Following last night's freak central-planning accident (previously in history known as "selling") in the S&P futures, we said that "we expect Overnight Ramp Capital to arrive promptly or else confidence in central-planning may take a hit ahead of the Wednesday Taperish FOMC, and Thursday's double POMO." A few hours later, even we were surprised by how high the low volume tape managed to drag ES, which staged a dramatic 20 point comeback, on the back of a sharp reversal in FX driven higher by both a stronger Euro (helped by better than expected German and Eurozone PMIs offsetting China PMI weakness, and lack of optimism in the core Japanese Tankan) and a weaker Yen, the two key signals for E-mini directionality. Sure enough, at last check the futures we trading just why of the "independence day" 1776, after briefly breaking the 50-DMA and then being supported by 1760 in the futures. The rest is perfectly predictable central-planning history.
Just after 10pm Eastern, a big block in the S&P futures, over 10k contracts, was dumped in the very thin Sunday night tape, sending the complex lower by over 10 points, and after opening at 1768.5, ES dumped as low at 1754 in a matter of seconds, before recovering some of the losses to 1760 (1754 just happens to be perfectly the 50-day-moving average for the March 2014 futures contract). The Nikkei was hit concurrently by correlation algos impacted by the same downdraft, which also pinged the various JPY pairs lower, if leaving the EUR largely untouched. Needless to say there was no news of note to prompt this move, which appears to have been either a partial fat finger, or someone trying to exit the market in a hurry ahead of next week's FOMC festivities.
Due to western central bank price manipulation, the mining sector is in critical condition, the supply line is all but halted, and the physical supply is being swallowed up by Asia. The last shoe to drop is for major mining companies to start closing down production at major mines. Though this would be perceived as the end for gold, speculators will be happy to know that this would be the beginning of the biggest Fed induced bubble in history! But unlike previous Fed bubbles where they support the price increase, the gold bubble will be a result of western central planners mis-managing the gold price for the past 3 decades and finally losing control. As Peak Resources explains in the brief clip, the perfect storm is coming for gold...
David Stockman's exclamation at the "betrayal" realized within the latest so-called "festerng fiscal" budget deal is taken a step further with Peter Schiff's head-shaking diatribe on Congress' inability to show that it is truly "capable of tackling our chronic and dangerous debt problems." So America blissfully sails on, ignoring the obvious fiscal, monetary, and financial shoals that lay ahead in plain sight. I believe that will continue this dangerous course until powers outside the United States finally force the issue by refusing to expand their holding of U.S. debt. That will finally bring on the debt and currency crisis that we have created by our current cowardice.
Japanese stocks are confused this evening (whether good news is bad news or bad news is good news). The headline Tankan business conditions (soft-survey) beat expectations modestly (a la Europe's in the summer as it rode a wave of short-lived optimism) and pressing to 6 years highs (oh no - less QE?) But, the more forward-looking "manufacturing outlook" missed expectations by the most since March 2012. On the services side, things were worse, as the outlook there missed for the 11th quarter in a row. And the triple-whammy was the Capex spend missing expectations significantly (what no investment? where have we seen that before). The result - mixed news is bad news - Nikkei futures are down 150 from Friday's close and JPY crosses have drifted back lower.
Despite the ongoing declarations by Wall Street's strategists and Washington's leaders that recovery is here (or just around the corner), record numbers of Americans in poverty and government handouts suggest otherwise. However, the insidious chipping away at the possibility of the American Dream has been replaced by an IPO-chasing, zero-interest-income-earning, yield-reaching, insider-trading, 'dance-while-the-music-is-playing', beggars can be choosers, get-rich-quick-scheme nation of takers (and entitled-ers)...
The S&P 500 is set to resume higher, according to BofAML's Macneil Curry pointing to the week of December Triple Witching as historically one strongest of the year for the S&P500. With fundamentals a thing-of-the-past, paying attention to the technicals in a world of one driver of stocks (Fed balance sheet), for short-term trading signals may have some value. Of course, with an 'event' as potentially huge as the FOMC meeting this week, adding risk on an already good year (when the world already believes a taper is "priced in") may be more greatest fool than momo monkey.
Earlier in the week, we detailed JPMorgan's attempt to create their own "web cash" alternative to Bitcoin (and Sberbank's talk of doing the same). However, as M-Cam details, following the failure of the first 154 'claims', JPMorgan issued a further 20 claims - which were summarily rejected (making JPMorgan 0-175 for approved claims). As they note, The United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO)’s handling of applications like JPMorgan’s ‘984 application ("Bitcoin Alternative") highlights the need to fix a broken system - patent applications of existing inventions need to be finally rejected and not be resurrected as zombies (no matter how powerful the claimant). Obviously, large financial institutions want in on the online alternative currency action. But they would be well advised to pursue novel and non?obvious approaches that do not duplicate existing commercial options with respect to a virtual medium of exchange.
