strong>Pro wrestling is not fake; it&#39;s sports entertainment. We go out there and we perform, and a lot of what we do out there is real, but we&#39;re not going to insult anyone&#39;s intelligence - there is a predetermined winner. It&#39;s just the fans don&#39;t know who it is, and that&#39;s what makes it so intriguing.</strong><br /><em>? Kurt Angle, professional wrestler</em></p> </div> <div align="right"> <div align="left" style="margin-bottom:14px; border:dashed 1px #858585; padding:20px 20px 5px 20px; background-color:#fbfbfb; min-height:250px;"> <p><strong><img alt="" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1101" height="223" src="" style="display: block; margin-left: 20px; float: right;" width="223" /></strong><strong><b>People never understood that there was a Brian and there was the&nbsp; Boz.They were two completely different people.&nbsp; </b></strong></p> <p><i>&ndash; Brian Bosworth, flamboyant pro football bust&nbsp; </i></p> </div> </div> </div> <div style="margin-bottom:14px; border:dashed 1px #858585; padding:20px 20px 5px 20px; background-color:#fbfbfb;"> <p><b>&ldquo;<i>Ginny</i>!&quot; said Mr. Weasley, flabbergasted. &quot;Haven&#39;t I taught you <i>anything</i>? What have I always told you? Never trust anything that can think for itself <i>if you can&#39;t see where it keeps its brain</i>?&rdquo; </b><br /><em>? J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998)</em></p> </div> <p>Oliver Sacks is both a gifted neurologist and a gifted writer. I want to begin this note with a passage from his book &ldquo;An Anthropologist on Mars&rdquo;. It&rsquo;s a long selection, but worth the effort.</p> <div align="left"> <div style="margin-bottom:14px; border:dashed 1px #858585; padding:20px 20px 5px 20px; background-color:#fbfbfb;"> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><b>He was, I noted, somewhat weak and spastic in all his limbs, more on the left, and more in the legs. He could not stand alone. His eyes showed complete optic atrophy &ndash; it was impossible for him to see anything. But strangely, he did not seem to be aware of being blind and would guess that I was showing him a blue ball, a red pen (when in fact it was a green comb and a fob watch that I showed him). Nor indeed did he seem to &ldquo;look&rdquo;; he made no special effort to turn in my direction, and when we were speaking, he often failed to face me, to look at me. When I asked him about seeing, he acknowledged that his eyes weren&rsquo;t &ldquo;all that good&rdquo;, but added that he enjoyed &ldquo;watching&rdquo; the TV. Watching TV for him, I observed later, consisted of following with attention the soundtrack of a movie or show and inventing visual scenes to go with it (even though he might not even be looking toward the TV). He seemed to think, indeed, that this was what &ldquo;seeing&rdquo; meant, that this was what was meant by &ldquo;watching TV&rdquo;, and that this was what all of us did. Perhaps he had lost the very idea of seeing.</b> <p><b>I found this aspect of Greg&rsquo;s blindness, his singular blindness to his blindness, his no longer knowing what &ldquo;seeing&rdquo; or &ldquo;looking&rdquo; meant, deeply perplexing. It seemed to point to something stranger, and more complex, than a mere &ldquo;deficit&rdquo;, to point, rather, to some radical alteration within him in the very structure of knowledge, in consciousness, in identity itself.</b></p></blockquote> <p><em>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; ? Oliver Sacks, &ldquo;An Anthropologist on Mars&rdquo; (1995)</em></p> </div> <p>And now for an observation and diagnosis of my own.</p> <p>About 3 years ago I was on a flight, sitting in an aisle seat, and I couldn&rsquo;t help but notice the young couple having a mild argument one row in front of me, across the aisle to my right. As the woman settled into the middle seat, I saw that she had her husband/boyfriend&rsquo;s name &ndash; Randy &ndash; tattooed on the back of her neck, and I saw that Randy had the letters T &ndash; R &ndash; U &ndash; S &ndash; T tattooed on the fingers of his left hand. When I saw this, I found myself thinking warm thoughts towards the couple. Clearly these were two people from a very different background than my own, but I appreciated the sacrifice and public display each had made to show a commitment to the relationship, and it reminded me of the (non-tattooed) commitment my wife and I have made to each other. I remember thinking, &ldquo;you know, I bet these crazy kids are going to make it,&rdquo; even though the argument never seemed to totally fade during the flight.</p> <p>The plane landed and we all stood up to disembark, and I remember still smiling to myself as Randy and his wife/girlfriend moved into the aisle, still mildly arguing. And then I saw the letters tattooed on Randy&rsquo;s right hand.