en Angry China Slams Moodys For Using "Inappropriate Methodology" <p>The market may have long since moved on from Moody's downgrade of China to A1 from Aa3 (by now even long-only funds have learned that in a world with $18 trillion in excess liquidity, the opinion of Moodys is even more irrelevant), but for Beijing the vendetta is only just starting, and in response to Tuesday's downgrade, China's finance ministry accused the rating agency of applying "<strong>inappropriate methodology" </strong>in downgrading China's credit rating, saying the firm had <strong>overestimated the difficulties faced by the Chinese economy and underestimated the country's ability to enhance supply-side reforms.</strong></p> <p>In other words, Moody's failed to understand that 300% debt/GDP is perfectly normal and that China has a very explicit exit strategy of how to deal with this unprecedented debt load which in every previous occasion in history has led to sovereign default. </p> <p>The Ministry of Finance reaction came after Moody's first, and very, very long overdue, downgrade of China since 1989 citing concerns about risks from China's relentlessly growing debt load as shown below. </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="365" /></a></p> <p>"China's economy started off well this year, which shows that the reforms are working," the ministry said in a statement on its website.&nbsp; Actually, it only shows that China had <a href="">injected a record amount of loans into the economy</a> at the start of the year, and nothing else. And now that the credit impulse is fading, the hangover has arrived.</p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong> </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" width="500" height="314" /></a></p> <p>Moody's on Wednesday also downgraded the ratings of 26 Chinese government-related non-financial corporate and infrastructure issuers and rated subsidiaries by one notch. It also downgraded the ratings of several domestic banks, including the Agricultural Bank of China Limited's long-term deposit rating from A1 to A2.&nbsp; It also eventually downgraded Hong Kong and said credit trends in China will continue to have a significant impact on Hong Kong's credit profile due to close economic, financial and political ties with the mainland. </p> <p>So how did China defend its position? The same way US companies fabricate their own numbers to confuse shareholders: with "pro forma" arguments.</p> <p>For example Moody's noted that the importance Chinese authorities have attached to maintaining robust growth would result in sustained policy stimulus, and such government spending would contribute to rising debt across the economy. "We expect the government's direct debt burden to rise gradually toward 40 percent of GDP by 2018 and closer to 45 percent by the end of the decade," Moody's noted. </p> <p>To this, the <a href=";utm_medium=social&amp;;utm_campaign=buffer">MOF responded that government </a>bonds reached 27.33 trillion yuan ($3.97 trillion) at the end of 2016, or about 37% of the country's GDP. The proportion is much lower than the 60% picket line delimited by the EU, the ministry said.&nbsp; Liu Xuezhi, a senior analyst at the Bank of Communications, said that the proportion of government bonds to GDP has been continuously dropping since peaking in 2013, largely due to the government efforts to manage debt.</p> <p>"I think Moody's reasons are debatable," he said. </p> <p>Of course, what the MOF forgot to mention is the roughly <strong>200% in corporate debt issued in large part by entities that are State-owned enterprises</strong>, and which the government for mostly refuses to go bankrupt over fears of mass riots, civil disobedience and even war.&nbsp; As a result <strong>virtually all of China's corporate debt is effectively sovereign.</strong></p> <p>That did not prevent China from spinning more propaganda. </p> <p>Zheng Xinye, associate dean of the School of Economics at the Renmin University of China, also told the Global Times on Wednesday that the government has taken effective measures, such as bond swaps and perfecting the issuance and management system of local government debt, to rein in bond risks.&nbsp; Liu added that China's fiscal revenue has been rising since 2009. "Besides, the Chinese government has income channels which other countries don't, such as land transfer money and State assets. Therefore, I don't think China would be facing serious financial pressure, at least not in the next few years," he told the Global Times on Wednesday. </p> <p>Zheng also said that the government wouldn't need to use fiscal measures to stimulate growth, as the effects of supply-side reforms would sustain the economy's momentum.&nbsp; He may have even said it with a straight face. </p> <p>Additionally, China took offense at Moody's forecast that China's growth will slow to 5% in five years, because of a smaller working-age population and continuing production slowdown.&nbsp; </p> <p>To this, Liu said the chances are very slim for China's economy to slip to 5 percent in the next five years. "I believe China's GDP growth will remain above 6.5 percent at the end of 2020, as China has abundant room for policy adjustments to support economic growth," Liu said. It has even more abundant room to goalseek its data to whatever it wants, however, without the benefit of "creating" 40% of GDP in the form of new credit, China's economy will implode. </p> <p>Zheng disagreed, and said the economy has not shown any signs of sliding. </p> <p>One place where China's apparatchiks were right is that Moody's downgrade would hurt overseas investor confidence in the Chinese market or collaborations with domestic companies. </p> <p>"It would also make it more difficult for domestic companies to seek financing in overseas markets," Liu noted.