Why will Christmas 2014 be the last Christmas in America? It's simple: declining wages cannot support an ever-expanding mountain of debt. The Federal Reserve has played a game for six long years of lowering the cost of debt (i.e. the rate of interest borrowers must pay), which has enabled stagnating wages to support ever heavier debt loads. There is an endgame in sight to this financial trickery...
It appears that not only did Janet Yellen's soothing words from last week decouple the broad US equity market from any fears about oil prices, but energy stocks themselves now have absolutely no relationship with the underlying raw material that drives their business (and it's not like the Contango provides much support). Now where have we seen this before?
Halloween has a socialist tenor. Menacing figures arrive at your door uninvited, demand your property, and threaten to perform an unspecified "trick" if you don't fork over. That's the way the government works in a nutshell. Thanksgiving has been reinterpreted as the white man, after burning, raping, and pillaging the noble Indian, trying to make amends with a cheap turkey dinner. New Year's can be ruined as the beginning of a new tax year, and the knowledge that the next five or six months will be spent working for the government. That's why I love Christmas.
Massive 1,500 Ton Gold Vault For Sale In The Heart Of London, One Previous Owner, Asking £4,500,000 O.B.O.Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/26/2014 - 14:16
As a result of Deutsche Bank's gold-rigging problems, the German bank's practically brand spanking new Singapore gold vault, just over a year old, is about to go on sale. But while one can debate when the brand new storage facility will see a "for sale" sign attached to the main vault door, one thing is clear: Deutsche Bank's massive, and even newer, gold vault in London is already looking for offers. According to Reuters, Deutsche Bank is "open to offers for its London-based gold vault following the closure of its physical precious metals business."
Trading volumes today are running at the lowest pace since 2006, crude oil prices ae testing back towards fresh 5 year lows, and Treasury yields are all lower... so it should come as absolutely no surprise that the S&P 500, Dow Industrials, and Russell 2000 have all hit fresh intraday record highs today.
Less than three months ago, on September 30, 2014, "consensus" expected that EPS and revenue growth in 2015 would be 11.8% and 4.3%, respectively. As of December 19, those projected growth rates have plunged to 7.9% and 2.8%. In other words, both revenue and EPS growth has been slashed by one third in under one quarter (while revenue growth for Q1 and Q2 2015 has cratered from 4.5% and 3.6% to 1.4% and 1.0%, respectively). Why? Spotting the "odd one out" in the charts below should provide the answer,
According to KickassTorrents (KAT), which is now the world’s most popular website to download torrents, showed that the number of downloads for “The Interview” surpassed 1 million on early Friday. The tally includes copies which were later deleted due to copyright infringement claims but does not include downloads through other file-sharing services. The figure puts “The Interview” on track to become one of the most pirated movies of the year.
Belarus President Tells "Retailers, Money-Grabbers And Thieves" That Capital Controls "Will Remain Forever"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/26/2014 - 11:27
"I was told, and saw it for myself, that some of our scoundrel-officials have been telling entrepreneurs, businessmen and all sorts of thieves that they should wait until around (January) 9th or 15th, everything will be liberalized here, and they would be able to get what they have not until now. People are simply begging to be you know where. I want to say that the trend, as is fashionable to say nowadays, towards control over domestic prices will remain forever. Retailers, middlemen, money-grabbers and thieves working in this sector have become the richest people in our country."
- Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko
There was some expectation following the loud public response following Ukraine's shut down of power to Crimea on Christmas Eve, that Kiev would treat the territory which it alleges is still part of Ukraine as, well, part of Ukraine. And sure enough, a few hours after the regionwide blackout was first reported, Ukraine restored power. Until today, when moments ago we learned that not only did Ukraine cut off electricity to Crimea earlier today, but also halted train services, moves which, according to the WSJ, could raise tensions with Russia, but which also will harden the local popluation's pro-Russian determination even further. Crimea’s Fuel and Energy Minister Sergei Egorov told Russia’s Interfax news agency that power was cut off at 1:50 p.m. Friday without warning. He said backup diesel generators and mobile turbine power plants were supplying critical infrastructure with electricity.
For the past few months, the one silver lining to the energy complex - with crude oil plummeting to levels not seen since 2009 - was nat gas, which soared to the mid-$4s in early November on expectations of a brutal polar vortex for the second year in a row sending heating demand surging. Well, so far the "harsh" weather, which was blamed for the epic collapse in the US economy in Q1 has not materialized, and all those buyers of natgas contracts have been scrambling to sell all of their exposure afraid they may suffer the same fate as their crude trading brethren. End result: as of moments ago, nat gas finally slide under $3, the first time it has done so since 2012!
"It becomes tempting to take on too much leverage, use financial wizardry to reward shareholders or even stretch accounting principles. S&P 500 profits are 86% higher than they would be if accounting standards of the national accounts were used, Pelham Smithers Associates notes. And the gap between the two measures is widening, the research firm finds." - Blackrock
Last week, after the unanimous passage of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 in Congress we wrote that "World Awaits Russian Response As Obama Makes "Lethal Aid" To Ukraine Legal." We didn't have long to wait: one short hour ago, Putin adopted an updated version of its military doctrine, which "reflects the emergence of new threats against its national security" and which names both the NATO military buildup on Russia's borders, as well as the US and the destabilized situation in some regions (read Ukraine) as the main foreign threats to Russian security. The doctrine update also, for the first time, put protection of Russian national interest in the Arctic (read oil and nat gas) among the key priorities for Russia's armed forces. In other words, Putin is not only not backing down, but has once again explicitly warned NATO that any western action, either in Ukraine or elsewhere, will have a proportional response.
Iit was only this week that Bloomberg reported that "China Offers Russia Help With Currency Swap Suggestion." But in order to fully backstop Russia away from a SWIFT-world in which the dollar reigns supreme, one extra step was necessary: the launching of direct FX trade involving the Russian and Chinese currencies, either spot or forward - a move away from purely theoretical bilateral FX trade agreements - which would not only enable and make direct currency trading more efficient by sidestepping the dollar entirely, but also allow Russian companies to budget in Chinese Yuan terms. It is no surprise then that this is precisely the missing step that was announced overnight, and will be implemented starting Monday.