In the world these days the markets often believe the rhetoric. This would be political rhetoric, corporate rhetoric or the prayers and hopes of the talking heads. This is especially true in the equity markets. Critical advice in this environment is, "forget what they tell you; just look at the numbers." So what is the Fed doing? As of July 31, 2013 they have parked $1,157 billion in foreign banks as compared with $1,112 billion in U.S. banks. To us this is a telling sign. The European banks are in trouble and the Fed is propping them up. One of the consequences of tapering, when it comes, may well be less available cash for this task and then the cracks in the European banks may well blow into gaping holes... "There is the plain fool, who does the wrong thing at all times everywhere, but there is the Wall Street fool, who thinks he must trade all the time."
US Judge Says Bloomberg's "Stop-And-Frisk" Policy Is Unconstitutional, Accuses "Highest Officials" Of DiscriminationSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/12/2013 09:45 -0400
In a shocking twist for the New Normal, a US judge has actually upheld the constitution...
Whether or not BitCoin actually wants to be regarded as an accepted currency, and thus subject to US government regulation, remains to be seen. However, one thing is certain: a currency is not a currency, until it gets its own Bloomberg ticker. Just recall the confusion that followed the appearance of XGD, or the GREEK DRACHMA (POST EURO), BBG currency ticker in June 2012 caused a panic tsunami across Europe when everyone started asking what does Bloomberg know that nobody else does.
Enter XBT Curncy <GO>
Bloomberg's Jon Weil, who has compiled the following stunning array of lies regarding the DOJ's enforcement activity disclosed by none other than its head, Eric Holder, is far too kind when he says that the "fast and furious" Holder owes the American people an apology. What we really owes is at least a resignation (and frankly much more, but it is too early on Monday to become too politically incorrect). And considering that the DOJ in its now former employee Lanny Brauer's words refused to prosecute those banks which were deemed "too big to prosecute", the lying here has now became a meta phenomenon, as the DOJ is effectively caught lying about lying. How many more meta levels of higher up fraud "inception" can Holder take this, before the American people finally demand his head, metaphorically-speaking of course? Sadly, judging by the response to unprecedented scandals coming out of this administration so far, the answer is... more.
Earlier today, we reported that "Assistant Attorney General Admits On TV That In The US Justice Does Not Apply To The Banks" when we commented on last night's PBS special "The Untouchables." Explicitly, we said that it was "Lenny Breuer who made it very clear that when it comes to the concept of justice the banks are and always have been "more equal" than others. He does so in such shocking clarity and enthusiasm that it is a miracle that this person is still employed by the US Department of Justice." As of minutes ago that is no longer the case as his employment contract has been torn up. The WaPo reports, that Lanny A. Breuer is leaving the Justice Department "after leading the agency’s efforts to clamp down on public corruption and financial fraud at the nation’s largest banks, according to several people familiar with the matter....It is not clear when Breuer intends to leave, nor what he plans to do once he departs, but it is certain that the prosecutor’s days in office are winding down, according to people who were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter."
Another 2 Year Old Zero Hedge Story Goes Mainstream, And A Glimpse Inside The BLS' "Frontrunning" Data RoomSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/12/2013 08:16 -0400
Those who did not read Zero Hedge in March 2011 will be shocked, shocked to learn that yet another "news" service, one owned by Deutsche Börse, was merely disguising as an HFT-facilitating, instanews disseminating, speed roadblock removing provider, who just happened to charge $375,000 per year for its frontrunning services. The firm in question, as the WSJ reports today, was "founded by an investment firm and now owned by the Deutsche Börse stock exchange, Need To Know News has operated with an overriding mission: sending data directly from the government through high-speed lines to financial firms that are able to trade on it instantly. Some have paid $375,000 a year for the service." Of course, those who did read Zero Hedge in March 2011 will already know all about Deutsche Boerse's "news dissemination" strategy which was covered here first with "Alpha Flash: For All Your Nanosecond, Collocated, Algorithmic Frontrunning Needs" in which we tongue-in-cheekly asked "Ever feel like your nanosecond algorithmic frontrunning skills are becoming obsolete? Unable to scalp even a few extra pennies from illiterate orphans, widows and kittens armed with REDIPlus 9.0? Despair not, for Deutsche Boerse [and Need to Know News LLC] has Alpha Flash just for you."
- Solyndra Cola: California aims to 'bottle sunlight' in energy storage push (Reuters)
- Ackman may sues himself after all - Penney Board Assails Director William Ackman, Considered 'Rogue' After Releasing Deliberations (WSJ)
- CFTC subpoenas metals warehousing firm as inquiry heats up (Reuters)
- Obama Plan to Revamp NSA Faces Obstacles (WSJ)
- Japan growth slows in second quarter, adds to sales tax uncertainty (Reuters)
- China Urbanization to Hit Roadblocks Amid Local Opposition (BBG)
- Parents Losing Jobs a Hidden Cost to U.S. Head Start Budget Cuts (BBG)
- US seeks better access to Africa as part of trade pact review (FT)
- Singapore Cuts Trade Outlook as China Slowdown Caps Recovery (BBG)
- White House Sifts Fiscal Ideas With Band of Senators (WSJ)
- Spain may ask United Nations for support over Gibraltar (Reuters)
- Michigan Safety Net for Boomers Frays on Bankrupt Detroit (BBG)
The middle of the month brings a mixture of second-tier macro numbers punctuated by the market-moving (and Taper-cementing) retail sales report. We get IP, CPI and PPI from the US this coming week. In terms of hard activity numbers, US retail sales on Tuesday will be the highlight which as a reminder is, in addition to Jackson Hole, seen as one of two key pre-Taper catalysts to keep an eye on. Outside the US, the key data will be the quarterly publication of German, French and Eurozone GDP, as well as Japanese GDP, which has already been released (weaker real growth, higher inflation). The second week of the month also tends to show the first survey results with the Phily Fed and Empire surveys on Thursday. In Germany the ZEW will come on Tuesday. Finally, from an FX point of view, we will be focused on balance of payments related data, with the trade balance in India and TIC data in the US. After a few very weak TIC releases in recent months we would expect more evidence of weak capital inflows into the US.
