We noted last week that recent job data shows a strong tendency for "hiring grandparents" as only the over-50s cohort have seen real employment gains since the financial crisis. No one epitomizes that reality better than 78-year-old Tom Palome who, as Bloomberg reports, went from VP or marketing for Oral-B to flipping burgers for minimum wage - because, like the great majority of seniors, he hadn't saved enough to retire comfortably. "I'm at the age where I'm not going to get out of this alive,"said Palome with a smile, "I plan to work until I can’t walk. I’m still the burger man."
The good thing about Germany’s bad, make that awful, numbers is that they will raise the voices of euroskeptics across the country. If there is to be a change in view or politics from Angela Merkel and her people, it’s not going to be what the rest of Europe wants, a softer stance on Mario Draghi’s ABS junk paper purchases. Quite the opposite: Germans will increase their calls for Deutschland first, and Merkel can no longer ignore them.
Ranking 5th in the world for 'executions', as we noted previously, the US is among proud executing-nations like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China. But when we drill down, there are a handful of states that are carrying the 'execution' weight for the rest of America as they try to reach #1 in the world (even as fewer Americans support the death penalty)...
Having accidentally stumbled upon the awkward truth - that many governments in the Middle East are either implicitly or explicitly funding terrorist organizations, such as ISIS, to fight Syria's al-Assad regime - Vice President Joe Biden has been doing the rounds the last few days apologizing for any inconvenience his Harvard speech last week may have caused. As Biden's spokeswoman explained, "the vice president apologized for any implication that Turkey or other allies and partners in the region had intentionally supplied or facilitated the growth of ISIL or other violent extremists in Syria." Today it was Saudi Arabia's turn (following Turkey and UAE) to hear Biden "clarify his recent remarks," and as Al Arabiya notes, "the two parties agreed that the issue was closed." Of course, one can hardly blame him for the gaffes, juggling who are friends, frenemies, and foes remains a tricky task for anyone.
Simply put, illegal activities are now the difference between economic growth and economic recession in Europe.
Do as we say, not as we do...
The September jobs report was greeted by a flurry of robo-trader exuberance because another print well above 200k purportedly signals that growth is underway and profits will remain in high cotton as far as the eye can see. But how many years can this Charlie Brown and Lucy charade be taken seriously - even by the headline-stalking talking-heads who inhabit bubblevision? For the entirety of this century they have actually been gumming about little more than “born again” jobs, not real expansion of labor inputs to the faltering US economy.
Gold is valuable and extremely rare, and therefore the yellow metal is usually protected at all costs. However, there have been multiple occurrences in history where evildoers have breached security measures and bullion has fallen into the wrong hands.
As we have discussed numerous times in the past, the US' debts and unfunded liabilities far exceed its assets. But making matters worse, the country is suffering from a prolonged failure to save and invest -- both at the personal and national level. Being over-indebted and under-capitalized is a recipe for hardship as we move into the future, especially if economic growth is going to be harder to come by.
You can mess with Greece with only modest repercussions, but, as Bloomberg reports, mess with Libya and trouble comes fast. In a strangely familiar case of deja vu, Libya’s sovereign wealth fund (LIA) sued Goldman Sachs over money-losing investments made in 2008, saying the bank exploited the LIA’s inexperience to sell risky derivatives. An LIA executive cursed at the Goldman bankers that they had "screwed" him and threatened "get out of my country," according to witness statements, adding that "he would come after their families."
It’s not supposed to be like this. We’ve all been told earnings are great, corporate profits are great, analysts estimates have been rising. As a matter of fact, if one dared to question any of these metrics we were referred to as “idiots.” (And that is an actual quote.) Today as we enter this earnings cycle we have a new phrase that I’m sure will enter the lexicon of the lay person in reference to stocks, but will send shivers down actual Wall Street’ers as they have to defend, argue, or give a smoke and mirrors story that will have a chance of being believed. That phrase will be “a trap door event.”
Just a month ago, Goldman Sachs' head progonsticator David Kostin went full bulltard, telling clients to buy high-beta, high-momentum stocks because (paraphrasing) "hedge funds suck" and will need to play catch-up. Today, his tune has changed. The "dash-for-trash" meme has outperformed dramatically in the last few years as Fed experimentation breathed life into the zombie-est weak-balance-sheet companies and traders rode that artificial wave. However,as Kostin notes, tightening financial conditions have the greatest impact on firms with high leverage and weak balance sheets; and thus, with the Fed more biased towards tightening than loosening (and the market discounting that), the "dash-for-trash" is over (as we noted in July).
Just hours after President Obama dined at a $10,000-per-plate fundraiser in Washington, former Obama administration CIA Director and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lamented with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell how "there is a feeling that the president has given up on the big issues facing this country." The problem, Panetta explains, is Obama "approaches things like a law professor," when he should be "rolling up his sleeves." With allies like that, who needs ISIS?
Stocks close not "off the lows"
Just hours after the World Health Organization warned "It is quite unavoidable, that [Ebola] incidents will happen in the future because of the extensive travel both from Europe to the affected countries and the other way around," CDC Director Tom Frieden announced that:
U.S. TO ANNOUNCE FURTHER TRAVEL MEASURES VS EBOLA IN DAYS: CDC
This merely confirms all suspicions and our earlier note that 'air traffic is the driver' of global contagion.