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RANsquawk US Data Preview - 23rd August 2012

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Equities Plunge Most In A Month As Gold And Treasuries Extend Gains

Volume? Check. Spanish Spreads wider? Check. Maria B Saying "Wall-of-Worry"? Check. Sure enough, all the pieces were there for a sell-off today as the S&P saw its largest drop in a month as volumes have resurged in the last three days (of fading markets) and average trade size has gradually fallen from its peak (at the multi-year highs on Tuesday). Cross-asset-class correlations picked up notably and equities caught down to risk-assets (after yesterday's 'rally'). VIX rose once again - back above 16% - with the biggest 3-day rise in a month. Gold has rallied 1% per day for the last three days (something we haven't seen since OCT11) up near $1675. 10Y Treasury yields have now dropped 5 days in a row (something we haven't seen since APR12), down over 20bps from their highs/200DMA. Oil stumbled on the day, now down 0.3% on the week, even as Silver is up almost 9% on the week (and Gold 3.3%) - even as the USD is down 1.4% on the week (leaking lower still on the day after its gap overnight). Materials underperformed by the most today (which smells like QE-off) and was followed by Energy and Financials. Stocks underperformed (though HYG was modestly bid - we suspect on convergence trades) as stocks caught down to credit once again.

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On Economic Deceivers And Propagandists

The purpose of the list is to expose current partisan debate as corrupt and off-point. Economic policy makers across the political spectrum, including some commonly labeled “extreme” by more centrist politicians, are unwilling to acknowledge that fractionally reserved banking systems are the true source of the past generation’s credit build-up, the economic malaise it necessitated, the growing economic hardship it is creating, and the inescapability from deteriorating economic conditions through conventional policy means. The list challenges American policy makers to publicly identify and make illegal fractional-reserve banking, and further challenges them to lead the world in adopting sound money and credit practices that returns economic power to global economic actors following commercial rather than financial incentives.

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Guest Post: The Most Important Chart In TheWorld

In a nutshell, charting this ratio demonstrates the 'real' return on stocks adjusted for inflation or currency debasement.  As we all know, the Zimbabwe stock market essentially went up to infinity during their hyperinflation but did anyone get rich from that?  Of course not, the shares were denominated in a currency that was on its way to worthlessness. The key thing with the Dow/Gold chart is that it perfectly mimics the various social moods and massive secular trends that exist in the economy over very long periods of time.  It is just as effective in periods of deflation as in inflation in telling you the true story. In both of the prior two periods (one deflationary and one inflationary) the DOW/GOLD ratio got down to about 1:1.  It has been our contention for many years that we will see that same ratio once again.  That would imply another roughly 75% drop in stocks to gold and Mike Krieger expects that this next leg is beginning now.

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RANsquawk US Market Wrap - 23rd August 2012

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What's Spooking US Financials?

Since just after the open on Tuesday, the major US financials have decided that they will not go Bove-like to the moon and in fact have fallen back quite notably. As European pain has re-emerged, of course, its Margin Stanley that is hurting the most (-5%) but the rest are down 2.5 to 3.5%. It seems once again that the major financials' stocks have got ahead of themselves (both relative to the market and their CDS).

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Santelli Exposes The Political Fed Behind The Curtain As Romney Makes Bernanke A Target

UPDATE: Added Romney's Bernanke-Busting Clip

With Romney's comments (that QE2 didn't work, that he doesn't back QE3, and that Bernanke should go) somewhat cornering the Fed-Head's decision-making, CNBC's Rick Santelli's comments this morning are even more prescient. The Chicago truth-sayer vociferously noted the increasingly politicized Federal Reserve actions, highlighting Schumer's recent 'demand' that Bernanke do his job. With Bullard this morning noting that muddle-through was not enough to justify the size of QE3 the market seems to be anticipating, it appears any actions by the Fed in the near-term can only be seen as political. The only way to justify any sizable NEW QE is then surely for the market to crash - and with Spain's no-bailout-soon, and Merkel back in the headlines, who knows what's possible. One thing is certain: under Romney the country will need a Fed Chairman. And if it is not Bernanke, despite Glenn Hubbard's promises yesterday, one very likely name will be Hubbard's close friend and co-author: Goldman's Bill Dudley, who now runs the NY Fed. One wonders which choice will be worse for the country (if not for gold longs) - the Chairsatan or Bill Dudley? Of course, look for Obama to retaliate and promise to para-drop dolla dolla billz if elected. Critically, the wizened ex-Gold trader Santelli notes the precious metal knows this and is acting as a barometer of anxiety in this stand-off.

