Many believe the most significant battle of our era is between the forces of Decentralization vs. Centralization. Niall Furguson takes that battle and looks at it from a historical perspective, describing it as Networks vs. Hierarchies, and warns we "need networks, for no political hierarchy, no matter how powerful, can plan all the clever things that networks spontaneously generate. But if the hierarchy comes to control the networks so much as to compromise their benign self-organizing capacities, then innovation is bound to wane."
We noted previously the comedic melt-up in stocks in the last few minutes of the day but away from the simple-to-see shenanigans in VIX and the major equity indices, Nanex shows a massive number of stocks experienced a stunning coordinated WTF moment at 1550ET... unrigged?
The Pentagon Has A Problem: "Vetting Moderate Al Qaeda Rebels Can Be Tough" - So Here Is A Simple Solution...Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/27/2014 19:46 -0400
Moments ago, none other than the Pentagon's rear admiral John Kirby confirmed that there is a glaring problem with Obama's intentions to disburse $500 million to "moderate" Syrian rebels.
- KIRBY SAYS A LOT OF WORK NEEDED TO VET MODERATE SYRIAN REBELS
- KIRBY SAYS CONCERNED ABOUT AID `ENDING UP IN THE WRONG HANDS'
While we share his sentiment (which we doubt is much of a concern to the US MIC as it will merely provide one set of US-made weapons to destroy another set of US-made weapons), we repeat that there is a simple solution. It comes from Andy Borowitz, who appears to have read our mind, and is breathtakingly simple. Presenting: The Moderate Syrian Rebel Application Form.
China's own Big Apple may be rotting from the core. A new central business district modeled after New York City is going up in Tianjin but the project is in jeopardy. While the growth of China's ghost cities of entirely derelict and unlived-in residential real estate have become anathema; the story of the nation's 'if we build it they will come' commercial real estate bubble has been less exposed but is no less incredible. As Bloomberg reports, China’s project to build a replica Manhattan is taking shape against a backdrop of vacant office towers and unfinished hotels, underscoring the risks to a slowing economy from the nation’s unprecedented investment boom. Stunningly, the development has failed to attract tenants since the first building was finished in 2010 leaving one commercial real estate investor to proclaim, "Investing here won’t be better than throwing money into the water... There will be no way out - it will be very difficult to find the next buyer."
The economic releases of the past few days are putting the lie to the Keynesian escape velocity myth. The latter is not just around the corner—-and 2014 is now virtually certain to mark the fifth year running when the boom predicted by Wall Street economist at the beginning of the year fizzled as actual results unfolded.
Jeff Deist, of The Mises View, explains how the Fed has created a perilous landscape in which there is no 'honest' pricing left - everything has been distorted. As David Stockman exclaimed, "The system we have now is one in which the Fed decides, through a Politburo of planners sitting in Washington, how much liquidity is necessary, what the interest rates should be, what the unemployment rate should be, and what economic growth should be."
While Marc Faber has said "I will never sell my gold," he also noted "I like the idea of Bitcoin," and the battle between the 'alternative currencies' continues. The following infographic provides a succinct illustration of the similarities and differences between gold and bitcoin.
Despite exuberant Services and Manufacturing PMIs, Bloomberg's index of CEO sentiment remains stagnant near 2014 lows as April's hope for Q2 has faded into 'more of the same' by June. As Bloomberg's Rich Yamarone points out, in reality (in spite of all the hope), the second quarter is drawing to a close and it was a rough one for corporate America, with CEOs citing "slower growth in household income overall", "the recovery remains fragile, especially for customers on a budget", and perhaps most concerning, "whether or not this softness in store traffic is representative of a permanent sea change in customer behavior or a temporary phenomenon is hard to tell at this stage."
Paul Warburg - the oft-cited 'father of the Federal Reserve' - pushes back on those who see him as favoring the issue of 'fiat money'... No one, he writes, "has given more time and energy to "the fight for sound money," adding a warning that "all direct connection between the government and the banking business is undesirable." We suspect Warburg would be turning in his grave at the oligarchy he unleashed...
This week's "Things To Ponder" is focused on things that, in my opinion, far too many individuals are ignoring. Bob Farrell once wrote that "when all experts and forecasts agree; something else is bound to happen." Today, that is the case as much as it ever was. Despite rising geopolitical risks, weak economic data, deteriorating fundamentals and softer internals - the overwhelming belief is "equities are the only game in town." Of course, we have seen this mentality many times in past history whether it was 1929, 1987, 2000 or 2007. While every market peak was different, there were all the same.
Before 330ET, the Nasdaq was the lone survivor in the green this week despite every effort to spark short squeezes and ramps day after day - but that all changed as the ubiquitous late-Friday buying panic occurred of course - lifting stock green for the day (and desperately searching for green on the week). There was a sudden heavy volume dump at 1315ET with no news catalyst amking many wonder if a dark pool puked its orders? A glance at the week's market moves would suggest 'volatility' is anything but low - yet we always manage to close day-to-day calmly. Wondering what provides the ammo for Nasdaq's rise? "Most shorted" stocks are up for the 7th week in a row. Despite all that idiocy, bond yields tumbled the most in 6 weeks and USDJPY fell the most in 14 weeks. Oil slipped on the week but copper, gold, and silver all gained. With the Rusell rebalance, volume was extreme today (but only at the close and that 1315ET dump).
Noting that it has had thousands of years to develop a more agreeable option, humankind expressed bewilderment this week that it has yet to devise a better alternative to governing itself than always letting power-hungry assholes run everything, sources worldwide reported.
The news that hundreds of thousands of people will lose water supplies is not a stunning headline anymore - poor old Ukraine... or Iraq. However, this time, the 'it couldn't happen here' crowd might be stunned to hear that The Motor City is playing serious hardball with residents who have fallen behind on paying their water bills. Detroit’s Water and Sewerage Department has begun turning off the taps of 150,000 residents who are at least two months behind on payments. As one advocate notes, "sick people have been left without running water and working toilets. People recovering from surgery cannot wash and change bandages. Children cannot bathe, and parents cannot cook." Of course, given that these are generally voting members of the US public, we would be stunned if the Federal government did not create a new fund to 'help' them out of this 'unfairness'.
With USDJPY near 4-week lows and, as BofAML's Macneil Curry warns "is setting up for a breakdown", we thought a look back at the total and utter chaos that last week's FOMC statement (and press conference) unleashed in futures markets. JPY futures were the only market in the world that was halted as the statement was revealed as Nanex shows below it seemed 'someone' decided that 'carry traders' needed to show the world just how positive what Janet said was... then within 24 hours, chaos was unleashed as the real world algos tried to come to terms with just what the Fed had done. With every asset class in the world predicated on JPY weakness, this market behavior shows just how illiquid and thin the world's risk really is.
It was a week ago when we learned that in yet another diplomatic masterstroke, Russia's Vladimir Putin took advantage of the vacuum in relations between the US (which now wants its heretofore puppet prime minister in Iraq removed) and the Iraqi PM (who has been increasingly vocal against US allies in the region, namely Saudi Arabia, and US demands for a coalition government) and offered his "complete support" to the Iraqi leader. Today, the Iraqi leader has decided to take Putin up on his offer and has announced he has bought used Russian jets which he will use instead of US fighter planes in his war against ISIS. "I'll be frank and say that we were deluded when we signed the contract [with the US]," Maliki said. "We should have sought to buy other jet fighters like British, French and Russian to secure the air cover for our forces; if we had air cover we would have averted what had happened," he went on.