&nbsp; But Liu said domestic financial markets would not be affected as much, because they're not entirely open. And for a good, if scary, explanation of what happens as China's debt issuance shift domestically, read this morning Bloomberg piece "<a href="">China's Downgrade Could Lead to a Mountain of Debt</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="500" height="300" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bond BRIC Business China China Chinese government Credit rating agencies default Economy Economy of China European Union Finance Hong Kong Ministry of Finance Money Moody's Investors Service National debt of China Rating Agency ratings Renmin University of China School of Economics Sovereign Default Standard & Poor's United States federal government credit-rating downgrades Yuan Thu, 25 May 2017 02:55:33 +0000 Tyler Durden 596607 at The Trump Collapse Scapegoat Narrative Has Now Been Launched <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Brandon Smith via,</em></a></p> <p><a href=""><em><img alt="" src="" style="width: 485px; height: 303px;" /></em></a></p> <p>Last week was a rather crazy one for the news feeds, with cyber attacks and &ldquo;Comey memos&rdquo; and a host of other wild mayhem, it may have been difficult for many people to keep track of it all. <strong>That said, there was one event that I think went partly under the radar, and I think it is an important signal for anyone concerned with the ongoing process of economic collapse in the U.S.</strong></p> <p>Generally, the American public holds very little vigilance when it comes to economics. They are distinctly unaware of fundamental indicators such as commodities demand, energy usage, manufacturing, imports, exports and international shipping, etc. <strong>What they do take note of, and what the mainstream news will tell them about in 30 second blurbs, is the state of unemployment and whether stock markets were down for the day or up for the day. These two &ldquo;indicators&rdquo; are the extent of the average person&rsquo;s exposure to fiscal health.</strong></p> <p>This is why the Federal Reserve and the<strong> establishment have been meticulous over the past several years in their efforts to keep employment statistics highly manipulated to the positive side </strong>and why they have been injecting untold trillions into stocks around the world through various measures including no cost overnight loans.</p> <p><strong>However, over the past couple of years something has changed. </strong>As I warned they would do in 2015 in my article <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">The Real Reasons Why The Fed Will Hike Interest Rates</a>, central banks including the Fed have been backing off of stimulus measures and they have now begun a series of interest rate hikes. Look at it this way &mdash; imagine the economy has a terminal disease and the only thing keeping it alive is a highly addictive drug called &ldquo;free money.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s a rather terrible life, barely worth living, but the economy still has a faint pulse as long as the drug is administered. Now, what would happen if the Fed suddenly cuts off the drug supply? Well, the economy will die in a very frantic and horrible way.</p> <p>Low interest rates and Federal Reserve loans represent the purest form of the free money drug, even more so than the bailouts and QE. And now, those interest rates are rising, and the drug is being taken away.</p> <p>These marginal rate hikes might not seem like much&nbsp;&mdash; .25 basis points here and .25 basis points there. <strong>And they are not much, unless you are a corporation borrowing billions of dollars at a time</strong> so that you can stave off your exposure to quadrillions in derivatives debt and so that you can purchase massive shares in your own stock to keep its value artificially elevated. Cycling this borrowed cash and paying the Fed back is rather easy for such corporations as long as the loans are essentially free. But when they have to start paying interest on that cash, even at a low rate, the costs add up at lightning speed.</p> <p><strong>ANY<em> </em>interest rate hikes in this environment make borrowing from the Fed untenable for corporations seeking to prop up their stocks and the stock market at large.</strong></p> <p>In my estimation, based on previous Fed measures such as the removal of QE from the system in 2014,<strong> it takes around six to eight months for the effects of policy shifts by the Fed to become visible on the main street economy and in equities. </strong>I believe we are about to see the effects of interest rate hikes on our system within the next couple of months.</p> <p><em><u><strong>I put very little value in stock markets as an indicator of anything. In reality, stocks are a fraudulent circus based on perceived value and perceived demand rather than true value and demand. </strong></u></em>In most cases, stocks crash in the FINAL<em> </em>phase of an economic collapse, not in the beginning phase. If you decide to start preparing for a crisis after a stock market decline then you are probably too late.</p> <p>I am revisiting this topic here because I want to remind people that the full and tantamount blame for any economic crisis (and the final phase market crash) in the near future is placed on the Federal Reserve and international banks. All future shocks to the financial system were made possible because the establishment and the Fed have gutted our economy, stuffed it with the fluff of fiat stimulus and left it to lumber aimlessly since 2009.</p> <p><strong>Now, because of the Fed&rsquo;s efforts, stocks have been rising for quite some time with only a few moments of obstruction, due again, to their policy shifts. These efforts have conjured a 20,000 point Dow Jones, but nothing else positive for the economy. The one constant, though, has always been low interest rates.</strong></p> <p>With interest rates increasing, I would point out that market behavior has changed. The meteoric rise has stalled. In the past few months stocks have barely budged 1 percent either up or down per week. Except for last week when something strange happened; markets suddenly dropped nearly 400 points in a single day. Why? Well, that is a subject up for debate, but the majority of mainstream news outlets will tell you that it was all Donald Trump&rsquo;s fault.