While the deal to discuss the deal that may or may not become a deal in June is still lingering in the news cycle, it seems Iran (fresh from its demands for complete sanctions lifting) is comfortable with some sabre-rattling. As the Washington Times reports, citing U.S. Army analysis, Iran’s army is creating military explosive-mounted killer drones, increasing the risk for Israeli and U.S. ships in the Gulf. So while all eyes are firmly focused on the threat of nukes, the US military reports states that "no aspect of Iran’s overt military program has seen as much development over the past decade as Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles.. promises to make American operations in both the Persian Gulf and Gulf Aden [at the Red Sea] more complicated."
Having demanded EUR 278.7 billion from Germany for WWII reparations, which was quickly eschewed by Germany, Greece has decided to up the ante. As KeepTalkingGreece reports, Greek Defense Ministry has published a video with rare footage from the occupation of Greece by the Nazis during the World War II. Among others, the footage shows children suffering from malnutrition and emaciated adults, victims of the Great Famine during the Nazi occupation. The video is designed to provide context for the huge claim and the video voice-over states that the Enforced Loan by the Nazis was to blame for the mass starvation of estimated 300,000 people in Athens alone, “Greece lost 13% of its population during the WWII. One part was lost in the battlefield, but the largest part due to Famine and the Nazis’ atrocities.”
In a note today, Bank of America economists (after looking at weather data) admit their finding "puts us in an awkward spot today." What did it find? Namely that all those who reran that 2014 playbook, Ethan Harris and other Bank of America economists included, and decided to blame the weather for Q1 GDP crashing from over 3% to under 1%, are wrong or simply lying.
For years now we’ve been listening to market cheerleaders like Steve Liesman, Tom Lee and Brian Belski give us their rendition of Little Orphan Annie’s “Tomorrow, tomorrow, the sun will come out tomorrow” but at a certain point the financial engineering runs out of time. But what if it didn't? Today, whether you look at the consumer, the producer, the worker or the borrower - they are all getting sicker.
“If a guy runs, officers will chase him. But you can’t just shoot a guy"...
Everything is awesome and volatility-less... VIX has broken back below the crucial 13 level (trading 12.94) as US equities v-shaped-recover from opening weakness leaving The Dow up 450 points (topping 18,000) from the post-payrolls pessimism... as we overheard on CNBC this morning, "the worst earnings season in 6 years is a buying opportunity."
Fed's 'Bad Cop' Lacker Sees "Substantial" FOMC Support for June Rate Hike, Economic Weakness "Transitory"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/10/2015 10:17 -0400
We've heard from uber-dove 'good cop' Kocherlakota (demanding moar QE), Dudley's admission of Dow-data-dependence, and now its Jeff 'bad cop' Lacker's turn to stir things up. Speaking to reporters this morning, lacker explained that recent economic weakness is "transitory" due to weather, and that the FOMC Minutes, despite economists' spin, show substantial support for a June rate hike. Markets are unmoved (for now).
Centrally issued money centralizes wealth and generates systemic inequality. This is equally true of all centrally issued currencies. But the inequity that is intrinsic to this system is politically, socially and financially destabilizing, and so this system is unsustainable.
Back in April 2013, Apple shocked the world when in a dramatic U-turn to Steve Jobs beliefs, it announced what was "the largest single share repurchase authorization in history" when it boosted its share repurchase authorization to $60 billion from $10 billion. Today, GE did its best to match this number, when it reported that as part of a massive business restructuring, it announced a "new Board authorization of up to $50B buyback." This is how it will fund it.
Gold prices jumped overnight on initial rumors and again in the last hour as Indian officials note that March Gold imports surged to 125 tons (more than double last March's 60 tons). As Reuters reports, Gold imports in the fiscal year 2014/15 ended March 31 jumped to 900 tonnes, up 36% from a year ago. Surging imports are helped by a falling price since the beginning of the year combined with the relaxation of government (capital control) import restrictions, and despite further efforts by the government to "monetize gold."
Import Prices dropped YoY by 10.5%, the biggest sequential drop since Dec 2008 (following the Lehamn shock). Priod data was revised lower and March's MoM import prices dropped 0.3% after rising 0.2% in Feb (revised lower from a 0.4% rise). US Auto import prices suffered their biggest YoY drop on record as currency wars and implicitly the strong dollar start to bite (even as imported fuels prices rose 0.4%). Other good news for Americans is that food prices are down 1.1%.
- Nikkei tops 20,000, Europe hits 15-year high (Reuters)
- GE to sell real estate holdings, sets $50 billion share buyback (Reuters)
- Iran’s Middle Class Plans for Life After a Deal (BBG)
- Walgreens to Close 200 Stores as It Expands Cost Cuts (WSJ)
- Hillary Clinton expected to announce presidential run as soon as this weekend (Reuters)
- It will cost $1.5 billion to keep Deutsche Bank Libor Manipulators out of prison (USA Today)
- Police Cameras Bring Problems of Their Own (WSJ)
- Obama says concerned China bullying others in South China Sea (Reuters)
- Investors Revive Appetite for Asian Junk Bonds (WSJ)
GE Announces One Of Largest Buybacks In History, Will Repuchase $50 Bn In Shares After Selling Most Of GE CapitalSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/10/2015 07:16 -0400
Moments ago, General Electric showed why April is much more likley to be a rerun of February than January or March when it announceed that it would go ahead and repurchase half of the total record stock buybacks announced in February, or some $50 billion in what may be the largest stock buyback announcement in history! How will GE fund this massive distribution to its shareholders, of which the most concentrated one will once again be the biggest winners? Simple: by dumping the division that nearly caused its insolvency during the financial crisis, the hedge fund known as GE Capital. As part of the just announced mega transaction, GE announced an agreement to sell the bulk of the assets of GE Capital Real Estate to funds managed by Blackstone. Wells Fargo will acquire a portion of the performing loans at closing.