Those who adhere to the don’t-stop-til-you-get-enough theory of sovereign borrowing, and by extension argue for a scrapping of the debt ceiling, couldn’t be more misguided. In free markets with no Fed money market distortion, interest rates can be a useful guide of the amount of real savings being made available to borrowers. When borrowers want to borrow more, real interest rates will rise, and at some point this crimps the marginal demand for borrowing, acting as a natural “debt ceiling.” But when markets are heavily distorted by central bank money printing and contrived zero-bound rates, interest rates utterly cease to serve this purpose for prolonged periods of time. What takes over is the false signals of the unsustainable business cycle which fools people into thinking there is more savings than there really is. Debt monetization has a proven track record of ending badly. It is after all the implicit admission that no one but your monopoly money printer is willing to lend to you at the margin. The realization that this is unsustainable can take a while to sink in, but when it does, all it takes is an inevitable fat-tail event or crescendo of panic to topple the house of cards. If the market realizes it’s been duped into having too much before the government decides it’s had enough, a debt crisis won’t be far away.
It is perhaps a testament to the ability of the oligarchy (that 1% which owns some 50% of all US assets) to distract and distort newsflow from what really matters, that a century after the creation of the Federal Reserve, the vast majority of Americans are still unfamiliar with the most important institution in the history of the US - an institution that unlike the government is not accountable to the people (if only as prescribed on a piece of rapidly amortizing paper), but merely to a few banker stakeholders as Bernanke's actions over the past five years have demonstrated beyond any doubt. It is for their benefit that Jim Bruce's groundbreaking movie "Money for Nothing" is a must see, although we would urge everyone else, including those frequent Zero Hedge readers well-versed in the inner workings of the Fed, to take the two hours and recall just who the real enemy of the people truly is.
One of the more vocal members of the ECB's governing council and executive board, 47-year old German Joerg Asmussen, surprisingly announced this morning that he is stepping down for "purely private family reasons." Concurrently, the German who has been a less tenuous version of his far more outspoken and hawkish compatriot Jens Weidmann, announced that he would accept a job as Deputy Labour Ministry job in the new German government. What is surprising is that the German was not appointed finance minister in Merkel's new cabinet, although with Schrodinger Schauble determined to keep his position it is explainable. What is more surprising is that Asmussen replaced none other than Juergen Stark, who once was said to be Trichet's successor, and who dramatically quit the ECB over disagreements on the bank's bond monetization program. One wonders: is Joerg's untimely departure just the latest indication that the ECB is finally preparing to unroll a blanket quantitative easing program, just as BNP predicted it would, in its desperate, last-ditch attempt to defeat Europe's slide into outright deflation and credit-creation collapse? Certainly, if Weidmann were to quietly leave next, then whatever you do, don't stand below the Euro.
As Bitcoin Transaction Volume Triples Since October, Europe Prepares To Regulate, Tax The Digital CurrencySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/15/2013 12:25 -0400
Representing numbers that would put the adoption curve of Obamacare to shame, the Bitcoin equivalents of Paypal, BitPay, announced last week that it has now processed over $100 million in BTC transactions in 2013, has increased its merchant base to over 15,500 approved merchants in over 200 countries, but most importantly, has seen a surge in the number of merchants using its BTC payment pricing plan, by 50% since October while the volume of transactions has tripled. While the surge in the currency adoption has matched the explosive rise in the USD-value of the currency, the news should comfort any lingering doubts whether Bitcoin is a credible payment system. Which explains why Europe, which over a year was the first entity to cry foul about Bitcoin (recall from November 2012: "The ECB Explains What A Ponzi Scheme Is; Awkward Silence Follows") when the USD-price of one BTC was still in the double digits, is doubling down in its fight against the fiat alternative, this time as the European Union's top banking regulator is preparing to actively supervise the virtual currency.
Some of the most respected prognosticators in the financial world are warning that what is coming in 2014 and beyond is going to shake America to the core. Many of the quotes that you are about to read are from individuals that actually predicted the subprime mortgage meltdown and the financial crisis of 2008 ahead of time. So they have a track record of being right. Does that guarantee that they will be right about what is coming in 2014? Of course not. In fact, as you will see below, not all of them agree about exactly what is coming next. But without a doubt, all of their forecasts are quite ominous. The following are quotes from Harry Dent, Marc Faber, Mike Maloney, Jim Rogers and ten other respected economic experts about what they believe is coming in 2014 and beyond...