</p> <p>I have been warning since long before the election that Trump&rsquo;s presidency would be the <strong>perfect vehicle for central banks and international financiers to divert blame for the economic crisis</strong> that would inevitably explode once the Fed moved firmly into interest rate hikes. Every indication since my initial prediction shows that this is the case.</p> <p><strong>The media was building the foundation of the narrative from the moment Trump won the election.</strong> Bloomberg was quick to publish its rather hilariously skewed propaganda on the matter, asserting that Trump was lucky to inherit an economy in ascendance and recovery because of the fiscal ingenuity of Barack Obama. This is of course utter nonsense. Obama and the Fed have created a zombie economy rotting from the inside out, nothing more. But, as <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Bloomberg noted rightly</a>, any downturn within the system will indeed be blamed on the Trump administration.</p> <p><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Fortune Magazine</a>, adding to the narrative, outlined the view that the initial stock rally surrounding Trump&rsquo;s election win was merely setting the stage for a surprise market crash.</p> <p><strong>I continue to go one further than the mainstream media and say that the Trump administration is a giant cement shoe designed (deliberately) to drag conservatives and conservative principles down into the abyss as we are blamed by association for the financial calamity that will occur on Trump&rsquo;s watch.</strong></p> <p>Last week&rsquo;s sudden market bloodletting is important in this regard; <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">400 points down</a> is hardly a flesh wound to a 20,000 point Dow, but the media&rsquo;s reaction to it was very revealing on what the future has in store. Multiple news outlets responded by immediately connecting the drop to Trump and the absurdity surrounding the &ldquo;Comey memo&rdquo;&nbsp;&mdash; a memo which no one in the public has seen proof of. The claim is that this level of <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">turmoil around Trump</a> might lead to impeachment and that the threat of impeachment would kill the stock market bounce which the media also claims was driven by Trump&rsquo;s promises of corporate tax cuts. It&#39;s a lie built on another lie.</p> <p><strong>It is interesting to me that the mainstream media never said the market drop was caused by &ldquo;Comey&rsquo;s turmoil,&rdquo; or by &ldquo;The Washington Post and The New York Times&rsquo; turmoil.&rdquo; No, they called it &ldquo;Trump&rsquo;s turmoil.&rdquo; Last week&rsquo;s stock dive was, in my opinion, the official launch of the Trump collapse narrative. </strong>The establishment was beta testing it for months, but now, the program has gone live.</p> <p><strong>Every single stock decline from now on, as well as the ultimate economic crash, which will become visible to the public in short order, will be blamed on Donald Trump and conservatives by extension. As I said, he is the perfect scapegoat.</strong></p> <p>I have been very critical of Donald Trump recently, and it is my view, according to the evidence and his swift retraction of nearly every promise he made to the voters during his campaign, that Trump is controlled opposition. But, I would never lay the blame for our fiscal decline at his feet. Trump does not have the power to create that kind of disaster; only the global banks have that power. I&rsquo;ll say it again&nbsp;&mdash; the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates into a major financial downturn. This will be the trigger for the next phase of collapse, not<em> </em>any drama surrounding Donald Trump. Everything else, from Comey to North Korea, is distraction.</p> <p>The Fed has done this before. In fact, the Fed has a habit of raising interest rates at the onset of economic instability or right in the middle of a downturn, as it did in 1928-1929 triggering the Great Depression, and in 1931, adding fuel to the fire of financial catastrophe. These particular catalyzing policy actions are partly what Ben Bernanke was referring to on Nov. 8, 2002, <a href="">in a speech</a> given at &quot;A Conference to Honor Milton Friedman, the Paul Snowden Russell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, On the Occasion of his 90th Birthday.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;In short, according to Friedman and Schwartz, because of institutional changes and misguided doctrines, the banking panics of the Great Contraction were much more severe and widespread than would have normally occurred during a downturn.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Let me end my talk by abusing slightly my status as an official representative of the Federal Reserve. I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression. You&rsquo;re right, we did it. We&rsquo;re very sorry. But thanks to you, we won&rsquo;t do it again.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Ben Bernanke finished his astonishingly honest assessment with a lie. They are indeed doing it again&hellip; but this time they have made sure they have a president and an entire political ideal to blame it on.</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="485" height="303" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Barack Obama Ben Bernanke Ben Bernanke Business Business Central Banks Donald Trump Donald Trump Economic policy of Donald Trump ETC Federal Reserve Federal Reserve System First 100 days of Donald Trump's presidency Free Money Great Depression Interest rate James Comey Main Street Market Crash Milton Friedman New York Times North Korea Presidency of Donald Trump Reality recovery Stock market crash SWIFT Trump Administration Unemployment United States US Federal Reserve Thu, 25 May 2017 02:40:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596601 at Another Insurer Quits Obamacare Leaving 25 Counties In Missouri With No Healthcare Options <p>Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) has just joined the growing ranks of insurers across the country that have decided they've lost just about enough money on Obamacare.