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Why In America It Pays To Be An Old, White, Widowed, Native-Born Female; Everyone Else Is Out Of Luck

As the 2012 presidential candidates prepare their closing arguments to America’s middle class, they are courting a group that has endured a lost decade for economic well-being. Since 2000, the middle class has shrunk in size, fallen backward in income and wealth, and shed some—but by no means all—of its characteristic faith in the future. These stark assessments are based on findings from a new nationally representative Pew Research Center "Fewer, Poorer, Gloomier" study and we present the only two charts that matter now.

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Perfectly Irrational Market Slides On News Spain Actually Not On Verge Of Default

Within seconds of the non-news headline (via Bloomberg) hitting:


The S&P 500 is crumbling, Oil is plunging, and EUR is selling off

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5 Year TIPS Price At Record Low -1.286%

Think NIRP is only allowed in select European countries. Moments ago the US Treasury sold a whopping for the series $14 billion in TIPS. The yield? A record low -1.286%, courtesy of TIPS being the only US debt instrument allowed to price at a negative yield (but not for long: JPM's new head of the London CIO divison Matt Zames who is also head of the TBAC is working hard at getting negative yields legalized across the board). The first time the Treasury sold TIPS at a negative rate was back in 2010, when it priced $11 billion at -0.55%. The comment back then: "It signals people’s expectation of the Fed being able to create some inflation with the QE program,” said Alex Li, an interest-rate strategist in New York at Deutsche Bank AG, which as a primary dealer is required to bid at Treasury auctions. “With nominal rates so low, in order have high TIPS breakevens you’ve got to have negative real yields on the five-year." It didn't then. It won't now. Of course, if the CPI were actually adjusted to reflect reality, then TIPS would be the best investment imaginable. As it stands right now, it will likely keep losing money until such time as the CTRL and P keys are finally superglued in the on position.

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Guest Post: Venezuela Ramps up China Oil Exports Unsettling Washington

The biggest geostrategic change of the past decade overlooked by Washington policy wonks in their fixation on their self-proclaimed “war on terror” is that Latin America has been throwing off the shackles of the Monroe Doctrine. These ignored developments may well soon refocus Washington’s attention on the Southern Hemisphere, as Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez reorients his country’s to China. So, where does Washington go from here? If it wants to preserve its increasingly tenuous foothold in a nation with the world’s largest oil reserves, it might begin by engaging in some honest diplomacy.

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The Beginning Of The End For John Paulson?

Because redemption requests are like cockroaches: once one appears, assume many, many more:


Is this the beginning of the end for the former Bear Stearns M&A banker and once infallible hedge fund manager? And to think he could have saved himself all the deep fundamental work telling him Las Vegas real estate is "cheap" and just bought Apple. Hey, everyone else is doing it. And everyone else can't possibly be wrong. As for Paulson, whose GLD holdings, which are not an investment but merely a gold denomination share class, will likely quite soon see a substantial hit as he is forced to unwind GLD holdings as more and more external investors redeem until finally JP is just left running his own and his employees' money.

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Guest Post: Spreading Insolvency Around Does Not Create Solvency

The entire global financial "recovery" engineered by central banks and Central Planning is based on the absurd notion that if we spread unpayable debt over the entire body politic (be it a nation or regional entity such as the European Union) then that distribution will somehow make the debt payable and the phantom assets real. The debt remains unpayable and the assets (collateral) remain stubbornly phantom. As for adding more debt (selling Eurobonds, Treasury bonds, etc.), please note the diminishing return on additional debt: it is now negative.... Diminishing returns define the flailing financial system: the return on petrocapitalism is declining (how many barrels of oil or equivalent does it take to extract and process one barrel of shale-derived oil?), the return on more debt has turned negative, the yield on "saving" bankrupt States is marginal, and so on: spreading insolvency to the taxpayers does not magically create solvency, it only distributes insolvency to every nook and cranny of the economy.

All the debt remains painfully real; it is only the collateral that is illusory.

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Gold And Silver Surge Above 200DMA

The last few days have been 'different'. Equities have relinquished their role as QE-sensitizers as Treasuries and precious metals have taken the reins. Perhaps though, as CNBC's Rick Santelli noted earlier, Gold and Silver are acting as barometers of anxiety - as opposed to clarifying QE expectations - as we see both Gold (> $1650) and Silver (> $30) break above their 200DMA and trade back to near five-month highs.

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Slumping Commercial Real Estate Sales Are Latest Flashing Red Non-Recovery Indicator

Real Capital Analytics (RCA) released their US commercial real estate transaction data for July last night. The only way to interpret the data is - ugly. After a dismal June (down 33% YoY), July did not see any bounce and in fact plunged 20% YoY with transactions totaling $14.6bn. As Barclays notes, the takeaway is generally negative, as the growth trend has weakened considerably since March ( which was +62% YoY). What is interesting to us is that with Treasury yields so low, the cap-rate 'spread' makes commercial real estate relatively attractive and yet no-one's buying.

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