<br />N &ndash; O &ndash; O &ndash; N &ndash; E</p> <p>And just like that my internal Narrative flipped by 180 degrees. I didn&rsquo;t know what this guy&rsquo;s name was, but I was pretty sure it wasn&rsquo;t Randy. I didn&rsquo;t know what they were arguing about, but I was pretty sure that this wasn&rsquo;t a relationship built to last.</p> <p>I&rsquo;ve been thinking about that incident a lot recently, not just for what it shows about the malleability of the stories we tell ourselves, but even more so for a really troubling thought: <b><a href="">I feel like we all have &ldquo;TRUST NO ONE&rdquo; tattooed on us today, </a>and we are poorer investors and allocators, neighbors and citizens as a result.</b> It&rsquo;s an entirely rational tattoo, the result of years of both abject lies and the <a href="">far more common (and ultimately far more corrosive) white lies that are at the heart of &ldquo;communication policy&rdquo;</a> &ndash; the calculated <a href="">use of public speech for behavioral effect</a> rather than the honest exchange of information.</p> <p>Bu it&rsquo;s not just that we have lost the ability to trust, particularly when it comes to markets and investing. <b>The larger problem is that &ndash; like Oliver Sacks&rsquo; patient who was blind to his blindness &ndash; most of us don&rsquo;t even recognize that we have lost the ability to trust.</b> Many of us create bizarre simulacra of trust &ndash; like the notion that the mass media persona of Jim Cramer is somehow deserving of trust in the same way as a flesh-and-blood financial advisor with a fiduciary responsibility to his clients. Just as Sacks&rsquo; patient came to believe that &ldquo;seeing&rdquo; meant constructing mental imagery to go along with audio stimuli, and that everyone &ldquo;saw&rdquo; this way, so have we come to believe that &ldquo;trusting&rdquo; means giving mental allegiance to a disembodied, mediated representation of a human being, and that we all &ldquo;trust&rdquo; this way.</p> <p><u><strong>I&rsquo;m making a big deal out of the distinction between a public persona and a real person because it is, in fact, a big deal when it comes to questions of trust. The &ldquo;Jim Cramer&rdquo; we see on TV is not Jim Cramer,</strong></u> any more than &ldquo;Hulk Hogan&rdquo; is Terry Bollea, any more than &ldquo;The Boz&rdquo; is Brian Bosworth, any more than &ldquo;Marcus Welby&rdquo; is Robert Young. But while Marcus Welby was an outright fictional character, and he was clearly understood as such when he was called &ldquo;the most trusted man in America&rdquo;, all of the other stage names in this list are presented and re-presented as non-fictional characters, as somehow more &ldquo;real&rdquo; than Marcus Welby. And in a way they are more real. Certainly the stage persona of &ldquo;Jim Cramer&rdquo; draws heavily from the actual experiences and views of Jim Cramer, but I think the right way to think about this is that Jim Cramer writes the dialog for &ldquo;Jim Cramer&rdquo; and performs the role of &ldquo;Jim Cramer&rdquo; in a highly personal, improvisational way that Robert Young was never allowed with &ldquo;Marcus Welby&rdquo;. Jim Cramer performs &ldquo;Jim Cramer&rdquo; in the same way that Terry Bollea performs &ldquo;Hulk Hogan&rdquo; &ndash; as a serious, non-tongue-in-cheek (which separates these guys from how Stephen Colbert performs &ldquo;Stephen Colbert&rdquo;), yet <i>highly</i> stylized representation of a financial adviser and a wrestler, respectively. Both Cramer and Bollea are incredibly talented &ndash; if you can&rsquo;t recognize that Cramer has got some serious market chops, the equivalent of Bollea&rsquo;s crazy musculature, I don&rsquo;t know what to tell you &ndash; but what makes them so successful in their chosen fields is the combination of these talents with outstanding showmanship and a phenomenal ability to project authenticity.&nbsp;<br /> <div align="center"><img src="" /></div> </p><p><u><b>My point is not that mass-mediated financial advice is kinda like professional wrestling. My point is that mass-mediated financial advice is EXACTLY like professional wrestling.</b></u> And I know that it must seem like I&rsquo;m slamming Cramer and CNBC and the rest of the mass media financial guru-sphere by equating their efforts with professional wrestling, but I&rsquo;m really not. I just want to call things by their proper names. I LOVE professional wrestling. Second only to professional politics, <b>professional wrestling demonstrates Narrative creation and execution at an extremely high level of artistry,</b> with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. And it&rsquo;s NOT a fake representation of wrestling in the way that an episode of &ldquo;Marcus Welby, M.D.