&nbsp; According to a <a href="">press release</a> issued earlier today, Blue KC's CEO said the <strong>company has lost $100 million on the Obamacare exchanges since 2014, a fact that prompted their decision to exit their 32-county service area.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p><strong>Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) today announced the company’s decision to not offer or renew individual Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans in the company’s 32-county service area in Kansas and Missouri for 2018.</strong> This decision will affect Blue KC members with both on- and off- exchange individual plans but does not affect individual plans that were purchased on or prior to October 1, 2013.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>“Since 2014, we’ve expended significant resources to offer individual ACA plans to increase access to quality healthcare coverage for the Kansas City community,” said Danette Wilson, President and CEO of Blue KC. <strong>“Like many other health insurers across the country, we have been faced with challenges in this market. Through 2016, we have lost more than $100 million. This is unsustainable for our company.</strong> We have a responsibility to our members and the greater community to remain stable and secure, and the uncertain direction of this market is a barrier to our continued participation.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“This decision is necessary at this time, but we’ll continue to work with federal and state legislators to identify solutions that will stabilize the individual market and bring costs down for our members, the community and Blue KC,” </strong>said Wilson.</p> </blockquote> <p>The move will leave residents in 25 Missouri counties, or roughly 19,000 Obamacare enrollees, with no healthcare options in 2018.&nbsp; </p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Missouri" width="600" height="568" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Of course, this follows similar developments in both Iowa (see "<a href="">Obamacare Implosion: Last Major Healthcare Provider Pulls Out Of Iowa Leaving No Options In 2018</a>") and Tennessee (see "<a href="">Knoxville, TN Could Be Ground Zero For The Obamacare Explosion</a>") in the past several weeks.&nbsp; To be fair, after Humana’s exit from Obamacare left 16 counties surrounding Knoxville with no health plans, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee stepped in to cover that area, though it's unknown whether someone would step up to do the same in Missouri.</p> <p>But sure, Republicans are ruining healthcare in America.</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="600" height="568" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Health Health Internal Revenue Code Kansas City metropolitan area Obamacare Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Statutory law United States Thu, 25 May 2017 02:20:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596584 at The 5 Possible Outcomes Of The OPEC Meeting <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Nick Cunningham via,</em></a></p> <p><strong>The highly-anticipated OPEC meeting is taking place this week, but unlike the last few meetings, the hype and excitement is much less palpable.</strong> That is largely because the end result is thought to be a foregone conclusion.</p> <p><a href=""><img height="273" src="" width="515" /></a></p> <p>Last week, Saudi Arabia and Russia telegraphed the events of the May 25 meeting, <a href="">announcing support</a> for a nine-month extension of the existing production cuts &ndash; 1.2 million barrels per day (mb/d) from OPEC plus 558,000 barrels per day (bpd) from a group of non-OPEC countries. With the two most important oil producers in agreement, the meeting should be quick and easy.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&quot;The decision seems to be almost a done deal,&quot;</em> said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at SEB Markets. <em>&quot;There seems to be a very high harmony in the group.&quot;</em></p> </blockquote> <div class="banner_ad_after_para_2"> <div class="banner--inPageMobile"> <div class="banner--inPage__container" style="text-align: center;"> <div id="bannerzone21"> <div class="banner" id="banner493">&nbsp;</div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p>But if we have learned anything from the OPEC meetings over the last several years, it is that nothing should be taken for granted. Time and again the cartel seems to surprise the markets. Saudi Arabia&rsquo;s energy minister hinted over the weekend that the OPEC meeting could have more drama than many analysts currently expect.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>&quot;Everybody I talked to... expressed support and enthusiasm to join in this direction, but of course it doesn&rsquo;t preempt any creative suggestions that may come about,&quot;</em> Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih <a href="">said</a>&nbsp;at a news conference in Riyadh.</p> </blockquote> <p>So <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>even as a consensus has formed on one particular outcome, here are several possible &ldquo;surprise scenarios&rdquo; that could come out of the OPEC meeting this week, ordered by least to most bullish for oil prices.</strong></span></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>1.<strong> No extension.</strong> This would be the most disastrous for oil prices, as OPEC abandons its collective action and returns to full production. With the oil market still suffering from oversupply, a return to higher output would cause WTI and Brent to meltdown, crashing into the $40s or quite possibly lower. However, this most extreme bearish scenario is also probably the least likely outcome.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>2. <strong>6-month extension.