The concept of the business cycle and its un-natural intervention-inspired boom-bust process is at the core of the following three minutes of dueling quotes from two of the most infamous public proponents of change (Ron Paul) - "Printing money is not an answer... Like all artificially-created bubbles, the boom... cannot last forever"; and the status quo (Paul Krugman) - "Cut interest rates a couple of percentage points, provide plenty of liquidity, and call me in the morning." You decide who "was" right, and who "will be" right again...
If somehow the scramble to open stores earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving day, until such time as the very Thanksgiving dinner had to be interrupted early for the annual rush out to the (un)friendly neighborhood Thug-Mart (Toys'R'Us opened at a ridiculous 5pm on Thanksgiving day) and punching people in the face just to get that 42 inch, 2010-model Plasma TV for $99, was supposed to boost overall sales instead of merely pulling them forward (see cash for clunkers), it didn't work. According to ShopperTrak, total Black Friday traffic plunged 11% and total sales fell 13.2%, the second consecutive year of declines following last year's 1.8%. The reason, as largely expected, is that a substantial portion of Friday shopping was pulled back to Thursday: as ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin said, "if retailers continue to promote Thanksgiving as the start of the holiday buying season, he thinks the holiday will eventually surpass Black Friday in sales. "We're just taking Black Friday sales and spreading them across a larger number of days," Martin said."
On the heels of his recent appearance pouring cold water on Jim Cramer's housing recovery exuberance, recent Nobel Prize winner Bob Shiller unloads another round of uncomfortable truthiness (presumably on the basis of his future-proofing tenure guaranteed by the Nobel). "Bubbles look like this," Shiller tells Der Spiegel, adding that he is, "most worried about the boom in US stock prices." As Reuters reports, Shiller is concerned since "the world is still very vulnerable to a bubble," and with stock exchanges around the world at record highs despite an economy that is "still weak," the Nobel winner proclaimed, "this could end badly."
While even the most naive private sector cyber-experts knew well in advance that an effective rewrite of Obamacare's 500 million lines of code would take a "little longer" than the month promised by the government in advance of the November 30 fix deadline, the Obama administration went ahead with its much touted healthcare.gov relaunch anyway. The results have been mixed.
Shortly after 7 am Eastern time on Sunday, Metropolitan Transportation Authority police confirmed that a Metro-North train derailed near the Hudson river in the Bronx. The accident occurred near Palisade Avenue near the Spuyten Duyvil railroad station. Photos taken of the accident scene show eight cars derailed. Edwin Valero was in an apartment building above the accident scene when the train derailed, the WSJ reports. He says none of the cars went into a nearby body of water, but at least one ended up a few feet from the edge. Rebecca Schwartz was at a nearby park when the accident occurred. She says she didn't see or hear the derailment but looked across the water when she heard emergency vehicle sirens. She says numerous emergency vehicles have responded to the scene.
While what little remains of America's middle class is happy and eager to put in its 9-to-5 each-and-every day, an increasing number of Americans - those record 91.5 million who are no longer part of the labor force - are perfectly happy to benefit from the ever more generous hand outs of the welfare state. Prepare yourself before listening to this... calling on her self-admitted Obamaphone, Texas welfare recipient Lucy, 32, explains why "taxpayers are the fools"...
"...To all you workers out there preaching morality about those of us who live on welfare... can you really blame us? I get to sit around all day, visit my friends, smoke weed.. and we are still gonna get paid, on time every month..."
She intends to stay on welfare her entire life, if possible, just like her parents (and expects her kids to do the same). As we vociferously concluded previously, the tragedy of America's welfare state is that work is punished.
As reported yesterday, in the aftermath of the violent crackdown on a pro-Europe rally, and the resulting call by the opposition for president Yanukovich's resignation through nationwide strikes, the situation in the Ukraine is increasingly more unstable. Moments ago Reuters reported that Ukrainian nationalist protesters broke into Kiev's city hall and were occupying at least part of the building during mass protests that drew several hundred thousands out on the streets to protest the government's decision to forego an EU deal. Nationalist leader Oleh Tyahniboh told Interfax that representatives of his party had taken over the building. "Today literally 40 minutes ago, our boys took the Kiev Council," he told crowds on Kiev's Independence Square.
Taking a “short position” in either Japanese interest rates or their currency is a fundamentally sound idea; however it may take three to seven years for the “Macro-profits” to be fully realized. Over that time, a short position will demand a cost, either in the terms of the negative carry of a spot position or the time decay of a short-dated option. Additionally, since it is unlikely you will enter the trade at the extreme, there could be some mark-to-market vibrations that may breach your risk limits. To the rescue is the strange circumstance of a widening USD vs. JPY Rate differential in conjunction with a flattening Volatility Term Surface. Below is a table of mid-market values for Par Strike USD call // JPY put options with expiries from one-year to ten-years. The critical observation is that a five-year option costs more than a ten-year option; thus the weird dynamic of owning an option with (effectively) positive “theta”: You are paid to own an option !