&rdquo; is a fake representation of medical practice. Professional wrestling is scripted and choreographed, like a TV medical drama, but there are actual athletic feats executed here. It is &ldquo;real wrestling&rdquo; in that sense, where there is no &ldquo;real medicine&rdquo; being practiced in the filming of &ldquo;House&rdquo;. But no one in his right mind believes that professional wrestling is the same thing as Olympic wrestling or collegiate wrestling. Professional wrestling is its own thing &ndash; a marvelous and entertaining thing &ndash; and it deserves to be understood in that light.</p> <p>Well &hellip; mass-mediated financial advice is its own thing, too, where Narrative creation and execution is the only thing that matters, and <i>everything</i> you see or read is driven by the economic diktat of driving the Narrative du jour forward. No one in his right mind should believe that mass-mediated financial advice is the same thing as professional, individuated financial advice. <u><b>And yet here we are, in a world where the notion of trust has become so warped that every day, <i>thousands</i> of investors question the trustworthiness of their flesh-and-blood financial advisors and <i>tens of thousands more</i> act on their own because they trusted a piece of Narrative-driven advice they heard on the TV or read in the newspaper.</b>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</u></p> <p>Why is it so important to distinguish between real people and mass media representations of people when it comes to matters of trust? <b>Because in the wise words of J.K. Rowling, never trust anything that thinks for itself if you can&rsquo;t see where it keeps its brain.</b> I know exactly where an individual human being like Jim Cramer keeps his brain, but I have no idea where the brain of &ldquo;Jim Cramer&rdquo; resides. It&rsquo;s certainly not (only) inside the human Jim Cramer, but also within the contract between Jim Cramer and CNBC, within the various humans who produce and executive produce the various shows on which &ldquo;Jim Cramer&rdquo; appears, within the corporate imperatives of Comcast and NBC Universal, and a myriad of other locations. <b>The brain of &ldquo;Jim Cramer&rdquo; is a thoroughly distributed and hidden set of preferences, totally unlike the brain of Jim Cramer the person, and as a result it is impervious to the tools and strategies that game theorists use to understand and develop trust. </b></p> <p>Game theory can tell us a lot about the construction and preservation of trust between individual decision makers. I can develop a rational basis for trust with Jim Cramer the person (if I knew him), because I can model the pay-offs associated with cooperation (the foundation of trust) and defection (the destruction of trust) within the parameters of a repeated-play strategic interaction (a game). So if I&rsquo;m some Comcast exec negotiating a new contract with Jim Cramer the person, or if I were an investor in Jim Cramer the person&rsquo;s hedge fund back in the day, I could use game theory both to measure how much I should trust the guy and to suggest ways to increase the level of trust between us (I won&rsquo;t develop that idea in this note, but if you&rsquo;re interested in the subject you should start with Robert Axelrod&rsquo;s classic book, &ldquo;The Evolution of Cooperation&rdquo;).&nbsp; On the other hand, it is impossible to develop this notion of interpersonal trust with &ldquo;Jim Cramer&rdquo; because &ldquo;Jim Cramer&rdquo; is not a person and does not possess a person&rsquo;s discrete, transitive, and ordered set of preferences &hellip; a brain. It&rsquo;s hard for some people to believe this, I know, because CNBC (smartly) does everything in its power to suggest that everyone watching CNBC has a <i>personal relationship</i> with &ldquo;Jim Cramer&rdquo;. Well, you don&rsquo;t. You can&rsquo;t. <b>&ldquo;Jim Cramer&rdquo; is real in exactly the same way that &ldquo;Hulk Hogan&rdquo; is real, and trusting in these mass-mediated representations of actual human beings to be somehow more than what they are makes you a sucker.</b> Maybe you won&rsquo;t see a &ldquo;heel turn&rdquo; out of &ldquo;Jim Cramer&rdquo; the way you did out of &ldquo;Hulk Hogan&rdquo; (the most thrilling 180-degree turn in a Narrative I have ever witnessed), but at some point <b>you will find yourself on the wrong end of a Narrative shift if you trust and rely on &ldquo;Jim Cramer&rdquo; or any other mass media persona for your financial advice. </b>I&rsquo;m not saying that flesh-and-blood financial advisors are always right in how they think about markets and investing &hellip; of course they&rsquo;re not. But they are worthy of trust, or at least eligible for trust, in a way that mass media personae of pure Narrative can never be.