</strong> A rollover of the existing cuts for another six months. This had been the most widely-assumed scenario until only recently. Global inventories remain elevated, and extending the cuts through the end of the year probably won&rsquo;t be enough to bring inventories back into the five-year average range. With the markets wanting more, a six-month extension would, at this point, be seen as a disappointment and would likely push oil prices down.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>3. <strong>9-month extension.</strong> Extending the cuts through the end of the first quarter of 2018 is now the market&rsquo;s working assumption, and will be met with a sigh of relief. But since it has become the new baseline, a strong rally in prices is probably unlikely.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>4. <strong>9-month extension plus more countries join in.</strong> Khalid al-Falih hinted that new additions to the pact could be forthcoming. &quot;We believe that continuation with the same level of cuts, plus eventually adding one or two small producers,&rdquo; he said over the weekend. The addition of a couple marginal producers would add a little bit of a psychological punch to the agreement, but probably wouldn&rsquo;t alter the supply/demand balance in any fundamental way. This outcome probably would be met with a rise in oil prices by a few dollars per barrel.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>5. <strong>9-month extension with deeper cuts.</strong> This scenario is the one to watch out for, as many analysts see the odds of much more aggressive cuts growing. An OPEC source recently told Reuters that the group was considering making deeper output reductions. <em>&quot;All options are open,</em>&quot; the source <a href="">said</a>. Deeper cuts could come in several different forms. The collective output quota of 32.5 mb/d could be lowered, with country-specific limits tightened. This would be a heavy lift, but if agreed to, would lead to a much stronger price impact, immediately pushing up crude benchmarks substantially. Another way to make deeper cuts would be to remove the exemptions given to Libya and Nigeria. Both countries were not subject to any limits in the initial six-months, and both have added output and signaled more production growth in the near future. It is not clear that they would agree to limits, given their serious economic and security troubles.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>OPEC has a tendency to surprise, so any of these outcomes &ndash; or others &ndash; are possible.</strong> Still, an extension of the existing cuts for nine months appears to be the most likely scenario. At the same time, OPEC has sort of backed itself into a corner &ndash; it has raised expectations to such a degree that anything less would be considered a major disappointment.</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="515" height="273" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Benchmark Business Cartels Chronology of world oil market events Crude Economy Energy crisis Energy economics Meltdown OPEC OPEC Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries Petroleum industry Petroleum politics Price of oil Reuters Saudi Arabia World oil market chronology Thu, 25 May 2017 02:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596565 at Fragile Markets? US Equity Futures Flash-Smash... For No Good Reason <p>First VIX dumped-n-pumped this morning, then Russell 2000 (ETF and Futures) flash-crash at lunch time, and now, amid heavy volume, <strong>someone decided it was the perfect time to panic-buy S&amp;P, Dow, and Nasdaq futures...</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img height="356" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Very heavy volume for early asia trading...</p> <p><a href=""><img height="391" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Some contest to Russell 2000&#39;s and VIX&#39;s earlier flash crash...</p> <p><a href=""><img height="297" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>As BofAML so eloquently pointed out...</p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 602px; height: 112px;" /></a></p> <p>The hunt for a narrative to explain this utter farce has started... Did Bitcoin algos just get switched on to trade S&amp;P minis? Bitcoin just topped $2500!</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="1981" height="1291" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Bitcoin Bitcoin Business Disaster Economy flash Flash Futures contract Futures markets Mathematical finance Money NASDAQ NASDAQ futures Russell 2000 Russell 2000 Technical analysis VIX Thu, 25 May 2017 01:55:40 +0000 Tyler Durden 596604 at Polls: Americans Don’t Want Trump to Be Impeached <p>The majority of Americans don&rsquo;t think Trump should be impeached.</p> <p>The Hill <a href="" target="_blank" title="reports">reports</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>A majority of American voters say there is no evidence of collusion between members of President Trump&rsquo;s campaign and Russia and most are doubtful that investigations into the matter will lead to impeachment.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Those are the results of the new <a href="" target="_blank" title="Harvard-Harris survey">Harvard-Harris survey</a>, provided exclusively to The Hill, which found that 54 percent of voters said they have not seen evidence to suggest that Trump campaign officials conspired with Moscow to influence the 2016 election.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Respondents were largely split along partisan lines, with 80 percent of Republicans saying there is no evidence of collusion and 74 percent of Democrats saying there is. Only 38 percent of independents said there is evidence of collusion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>When voters were asked, irrespective of the evidence, whether they believe that Trump campaign officials had coordinated with Moscow, 52 percent said no and 48 percent said yes. A majority of independents, 54 percent, didn&rsquo;t think there was any collusion.