Putin Scores Another Historic Victory: Austria Signs South Stream Pipeline Deal In Defiance Of EuropeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/25/2014 07:23 -0400
In the great chess-vs-checkers game, Putin just keeps steamrolling his clueless opposition.
- Obama Administration Widens Export Potential for U.S. Oil (BBG)
- WTI Pares Gains as U.S. Export Ruling Seen Limited (BBG)
- Senator Cochran defeats Tea Party rival in Mississippi Republican runoff (Reuters)
- Militants attack Iraq air base, U.S. assessment teams deploy (Reuters)
- Maliki rules out national emergency govt (AFP)
- Koch to Start EU Power Trading as It Plans LNG Expansion (BBG)
- Obama Said to Ready Sanctions on Russian Industries (BBG)
- Ghana Sends Plane With $3 Million to Calm World Cup Team (BBG)
- Ghana’s First Hedge Fund Planned by Ex-Exchange Regulator (BBG)
- SEC Is Gearing Up to Focus on Ratings Firms (WSJ)
- Abe Declares Deflation End as Growth Plan Confronts Skeptics (BBG)
The S&P500 has now gone 47 days without a gain or loss of more than 1% - a feat unmatched since 1995, according to AP. Overnight markets are having a weaker session across the board (except the US of course). Even the Nikkei is trading with a weak tone (-0.7%) seemingly unimpressed by the Third Arrow reform announcements from Prime Minister Abe yesterday (and considering in Japan the market is entirely dictated by the BOJ, perhaps they could have at least coordinated a "happy" reception of the revised Abe plan). Either that or they have largely been priced in following the sizable rally in Japanese stocks over the past month or so. Abe outlined about a dozen reforms yesterday including changes to the GPIF investment allocations and a reduction in the corporate tax rate to below 30% from the current level of 35%+. Separately, the Hang Seng Index (-0.06%) and the Shanghai Composite (-0.41%) 98closed lower as traders cited dilutive IPOs as a concern for future equity gains.
Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im), the federally-backed bank which has been around since 1934, faces a very serious threat to its survival. The most important aspect of this entire fight is the fact that on opposite sides of the debate are not Democrats versus Republicans, but once again Republicans vs. Republicans. We again see tea party Republicans facing off against establishment RINOs. On one side we hear claims by the tea party wing that the Ex-Im merely serves as a conduit for crony capitalism and favoritism to large corporations, or those willing to bribe officials. On the other side, we see establishment Republicans, who are extremely cozy with mega-corporations, maintaing that the institution plays a crucial role in financing American exports to make them competitive. The battle against the Ex-Im bank, a 80 year old institution, is just another example of the sort of changes that happen in Fourth-Turnings. So what does Barack Obama think of the Export-Import bank? As usual, it depends on who you ask, Presidential-candidate Obama, or President-elect Obama.
"Sell economic ignorance; buy gold" as Tim Price once said, is the premise behind Incrementum's 94-page extravaganza as they explain how we are currently on a journey to the outer reaches of the monetary universe. Stoeferle and Valek believe that the monetary experiments currently underway will have numerous unintended consequences, the extent of which is difficult to gauge today. Gold, as the antagonist of unbacked paper currencies they note, remains an excellent hedge against rising price inflation and worst case scenarios. "Our 12-month price target is the USD 1,500 level. Longer-term, we expect that a parabolic trend acceleration phase still lies ahead. In the course of this event, our long-term target of USD 2,300 should be reached at the end of the cycle."
Are the markets ready (and, more importantly, able) to withstand higher rates? Well, with the Fed tapering another $10 bn last week to a chorus of "meh" from the markets, it certainly seems to suggest that this whole taper thing is going to trundle along harmlessly until it's been completed without disruption, but Grant Williams has a very nasty feeling about all this. Essentially, the central bank heads all around the globe are engaged in a must-win confidence game. They 'have' to make people believe that everything is under control and getting better, BUT at the same time they must ALSO make them believe that the accommodative policies currently in place will be here, essentially, forever (forever in market-time is normally about 18 months to two years). Bernanke gave us ZIRP; now Draghi — damned by his own lack of earlier action — has been forced to add NIRP to the acronym lexicon of modern finance. In reality, it's not about Zero Interest Rate Policy or, for that matter, Negative Interest Rate Policy. It's about Broken Interest Rate Policy. BIRP!