<br />&nbsp;</p></div> <p>Here&rsquo;s the other thing, the darker side of a world where we all bear the &ldquo;TRUST NO ONE&rdquo; tattoo &hellip; it&rsquo;s all well and good when mass-mediated representations of financial advice and ersatz authenticity generate characters like &ldquo;Jim Cramer&rdquo;, who I believe is relatively harmless in a larger political or social sense. <b>But this is how characters like &ldquo;Senator Joe McCarthy&rdquo; are created, too, and they are anything but harmless. The flip side of a world where no one is trusted and nothing is believed is that anyone can be trusted and everything can be believed.</b> I&rsquo;ve recently experienced this <a href="">modern-day McCarthyism and fear-mongering</a> first hand. It makes me angry, of course (one day I&rsquo;ll write an <a href="">&ldquo;Angry Ben&rdquo; note</a> on this topic), but even more than that it makes me sad. I&rsquo;m sad because I see more and more intelligent, engaged, well-meaning people withdrawing from anything with a public face or function, asking themselves &ldquo;why would I subject myself to this particular form of social torture&rdquo;, and ceding the field to the McCarthy&rsquo;s and their media stooges.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img height="226" src="" width="298" /></p> <p>What&rsquo;s to be done? I really don&rsquo;t know. McCarthy was undone when an institution of overwhelming authenticity and popular trust &ndash; the US Army &ndash; challenged him directly and got the newspapers to print the story. I just don&rsquo;t know if any modern institution, including the Army, still commands that sort of trust, and I&rsquo;m certain that <b>there&rsquo;s no modern institution that has the broadly dispersed and widely available reservoir of authenticity necessary to combat <a href="">the <i>pandemic of mistrust</i> that has swept through modern markets.</a></b> Everyone&rsquo;s an expert today, and we think nothing of dismissing the advice we receive from our traditional bastions of professional advice &ndash; doctors, lawyers, financial advisors &ndash; in favor of our own views, almost always channeled from some charming disembodied voice we hear on TV or read on the Internet. We&rsquo;re all our own doctor and lawyer and financial advisor today, precisely because we mistrust so thoroughly, and as a result we leave ourselves open to false notions of trust. We need new pockets of authenticity, a disaggregated source of authenticity to combat the disaggregated McCarthyism that is bursting spore-like all across the country. In my more optimistic moments I look at the Internet&rsquo;s ability to eliminate media intermediaries and gatekeepers, and I think that there must be hope in the vast array of blogs and comment communities and Twitter-verses out there today. But then I actually spend some time in these virtual communities and I start to despair.</p> <p>I shouldn&rsquo;t, though &hellip; despair, I mean. It&rsquo;s amazing how messy community building and small-l liberalism can be, and the whole idea here is to let 1,000,000 flowers bloom, no matter how inane or misguided some of those communities may seem to me. Cream rises. Leaders emerge. It won&rsquo;t be pretty, and it won&rsquo;t be fast, but it will happen. In the meantime, I&rsquo;ll continue to try to <a href="">build my own community around Epsilon Theory</a>. I&rsquo;ve got a pretty good microphone now, and I won&rsquo;t deny the emotional gratification of speaking to more and more people. But it&rsquo;s time to deepen the personal relationships here rather than just broaden the readership, as it&rsquo;s the strength of individual connections with outstanding people that builds trust and a <i>lasting</i> community. As Kant wrote, &ldquo;number not voices, but weigh them.&rdquo; That&rsquo;s how I&rsquo;d like people to evaluate me. That&rsquo;s how I&rsquo;d like people to evaluate Salient. And it&rsquo;s how I&rsquo;m going to evaluate the success of Epsilon Theory.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="168" height="198" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Comcast Epsilon Immanuel Kant Jim Cramer Mars NBC NBC Universal Newspaper Stephen Colbert Testimony Fri, 31 Oct 2014 21:46:32 +0000 Tyler Durden 496663 at Meet "Rolling Jubilee" - The Group Buying & Tearing-Up Student Loans <p>An offshoot of &#39;Occupy Wall Street&#39; is taking the $1.2 trillion student loan bubble, debt servitude dilemma of America&#39;s youth into its own hands... bit by tiny bit. As The BBC reports, activist group <strong>&#39;Rolling Jubilee&#39; wants to &quot;liberate debtors&quot;</strong> by <em>buying student-debt-bundled ABS on the secondary market (where they trade at significant discounts) and writing off the underlying loans</em>. As Rolling Jubilee notes, <strong>&quot;your debts are on sale... just not on sale to you,&quot; until now</strong>.</p> <p>Rolling Jubilee says the <strong>problem lies deep within the structure of the education system and the way that selling education as a commodity reinforces inequality</strong>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&quot;It is documented that they end up worse off and have no better chance of getting work than if they simply finished high school,&quot; she says.