So much ado for nothing. Following nearly 2 weeks of artificial tension and fake selloffs that brought the S&P within a fraction of 2000 only for Yellen to "not be Dovish" enough and spoil the party, with the first red Jackson Hole close in 5 years, the Russian "humnatiarian" convoy which the objective media led everyone to believe was a Trojan horse just itching to launch a war in Ukraine, has left Ukraine after delivering its cargo.
If you’re a girl and you’re old and you’re grey and you’re the size of a hobbit, who’s going to get angry at you? If your predecessor had all the qualities anyone could look for in a garden gnome, and his predecessor was known mainly as a forward drooling incoherent oracle, how bad could it get? Think they select Fed heads them on purpose for how well they would fit into the Shire? Janet Yellen has a serious problem: the story no longer fits.
Americans must realize an important fact: There is no power over us but that which we give away. The original intent of our republic is that the people ARE the government — not a select few elitists handpicked by corporate bankers. Politicians are supposed to be our employees, not a ruling class that sits above the populace. The current growing conflict between the citizenry and the government is igniting exactly because our government does not represent the common man anymore. The government is not “by the people, for the people.” It is a separate entity, representing corrupt and hostile parties. It cannot be changed from within.
The stigma surrounding Ebola poses a serious obstacle to efforts to calibrate the outbreak in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria. As Reuters reports, the scale of the world's worst Ebola outbreak has been concealed by families hiding infected loved ones in their homes and the existence of "shadow zones" that medics cannot enter, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). "As Ebola has no cure, some believe infected loved ones will be more comfortable dying at home," the WHO statement said, concluding rather ominously, "frankly, no one knows when this outbreak of Ebola will end."
Libertarians tend to agree with each other on most things. We all favor less government regulation, lower taxes, less involvement in international conflicts, and more personal freedom. There are a few areas, however, in which the movement remains sharply divided. One of these areas involves the nature of money. The two schools of thought are essentially the “gold standard” crowd versus the “competing currencies” crowd.
White House Accuses Russia Of Painting Military Vehicles White; Merkel Agrees "Actions Represent Dangerous Escalation"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/22/2014 19:53 -0400
With no Instagram #selfie image or YouTube clip as proof (yet), The White House issued a statement proclaiming that today, in violation of its previous commitments and international law, Russian military vehicles painted to look like civilian trucks forced their way into Ukraine... and that Russia has no right to send vehicles, persons, or cargo of any kind into Ukraine, whether under the guise of humanitarian convoys or any other pretext, without the express permission of the government of Ukraine. Furthermore, the actions "only amplifies international concerns about Russia’s true intentions...for which it will bear additional consequences." If that sternly-worded email was not enough, President Obam took time away from the course on Martha's Vineyard to chat with Angela Merkel and then issued a joint statement somewhat sheepishly noting that this is "further provocation" and represents a "dangerous escalation."
It is clearly not in the interests of the long-standing members of the EU to escalate a 'sanctions and financial conflict' with Russia. This is why politicians are walking on eggshells, paying lip-service to America and the scared Eastern fringe members of NATO while hoping this goes no further. So long as this is the case it is clear that NATO members are powerless to stop Russia from wresting control of all or parts of Ukraine from the government in Kiev. Putin knows this; unfortunately it is not clear to us that the American government does. All in all it seems likely that after a period of slow-burn as Putin dictates the pace of developments, the political situation in Ukraine will deteriorate with some unhelpful nudges from Russia.
Crude Oil and gasoline prices have been sliding notably recently, but, as Carl Larry, president of Oil Outlooks & Opinions LLC in Houston notes, "the focus is definitely on the U.S. and on concern about demand as we head into the maintenance season." While Brent remains more concerned about Russia and Ukraine, WTI is "focused on supply, demand fundamentals," which with production surging, leaves "everybody wondering if demand will stay steady. People are reducing risk exposure now." What we wonder is - does that explain why the US Oil Rig Count dropped this week by its most since 2012...?
Jackson Hole - that magical place where the world's greatest monetary central planners gather once a year to yarn long into the night about how they are printing money, crushing the middle-class, monetizing debt, and ramping asset prices; all in the name of economic progress and saving the world from the c-word... "counterfactual" that is. The last few years, Jackson Hole has also been a guaranteed Buy-The-Rumor and Buy-The-News moment for the smartest traders in the world... except this time something just changed. Did the Fed's magic just run out?
It appears China is as happy as Russia to show just how little respect it has for the US' superpower 'hegemony' status. In May China flew close to Japan's airforce; in June, Russia flew nose-to-nose with the US; and now The Pentagon reports a Chinese fighter plane came within 30 feet of a US Navy Poseidon 8 plane. The 'Top-Gun' move came after several passes across the nose of the P-8 about 220km east of China's Hainan Island. The US has registered "strong concerns" with the Chinese government about "unsafe and unprofessional" conduct and The White House called the incident a "provocative action."
As a reminder, this kind of market action is neither normal or healthy longer term and has only seen near historical major market peaks. Of course, timing is everything. With the current influx of liquidity coming to an end in October, combined with a plan to start to increasing interest rates in 2015, the Fed has clearly begun to signal the end of 5 years of ultra-accommodative policies. The question that remains to be answered is whether or not the economy is actually strong enough to be removed from "life support?" This weekend's "Things To Ponder" is just a smattering of interesting articles cover a wide range of topics that I hope you will find interesting, informative and contemplative.
US equity markets were led by the stodgy old low-beta Dow this week - not the high-flying muppetry of the Russell or Nasdaq - as stocks enjoyed the best week in 4 months amidst escalation of geopolitical time-bombs in Israel, Iraq, and Ukraine. Dow and Trannies gained 2% by the close as today's disappointment in Yellen and Draghi took the exuberant shine off an otherwise bottom-left-to-top-right Birinyi ruler-based market. The USDollar gained 1.1% on the week - its best week since November - closing at one-year highs. Gold was slapped almost 2% lower (worst week in almost 3 months) as did WTI (back at $1280 and $93.50 respectively). Copper surged 3.2% on the week (2nd best week in a year) on China restocking chatter. Treasuries were a mixed bag with dramatic flattening on the week (30Y +2bps, 5Y +12bps) to 2009 flat. Credit markets cratered on the day - ignoring equity's relative shrug.
Pentagon Demands Russia Remove Convoy "Immediately" As NYT Reports Russians Firing Artillery In UkraineSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/22/2014 15:32 -0400
UPDATE: Official Russian denial - no YouTube - *CHURKIN: NO PROOF OF RUSSIAN ARTILLERY IN UKRAINE
The Russian military has moved artillery units manned by Russian personnel inside Ukrainian territory in recent days and is using them to fire at Ukrainian forces, New York Times reported, citing NATO officials. The Russian move, NYTimes reports, represents a significant escalation of the Kremlin’s involvement in the fighting there and comes as a convoy of Russian trucks with humanitarian provisions has crossed into Ukrainian territory without Kiev’s permission. The US is now getting involved, as WSJ reports,
- Pentagon calls on Russia to 'Remove Vehicles Immediately' From Ukraine
- Kirby says "very concerned" by Russian convoy in Ukraine.
Ukrainian Security Service chief Valentyn Nalyvaichenko said the move amounted to a "direct invasion," and The Pentagon has warned "failure to [remove its vehicles] will result in further costs and isolation."
With Lake Mead water levels at record lows, the obstinate drought in California is showing no signs of letting up, and is now being compared to the last major drought which took place during 1976 and 1977. However, the current drought may get much trickier if we don’t see a sharp reversal in rainfall patterns soon, as 'there is a conflict brewing...'