"I was curious if I could care about (money) on some fundamental level, and I couldn’t,” she told Fast Company in an interview that ran in the magazine's May edition, explaining why she gave up lucrative gigs to join her family’s philanthropic foundation. “It is frustrating, because who wants to grow up and follow their parents? I’ve tried really hard to care about things that were very different from my parents … it’s a funny thing to realize I feel called to this work, both as a daughter and also as someone who believes I have contributions to make,” she continued about her reluctant status as a boomerang kid.
With the market firmly under the control of the Fed, VIX plunging and the S&P at all time highs is the a different indicator to look at for "fear"? For one possible answer we refer to the latest note by FBN's JC O'Hara who looks at a different "fear" index, namely the Credit Suisse Fear Barometer. He finds that, at 37%, it has never been higher.
Quietly behind the scenes, amid all the chaos of the Qingdao probe's contagion, copper has rallied modestly in the last seven days. That streak ended last night as the warehousing concerns we noted spreading to the entire sector, combined with a collapse in Chinese copper imports (down 17% in May), and yet another default (China Ting holdings said said two borrowers defaulted on entrusted loans). So it seems that not only are the commodities missing, but so is the money...as the slow motion train wreck gathers pace (no matter what PMIs or minis stimulus do to evade the tightening) as China's money-market rates (at 5 month highs) suggest liquidity demand is very high (and desperate).
"Why would anyone pay an advisor and reduce their returns when all one had to do was point-and-click their way to wealth." Near each major market peak throughout history, there has been some "new" innovation in the financial markets to take advantage of individual's investment "greed." In 1929, Charles Ponzi created the first "Ponzi" scheme. In the 1600's, it was "Tulip Bulbs." Whenever, and where ever, there has ever been a peak in "investor insanity," there has always been someone there to meet that need. In that past it was railroads, real estate, commodities, or emerging market debt; today it is investment advice. The latest innovation to come to market is what is termed "Robo-Advisors." That is the cycle of innovation in the financial market place. Despite the best of intentions, and advances in innovation, humans will always seek out the comfort of other humans in times of distress. The rising notoriety of Robo-advisors is very likely the symbol of the current late stage "market exuberance."
It is unclear for now what the catalyst for the $1.70 spike in oil prices is but WTI just touched $107.50 in a hurry. It appears a combination of a WSJ story reporting the Obama administration has quietly cleared the way for the first exports of unrefined American oil in four decades, allowing energy companies to chip away at the long-standing ban on selling U.S. crude overseas (which could theoretically enable them to buy crude (bid price up) and sell for higher prices abroad as we show below); and and Reuters reports that the U.S. military began deploying assessment teams to Iraq with about 40 special operations personnel already in the country (which could mean risks are rising).
Having learned last week that the world's central banks are their sovereign wealth proxies have secretly pumped over $29 trillion into markets in the last few years, it is not entirely surprising to hear from one of the largest - Norway $888 billion oil fund - that it is buying stocks with bond hands and feet. As The Financial Times reports, Yngve Slyngstad, chief executive of Norway's sovereign wealth fund, is hiring aggressively to manage its real estate portfolio and while the oil fund already owns 2.5% of every listed European company on average, it plans to go above 5%. Phew, bagholder found...
Just when you thought it was safe to leave your shelter and buy a car, buy a home, buy some Caterpillar trucks, and buy a Starbucks; NOAA reports the globe just experienced the hottest May on record... With El Nino looming, we can only imagine the excuses of 'extreme weather' that will rear its ugly head once again in Q2 earnings... though of course all this will be fixed in Q3?
Euro area monetary policy and Anglo-Saxon monetary policy are taking different directions — radically so. It has been a decade since the Fed last embarked on a tightening cycle, and Euro area rates have never gone negative before. With the expectations and the reality of the direction of interest rates diverging in this manner the instinct of most in financial markets is to assume that the Euro will weaken against the US dollar. A weaker Euro has been forecast by financial markets for some time — and financial markets have been spectacularly wrong in their forecasts. The Euro weakened a little in the wake of the nudges and hints on policy from ECB President Draghi, but it still remains at a high level. How can this be explained? How is it that the Euro is not behaving the way everyone says it should?