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>***</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed said they expect the [special prosecutor&rsquo;s] investigation, now led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, will lead to the end of the Russia inquiry, while 41 percent said it would lead to Trump&rsquo;s impeachment.</p> </blockquote> <p>But Americans don&rsquo;t buy Trump&rsquo;s claim that he&rsquo;s &ldquo;draining the swamp.&rdquo;</p> <p>Politico <a href="" target="_blank" title="writes">writes</a>:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Less than a quarter of Americans surveyed in a new <a href="" target="_blank" title="Monmouth University poll ">Monmouth University poll </a>released Wednesday said President Donald Trump is making progress on his promise to &ldquo;drain the swamp&rdquo; of Washington corruption.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Thirty-two percent of those polled said Trump is actually making the &ldquo;swamp&rdquo; worse, while just 24 percent said he is draining it. Thirty-five percent of respondents said the president has done nothing to change Washington&rsquo;s culture.</p> </blockquote> <p>Indeed, the real problem with Trump isn&rsquo;t that he&rsquo;s a Ruskie-lover &hellip; it&rsquo;s that he&rsquo;s <a href="" title="just as much of a sell out">just as much of a sell out</a> as our other recent presidents.</p> Alt-right American people of German descent Climate change skepticism and denial Corruption Donald Trump Donald Trump Donald Trump presidential campaign FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Harvard Monmouth University Politics Politics of the United States The Apprentice United States WWE Hall of Fame Thu, 25 May 2017 01:22:49 +0000 George Washington 596603 at "When It Comes To Trading, Romance Is For Losers" <p><a href=""><em>Authored by Kevin Muir via The Macro Tourist blog,</em></a></p> <p><strong><em>A few readers have asked me to tell more stories about trading. They encouraged me to share more of my experiences throughout the years.</em></strong></p> <p>After giving it some thought, I decided that instead of taking the easy road and recounting a tale of when I was fortunate enough to nail some trade, I would approach from the opposite direction. In keeping with my theme that <em>all I bring to the party is 25 years of mistakes</em>, I have decided to recount a losing trade. And not only that, instead of just picking one losing episode, I will confess a weakness I still struggle with today.</p> <p><strong>But before I do that, I would like to talk about a book.</strong> I have always been a big Michael Lewis fan. Ever since reading Liar&rsquo;s Poker as a young kid trying to make it onto a trading desk, it has held a special place in my development. Throughout the years, as Michael has published more books, I have devoured them with a ferocity reserved for just a handful of authors.</p> <p><strong>Yet when Lewis published his most recent book, The Undoing Project, I did not rush out to buy it. The story of two psychologists and their relationship throughout the years? It sounded hokey and not at all interesting. Deciding Michael had finally jumped the shark, I ignored the new release.</strong></p> <p><a href=""><img alt="" src="" style="width: 327px; height: 404px;" /></a></p> <p>Lucky for me, my old man is retired and has more time on his hands. More importantly, he did not suffer the same prejudices. He bought it. After reading it, he plopped it in my hands and encouraged me to give it a whirl.</p> <p><u><em><strong>Was I ever wrong about my initial impressions. </strong></em></u>Michael Lewis&rsquo; The Undoing Project could be one of his finest books. <u><strong>As traders and investors, we should all be forced to read it.</strong></u></p> <p>The psychological concepts the two main characters discovered are essential to understanding the constant battle we are all fighting when we trade. The themes throughout the book are complex and become more nuanced, bu<strong>t at its heart, the book is about the understanding that human beings do not act rationally with anywhere near the frequency that most of us believe.</strong></p> <p>Specifically, humans have trouble with statistics. There are tendencies embedded within us that are difficult to overcome. In fact, the story&rsquo;s two heroes developed experiments designed to exploit these biases. It was no surprise that the average person failed to overcome this human flaw. But more importantly, even professors who were trained in statistics were unable to correct for this bias.</p> <p>In their breakthrough paper, the two psychologists concluded;</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em><strong>&ldquo;People&rsquo;s intuitive expectations are governed by a consistent misperception of the world.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> </blockquote> <p>This observation has profound ramifications for almost all social sciences. Economists especially, base their entire framework on people behaving rationally. Yet these two psychologists had just proven that this was not always the case.</p> <p><strong>There was one part of the book that really hit home. It was when a statistics professor explained that he understood what was happening with the experiment, yet he felt the pull to go the other way. His logical brain was telling him one thing, but another part was telling him something different.</strong></p> <p>And for me, this is <strong><u>the perfect analogy to one of my biggest trading weaknesses.</u></strong></p> <p><em><strong>Do you know those days when something dramatic happens in the market and stocks rocket up 1% or more at the open? Maybe it is a big employment report, or maybe some Central Bank eases.</strong></em></p> <p>Either way, the market opens at 9:30 and you are staring at a big gap open. Everyone is all bulled up, and excitement fills the air.</p> <p>Let me assure you, I know the statistics.<strong> By far and away, on those days, the most likely outcome is for the market to chop around for the first half hour, fake a couple of sell offs, then start grinding higher.