After studying and teaching Keynesian economics for 30 years, it is clear that the “sophisticated” Keynesians really do believe in magic and fairy dust. Lots of fairy dust. Austrians such as Mises and Rothbard have well understood what Keynesians do not: the structures of production within an economy are heterogeneous and can be distorted by government intervention through inflation and massive borrowing. Far from being creatures that can “save” an economy, the Debt Fairy and the Inflation Fairy are the architects of economic disaster. Despite Keynesian protestations that the U.S. and European governments are engaged in “austerity,” the twin fairies are active on both continents. The fairy dust they are sprinkling on the economy, however, is more akin to sprinkling ricin on humans. In the end, the good fairies turn into witches.
Grant Williams "pulls no punches" in this all-encompassing presentation as the "Things That Make You Go Hmmm" author reflects on what is behind us and looks ahead at the ugly reality that we will face when "the impurities of QE are finally flushed from the system." Central bankers of today have "changed everything" he chides, "in ways that will ultimately end in disaster." Following extraordinarily easy monetary policies across all of the world's central banks, Williams explains why "we are now near the popping point of the 3rd major bubble of the last 15 years," each bigger than the last. The only way Janet Yellen avoids being at the helm when this ship goes down is to blow an even bigger bubble than Bernanke's government bond experiment, "which is highly unlikely." From how QE works, why many don't "feel" wealthy anymore, to the fact that "the geniuses that gave this thing life, don't have the guts to kill it," Williams warns, ominously, "the bills have come due on the blissful latst 30 years."
Many believe that government and its partner the Federal Reserve are wise and strong enough to avoid this crash. If printing money and spending money were a solution, there would be no poverty anywhere in the world. Even the poorest country has a government and can afford a printing press. Thus far there has been no collapse. However, that is equivalent to the man who jumps off the Empire State building and is heard to say as he flashes by the fortieth floor: “So far, so good.” His fate was sealed when he jumped. Similarly, so is our economy’s. Economics has its own gravity. A complete cleansing of the mal-investments, distorted incentives and regulatory burdens must occur before a true recovery can take place.
1974 Enders To Kissinger: "We Should Look Hard At Substantial Sales & Raid The Gold Market Once And For All"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/30/2013 15:57 -0400
Four years ago we exposed what appeared to be a 'smoking gun' of the Fed's willingness to manipulate the price of gold. Then Fed-chair Burns noted the equivalency of gold and money, and furthermore pointed out that if the Fed does not control this core relationship, it would "easily frustrate our efforts to control world liquidity." Through a "secret understanding in writing with the Bundesbank that Germany will not buy gold," the cloak-and-dagger CB negotiations were exposed as far back as 1975. Recently, we exposed Paul Volcker's fears of "PetroGold" and the importance of the US remaining "masters of gold." Today, via a transcript of then Secretary of State Kissinger's 1974 meeting we see how clearly they understood that demonetizing gold was a critical strategy to maintaining a dominant power position in the world, and "raiding the gold market once and for all."
Faith, hope, and confidence are the 3 key factors driving stocks at this point with fundamentals lagging an awkward 4th place. Faith in the perpetual central bank put (and bad news is thus good news); Hope that repeating the same 'experiment' following its previous failures will work this time; and confidence that the old normal is re-attainable (no matter how many times we kick the can). Year-to-date, S&P 500 earnings are up around 7% (and the trajectory is declining); accordingly, as we noted previously, confidence is ultimately responsible for levitating nominal stock prices through multiple expansion.. and is responsible for the rest of the market's gains. With confidence now fading (according to most surveys) investors will not be willing to pay increasing multiples unless they are confident that the future streams of earnings are sustainable and forecastable...
Ukraine President Explains Relations With Russia Using Body Language, While Local Violence EscalatesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/30/2013 12:00 -0400
A week ago Europe was furious, and Putin once again glorious, after Europe's "bread basket", the Ukraine, under president Yanukovich decided to terminate its pro-European stance, and instead in a very symbolic shift, chose Moscow as its future trading partner hub. "This is a disappointment not just for the EU but, we believe, for the people of Ukraine," EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement. Yanukovich said he had declined to sign the EU pact as the cost of upgrading the economy to meet EU standards was too great and that economic dialogue with Russia, Ukraine's former Soviet master, would be revived. Today, tensions in the Ukraine finally spilled over when following the break up of a pro-Europe protest by local police, the opposition announced it would call a countrywide general strike to force the resignation of president Viktor Yanukovich.
Mobs, Stampedes, Fights, Brawls, A Stabbing And Shooting: A Video Compilation Of Black Thursday 2013Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/29/2013 23:17 -0400
That greatest of all American traditions - the Black Friday Thursday stampede, this year accompanied with a stabbing and a shooting, is back. A quick review of all readers may have missed by not lining up in droves outside of stores that were selling products at just above cost instead of the usual massive pre-Thanksgiving markup. So what did it all look like? The answer: like this...