</p> </blockquote> <p>This week, the Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen warned the quadrupling of the student loan debt since 2004 represented a barrier to social mobility.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>John Aspray, national field director at the United States Student Association (USSA), said recent changes in law mean people in medical or gambling debt can declare themselves bankrupt - but to do so for student debt means satisfying an &#39;&quot;undue hardship&quot; criteria, which is very difficult to prove.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&quot;Opportunities for renegotiating are very well hidden,&quot;</strong> he says.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He says Rolling Jubilee&#39;s work was &quot;important and symbolic&quot; as a lot of people &quot;don&#39;t even consider&quot; getting rid of their debt.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As 85% of student loans are guaranteed by the national government the USSA is putting pressure on the department to &quot;cut contracts with the worse corporations&quot;, says Mr Aspray.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&quot;Political reforms are needed,&quot; he says. &quot;We are going to see people continuing to rebel against this.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><em>As The BBC reports</em></a>,</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>An activist group in the United States has been carrying out deeds that some might think the stuff of dreams - buying and cancelling other people&#39;s student debts.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Rolling Jubilee has purchased and abolished $3.8m (&pound;2.35m) of debt owed by 2,700 students, paying just over $100,000 (&pound;62,000), or as it says, &quot;pennies on the dollar&quot;.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The campaign group, which wants to<strong> &quot;liberate debtors&quot;</strong>, says it takes its name from the tradition in many religions of marking a &quot;jubilee&quot; celebration by freeing people from debt.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Debts can be bought and sold in the financial marketplace.</strong> But student debt, which has spiralled to an estimated $1.2 trillion (&pound;619bn), is not usually as available to buy as other debts, such as unpaid medical bills.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><u><strong>In this speculative secondary market, third parties buy debt for a fraction of its original cost and try to collect the full amount from debtors.</strong></u></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>But these debt campaigners are buying debts and then writing them off.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Laura Hanna at Rolling Jubilee says the student debt situation amounts to a &quot;bubble&quot;.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The group pulled off the deal to illustrate how cheaply the money owed can be sold on the secondary debt market, she says.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;We wanted to question the morality around repayment,&quot; she says.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&quot;Your debts are on sale. They are just not on sale to you.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 529px; height: 387px;" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="529" height="387" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Federal Reserve Gambling Janet Yellen Student Loans Fri, 31 Oct 2014 21:16:57 +0000 Tyler Durden 496652 at Gold Falls, Stocks Record Highs as Japan Goes ‘Weimar’, “Here Be Dragons” <p>Stocks globally surged, while gold fell sharply today despite renewed irrational exuberance on hopes that the Bank of Japan’s vastly increasing money printing will fill some of the gaps left by the apparent end of Federal Reserve bond buying.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" /></a></p> <p>The BOJ decided to increase the pace at which it expands base money to a whopping 80 trillion yen ($726 billion) per year. Previously, the BOJ targeted an annual increase of 60 to 70 trillion yen.</p> <p>The BOJ sailed into deeper uncharted monetary territory with the announcement that they would triple annual purchases of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and Japanese real-estate investment trusts (REITS) to 3 trillion yen and 90 billion yen respectively.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Nikkei surged 5% in minutes to a seven year high after the Bank of Japan decision, while gold fell.</p> <p>These unprecedented monetary events remind us of the old English mapmakers who used to write on uncharted territories on their maps - “Here be Dragons”.