</strong> At lunch, the grind might slow down, but then at 1pm, the buying resumes. At 2:30pm there is often a decline, and it looks like it might roll over. Yet that dip is met with more buying, and the market proceeds to rip into the close, finishing at the highs of the days as the shorts cover. Although this doesn&rsquo;t always happen, this is the correct bet. In fact, it&rsquo;s better than the correct bet, it&rsquo;s a great setup.</p> <p><u><strong>But I find it extremely difficult to trade this scenario</strong></u>. In my mind, I have glorified the handful of times (most likely one hand) that the gap open proved to be an &ldquo;all baked in situation.&rdquo; I distinctly remember a couple of days on the program trading desk where my floor partner and I stood in there, shorting futures to locals and ETFs to institutional clients, taking the other side of the buying panic. Before we could figure out how short we were, the buying dried up, and then next thing we knew, the market rolled over, and we were deep into sell programs, buying back our position while hammering stocks lower in the cash market with our sell baskets.</p> <p>Even as I write this, there is a smile on my face. I loved being right while everyone else was wrong. It was almost romantic.</p> <p><strong>Yet I can&rsquo;t tell you how much money I have wasted over the years trying to replicate these romantic dreams in my head.</strong> It is enormous, and it has cost me so much mental and actual physical capital. Springsteen wrote about the old deadbeat sitting at the bar thinking &lsquo;bout it, and I now understand a little better what he meant.</p> <p><u><strong><em>When it comes to trading, romance is for losers.</em></strong></u></p> <p><a href=""><img height="497" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>I struggle with these different tugging forces. My logical brain knows I shouldn&rsquo;t be shorting that open, but the other side desperately wants to relive those glory days.</p> <p>And this is what trading is all about. We are constantly battling what we <em>want to do</em>, and what we <em>should do</em>. Even those who understand the game exceptionally well, are constantly battling their own inner demons.</p> <p>Everyone&rsquo;s demons take a different form, but make no mistake, we all have them.</p> <p><strong>Michael Lewis&rsquo; book told the story of the psychologists who proved they exist. We are not rational actors. Our brains are not wired to make consistent correct statistical calculations. The sooner we understand that reality, the better our trading will be.</strong></p> <p>I have by no means conquered my affliction. <u><em><strong>A little part of me worries that by writing this piece, I have almost assured the next big gap open will fail and roll over. Maybe I should just try shorting the gap higher one more time&hellip;</strong></em></u></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="545" height="382" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Fail Michael Lewis program trading Program Trading Reality Share trading Thu, 25 May 2017 01:20:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596595 at John McAfee's New Company is Making a Killing in Bitcoins, But No One Gives a Damn <p>Crazy John McAfee from the jungles of Belize is running a tiny company, specializing in cyber-security and mining bitcoins.</p> <p>Revenues for the last quarter eclipsed $300k, based solely on mining activities.<br /> <img src="" width="600" height="361" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-68831" /></p> <p>The stock has been stuck in retard range, thanks to a pending SEC execution.</p> <p><img src="" width="600" height="450" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-68832" /></p> <p>Nevetheless, McAfee says his little offal of a company will be profitable by year end -- all thanks to bitcoins. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"We will definitely be profitable before the end of the year," McAfee said in a phone interview Wednesday. "From bitcoin mining, we will get the experience and expertise to apply the blockchain to our security products."</p></blockquote> <p> Their bitcoin mining operations are located deep in the mountains of Washington state, manned by two lads whose only task is to ensure the air conditioners are operating efficiently, in order to protect the mining machines from overheating.</p> <p>There's digital gold in them hills.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On Monday, the company said it got&nbsp;financing to acquire 1,000 mining computers from Bitmain Tech, a Chinese based firm. With these new computers, MGT will have a total of 1,300 mining for bitcoins. McAfee's goal is to become the biggest bitcoin miner in the world.</p> <p>With the new mining capacity, McAfee intends to generate 225 bitcoins per mo, up from the current 100.</p> <p>The blockchain has taken on an absurd amount of 'alternative currencies.' One of the hot one's now is based on <a href="">RARE PEPE art</a>, designated as PEPE CASH, backed by rare Pepe art. You can't make this stuff up. McAfee insists we're not in a crypto-bubble. </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"No matter how much government and regulators may scream and complain, there will be a world standard alternative currency," McAfee said. "Bitcoin appears to be the one... It cannot possibly be a bubble."</p></blockquote> <p> Aside from suing Intel for the right's to rename their company John McAfee Global Technologies, McAfee's employees, 12 in total, are focused on cyber-security. They've developed a product dubbed 'Sentinel', which is an anti-hacking software, and they're developing a 'privacy phone' that has a kill switch on it.</p> <p>&nbsp; </p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>"I don’t know anyone more capable than me," said McAfee. "I have never lost in terms of business and I certainly don’t intend to start now."