Despite an overnight surge in the Chinese markets, with the Shanghai Composite closing up 2.4% following reports that China will not only continue with its "liquidity tightening" operation by, paradoxically, cutting RRR for smaller banks, but launch a stimulus for several Chinese provinces and city governments "on the quiet" in the form of jumbo-sized bank loans, and GDP news in Japan that were so bad they were almost good (although not bad enough to close the Nikkei in the green) US futures continue to take on water following the second worst week of 2013 as the market now appears resigned to a Taper announcement in just over 5 weeks (as we have claimed since May). News in Europe continues to be bipolar, with the big picture confirming that only dark skies lie ahead following yesterday's news that a new Greek bailout is just around the corner, or rather just after the Merkel reelection (even though Kotthaus perpetuated the lies and said a second cut in Greek debt is not on the agenda - although maybe he is not lying: maybe only Greek deposits will be cut this time), offset by on the margin improvements in the economic headlines, even as credit creation remains not only non-existent but as the FT reports (one year after Zero Hedge), some €3.2 trillion in financial deleveraging is still on deck meaning an unprecedented contraction in all credit-driven aggregates (one of which of course is GDP).
Just over a week ago, the probability of a September 'Taper' were a mere 14% with the majority of the 'smart' money betting on a 'December 2013 at the earliest' start to the Fed's removal of the punchbowl. September 2013 is now the front-runner at a 36% probability, based on PaddyPower's latest odds. September has surgede from a 7/1 outsider to a 7/4 favorite in that brief time (and October also improved from 11/1 to 7/1). It seems that JPY-carry is well aware of this shift (having surged over 4% in the same period). Between Merkel's election and the FOMC, the 3rd week of September (which just happens to perfectly correspond to an option expiration) looks set for some fireworks one way or another.
There goes the tax hike (and any expectation of fiscal balance). Japanese GDP grew at a miserly 0.6% QoQ, missing expectations of +0.9% (the biggest miss in a year) and slowing from an already revised lower 0.9% growth in Q1. So much for Abenomics breathing life back into a balance-sheet-recessed nation. Typically this kind of miss would be met with cheers as bad is good but in the case of Japan where they are so far down the rabbit hole, there is no moar left. The already collapsing JPY-carry trade is unwinding in a hurry as JPY surges to a 95 handle on the news; the USD is dropping, Nikkei futures are down 200 points, S&P futures are down a few handles, and gold is holding notable gains.
The best returning asset class traded in the NY Metro area is yellow but doesn't change hands on Wall Street. As ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes, over the last 12 months New York City taxi medallions have risen 49% in price, besting the relatively humdrum returns of the S&P 500 (up 21%), the NASDAQ (22%) and the Dow (18%). Medallions – essentially the right to operate a for-hail taxi in New York City – now trade for as much as $1.3 million, an all-time record. Part of this dynamic is fixed supply – there are just 13,336 medallions available for a city of 8.3 million people. There is also a macroeconomic point, with a stronger NYC economy for those inhabitants who can afford the service. The more surprising observation, however, is that new technology in the form of in-car credit card machines and more recently smartphone hailing apps both materially increase the value of owning a medallion. In a world where every technology is deemed “Disruptive”, here’s a case where the status quo has actually reaped much of the reward.
Should we broadcast a message to the rest of the world that anyone that can find a way to enter this country and somehow get to a “sanctuary city” can sign up for a plethora of welfare benefits and live a life of leisure at the expense of hard working American citizens? Yes, this question sounds absurd, but what we have just described will essentially be official U.S. government policy if the immigration bill going through Congress becomes law. Sadly, in politically correct America you can’t even talk about the problem of illegal immigration these days without being labeled as a “racist”. Our immigration system is completely broken, but these days we cannot even have a rational debate about these issues. In politically correct America, illegal immigrants have become a “favored class” of people that you are never supposed to say anything bad about. The following are 19 very disturbing facts about illegal immigration that every American should know...
With record-breaking gridlock a reality, it is not a great time to be a member of Congress if you like getting things done. Nor is it a great time to be in Congress if you like people thinking you’re doing a good job. In a recent Gallup poll, Americans gave the current Congress the lowest confidence rating ever measured for any institution in 40 years. But what does having “confidence” in Congress mean? How does confidence affect our legislature’s ability to implement new laws? In the Infographic below we walk through why Congress has such a low approval rating, how that affects legislators who want to pass bills, and how the leaders of the Senate and Congress compare.