</p> <p>The BOJ claimed the surprise action was due to concerns that a decline in oil prices would weigh on consumer prices and delay a shift in sentiment away from deflation.</p> <p>BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda portrayed the decision as a preemptive strike to the ‘lost decade’ economy, rather than an admission that his plan to reflate the long moribund economy has so far failed.</p> <p>The prime reason for the extraordinary monetary policies is likely that the Japanese economy remains very weak and risks tipping over into a depression. Bankruptcies more than doubled to 214 in the first nine months of 2014 compared with the same period a year ago.<br />Japan has introduced quantitative easing to stimulate the economy and to spur inflation. But it may backfire and lead to stagflation and in a worst case scenario a German ‘Weimar’ style hyperinflation.&nbsp;</p> <p>The yen's real effective exchange rate has dropped to its lowest level since 1982. With Japan easing likely to deepen, the yen may fall to an unprecedented level. Though the fall of the yen may promote exports - energy, food and raw material costs will rise, especially imports.</p> <p>Given the current weakness what should gold owners do?<br />Gold, in the short term, looks prone to further weakness. We could see gold test lows of $1,156 &nbsp;which is a 61.8% retracement of the move from the October 2008 low to the all-time high at $1,921. &nbsp;If clients are worried about their gold position and have short term commitments there are a number of ways to manage downside risk, which may be of interest,&nbsp;<a href="">please call our office to discuss further.</a></p> <p>See Essential Guide to &nbsp;Storing Gold and Silver In Switzerland&nbsp;<a href="">here</a></p> <p><strong>MARKET UPDATE</strong><br />Today’s AM fix was USD 1,173.25, EUR 933.45 and GBP 733.47 per ounce.<br />Yesterday’s AM fix was USD 1,205.75, EUR 958.09 and GBP 753.59 per ounce.<br />Gold fell $12.50 or 1.03% to $1,198.90 per ounce yesterday and silver slid $0.58 or 3.4% to $16.49 per ounce.&nbsp;</p> <p>Bullion for immediate delivery lost as much as 2.6% to $1,167.49, the lowest since July 2010 and looked vulnerable to further falls to $1,100/oz.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" /></a><br />Gold in U.S. Dollars - 5 Days (Thomson Reuters)</p> <p>Silver slid as much as 3% to $16.00 an ounce, the lowest since February 2010. Platinum fell 0.9% to $1,239.75 an ounce. Interestingly, palladium bucked the trend and rose 0.5% to $790 an ounce, after a six days of gains.</p> <p>Gold fell below $1,200 an ounce as equities and bonds surged - even bonds from Italy to Portugal climbed.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" /></a><br />Gold in U.S. Dollars - 10 Years (Thomson Reuters)</p> <p>Gold is heading for a decline of 4.4% this week, the most since September 2013. The metal is also set for the first consecutive monthly loss in 2014.<br />Silver is set for a fourth monthly decline that’s the worst run since June 2013. An ounce of gold bought as much as 73.3154 ounces of silver today, the most since April 2009.</p> <p>If the mooted end of QE in the U.S. is bearish for gold and silver, then it is also equally bearish if not more so for overvalued stock and bond markets. Yet, those markets saw far less volatile trading and many stock markets are back at multi month highs or indeed all time record highs.</p> <p>The sharp move lower today took place in illiquid Asian markets, soon after the BOJ announcement of the extraordinary new money printing experiment in Japan. This news in itself should have seen gold bounce higher as it is very gold bullish. Instead, gold plummeted lower.</p> <p>The move lower this week also took place against a backdrop of very high global coin and bar demand in recent weeks which would ordinarily have led to higher prices. It also comes at a time of heightened geopolitical and economic concerns and the emergence of the Ebola virus. Not to mention, the bullish “Save Our&nbsp;<a href="">Swiss Gold</a>” initiative which will continue for the next four weeks.</p> <p>As we wrote yesterday, the sudden sharp selling of precious metals this week despite robust demand could be another example of manipulation. Central banks want equities and bonds higher and precious metals lower. The counter intuitive trading action has hallmarks of continuing manipulation of the gold and silver futures market.</p> <p>Prudent money will continue to dollar cost average into coins and bars on price weakness.</p> <p>Get Breaking News and Updates on the Gold Market&nbsp;<a href="">Here</a></p> Bank of Japan Bond Central Banks Consumer Prices Federal Reserve Futures market Hyperinflation Irrational Exuberance Italy Japan Nikkei Portugal Precious Metals Quantitative Easing REITs Reuters Stagflation Switzerland Yen Fri, 31 Oct 2014 20:51:13 +0000 GoldCore 496651 at