</p></blockquote> <p> &nbsp;<br /> Content originally published at <a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin Blockchains Business California Computing Cryptocurrencies Currency Fugitives John McAfee McAfee Technology U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Thu, 25 May 2017 01:09:24 +0000 The_Real_Fly 596602 at China "National Team" Rescues Stocks As Downgrade Crushes Commodities <p><strong>Iron ore led a slump in industrial commodities after Moody&rsquo;s Investor Service downgraded China&rsquo;s credit rating</strong> and warned that the country&rsquo;s debt position will worsen as its economic expansion slows. However, one glance at the divergence between industrial metals&#39; collapse and the <strong>sudden buying panic in Chinese stocks </strong>confirms what Asher Edelman noted yesterday about the US markets, <strong>China&#39;s so-called &quot;National Team&quot; was clearly intervening</strong>...</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href=""><img height="316" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p><a href=""><em>As Bloomberg reports,</em></a><strong> Iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange fell as much as 5.6 percent to 452 yuan a metric ton, almost by the daily limit, </strong>before closing at 455.50 yuan, extending Tuesday&rsquo;s 3 percent loss. Nickel led a broad slump among base metals, dropping as much as 2.4 percent to $9,125 a ton on the London Metal Exchange. Nickel stockpiles rose the most in more than a year.</p> <p>In context, the overnight reversal in Chinese stocks is even more obvious...</p> <p><a href=""><img height="312" src="" width="600" /></a></p> <p>Moody&rsquo;s move, downgrading China&rsquo;s debt to A1 from Aa3, adds to concerns about the effects of a slowdown in the country&rsquo;s economic growth, following on from downbeat manufacturing readings and weak commodity imports, Simona Gambarini, an analyst at Capital Economics Ltd., said by phone from London.<em><strong> &ldquo;We&rsquo;re not particularly concerned about credit growth getting out of hand, but in regards to industrial metals, we have been negative on the outlook for some time on the basis that Chinese growth will slow.&rdquo;</strong></em></p> <p>Will The National Team be back tonight?</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="958" height="504" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Atomic physics Business Chemical elements Chemistry China Dalian Commodity Exchange Dietary minerals Ferromagnetic materials Investor Service Iron Matter Metal Moody's Investors Service National Team Nickel Ore Transition metals Yuan Thu, 25 May 2017 01:00:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 596539 at Montana Republican "Body-Slams" Guardian Reporter Over Healthcare Question <p>Montana Republican congressional candidate <strong>Greg Gianforte reportedly &quot;body slammed&quot; Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs</strong> during an interview after being pressed for his opinion on the CBO healthcare score. Gianforte is the Republican candidate in Thursday&#39;s special election for Montana&#39;s open U.S. House seat.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong><em>&quot;I&#39;m sick and tired of you guys! The last time you came in here you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here! Get the hell out of here!</em></strong></p> </blockquote> <p><a href=""><img height="305" src="" width="560" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses</p> <p>&mdash; Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) <a href="">May 24, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>Jacobs told MSNBC&#39;s Chris Hayes that he was trying to ask Gianforte about the Congressional Budget Office&#39;s financial analysis of the Republican health care plan when<strong> &quot;the next thing I know, I&#39;m being body-slammed.&quot;</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&quot;He&#39;s on top of me. My glasses are broken,&quot; Jacobs said. &quot;It&#39;s the strangest thing that&#39;s happened in my entire life reporting.&quot;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>Jacobs said he fell on his elbow and was waiting to be X-rayed.</p> <p>The Guardian has released the audio of the event...</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></p> <p><a href="">NBC News reports that ,</a> in a statement, Shane Scanlon, a spokesman for Gianforte&#39;s campaign,<strong> alleged that Jacobs crashed an interview Gianforte was giving another reporter &quot;and began asking badgering questions,&quot; adding that &quot;Jacobs was asked to leave.&quot;</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&quot;Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face,&quot; </strong>Scanlon said.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&quot;Jacobs grabbed Greg&#39;s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&quot;It&#39;s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ,&quot;</strong> he said.</p> </blockquote> <p>The Gallatin County Sheriff&#39;s Office and and representatives of the state Republican Party didn&#39;t immediately respond to NBC News&#39; requests for comment.</p> <p>The question is - was the video more like this...</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="">@Bencjacobs</a> This is a body slam. Did this happen? <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Kristopher Tapley (@kristapley) <a href="">May 24, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>Or this...</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p dir="ltr" lang="en"><a href="">@kristapley</a> <a href="">@Bencjacobs</a> Probably like this <a href=""></a></p> <p>&mdash; Hman(Harold Romero) (@H_man78) <a href="">May 24, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script src="//"></script><p>But on a more serious note, it appears the constant tensions between a liberal media and not-liberal politicians is reaching a tipping point.</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="788" height="429" alt="" src="" /> </div> </div> </div> Ben Jacobs Business Congressional Budget Office Economy Gallatin County Sheriff's Office Gianforte Gratuity Greg Gianforte Human Interest Jacobs Journalism MSNBC Politics Republican Party Science and technology in the United States Tapley Television Television in the United States The Guardian U.S. House Thu, 25 May 2017 00:42:53 +0000 Tyler Durden 596600 at