The past several weeks have seen the emergence of several innovative and user friendly websites related to Bitcoin specifically, and crypto-currencies generally. The site is CoinMap.org and it serves as a sort of Google Maps for Bitcoin. The site attempts to plot the various brick and mortar retail locations across the globe that accept BTC.
"Surely this can't go on forever", asks a pensive Lou Rukeyser on New Year's Ever 1999, to which a youthful Liz-Ann Sonders replies ever-exuberantly, "this is a magical environment for the stock market, for the year 2000, things look terrific." The other guests in this wonderfully brief moment of deja vu from the peak of the previous bubble are just as cock-a-hoop, "the danger signs are still a ways off," and none other than Laszlo Birinyi concludes, "the individual is flush with cash, and continues to be positive," confirming once again that the money-on-the-sidelines fallacy is just that.
"NSA's Mission Is Of Great Value To The Nation" - The Complete "Authorized" NSA Thanksgiving Dinner Talking PointsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/02/2013 20:00 -0400
It seems getting an 8 pm "escape" from friends and family this Thanksgiving to rush into the nearby World Wrestling Federation Walmart may have been a welcome reprieve for some. Those some in question being NSA agents, and just in case their friends and family got a little too pesky, boisterous or simply inquisitive, all the employees of the National Security Agency and the Central Security Services received a prepared memo with preauthorized talking points designed to "guide" conversations over the Thanksgiving dinner table. Plastered at the head of the 2-page propaganda is a Douglas Adams-like (or was that Isaac Asimov) in its simplicity bullet point: "(1) NSA's mission is of great value to the Nation." How was it that "defenders" of the fatherland during the Third Reich were being brainwashed again? But we digress.
Until early May of this year, trends in US macro fundamentals and US stock markets were 'relatively' well correlated. However, since the first stirrings of Taper concerns, the relationship has seemingly explicitly inverted. Day after day we see markets react to "good" or "bad" news but over time, as the following chart shows, the Fed's total farce has been exposed. Simply put, if the last 7 months of market-macro relationships hold (which makes sense in a world entirely driven by Fed liquidity), the Bulls should be praying for the economic fundamentals to collapse or things will get painful fast for stocks.
The Fed is absorbing over 0.3% of all Ten Year Equivalents, also known as "High Quality Collateral", from the private sector every week. The total number as per the most recent weekly update is now a whopping 33.18%, up from 32.85% the week before. Or, said otherwise, the Fed now owns a third of the entire US bond market.
Here's your Excuse Book, America. There's something for almost everyone. Luckily, there is still an infinite abundance of excuses, guilt-tripping, victimhood, rage against those with "more" (never mind what they sacrificed to build it) and denial of choice, consequence, risk and fact. Sadly, there are consequences to the pursuit of victimhood and the denial of will, choice, consequence, risk and fact, and they will be consequential indeed.
While nobody is impressed by breaking equity and options markets anymore, since this has become a virtually daily ocurrence and the habituation level is high, bond markets, and especially the US government's "guaranteed" bond issuance machinery, are a different matter altogether. Which is why any time something out of the ordinary happens, people pay attention. Such as what happened moments ago when the US Treasury announced that it would delay the closing of the 3 and 6 month Bill auctions, originally scheduled to close today, to tomorrow. The reason: "an error that occurred during a test of Treasury's auction system."
The implicit, and ever more explicit, institutional acceptance of the dominant cryptocurrency Bitcoin (we say dominant because as we pointed out last week, there has been an unprecedented spike of digital currencies one can pick and choose from) continues when following the surge in vendors willing to transact in BTC over Thanksgiving, the latest news comes from the birthplace of the modern central bank, the UK, where we learn that none other than the UK Royal Mint has been working on plans since this summer to issue physical Bitcoins in collaboration with the Channel Island of Alderney. But where the story gets downright surreal is that as the FT reports, the same symbolic Bitcoin token issued by the Royal Mint "would have a gold content – a figure of £500-worth has been proposed – so that holders could conceivably melt and sell the metal if the exchange value of the currency were to collapse." In brief: a perfect, and utterly incomprehensible, fusion of (opposing) hard, soft and digital currencies all rolled into one...
Overview of the week's economic and poltiical calendar in the context of the investment climate.
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.
Iran's Rouhani: "We Are Not Dismantling Our Nuclear Facilities; Iran Will Maintain Its Uranium Enrichment Programme"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/29/2013 17:27 -0400
In case there was any confusion just how "historic" last week's agreement with Iran, loudly trumpeted by the Obama administration as the most "historic" since Syria in a, well, long time, truly was in terms of curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions, here is the explanation straight from the horse's mouth i.e., Iran president Hassan Rouhani who spoke today in an interview with the FT. "Mr Rouhani struck a tough line on Iran’s expectations over a comprehensive nuclear deal to be negotiated following last weekend’s landmark interim pact. “One hundred per cent [no],” he said when asked about dismantling nuclear facilities." So ixnay on the ismantleday. What about halting Uranium enrichment - that other pillar of Obama (and Hollande's of course) historic agreement? "[Rouhani] made clear that Tehran was determined to maintain a uranium enrichment programme for peaceful purposes." In other words, Iran will continue doing what it said it did before, only this time it will get billions of implicit subsidies as various embargoes are lifted.
There was more irregular price action in trading yesterday between 1800 and 1830 GMT. Gold had trended slightly higher in the afternoon and was trading at $1,244/oz prior to a sharp but very brief spike to $1,254/oz and then sharp concentrated selling saw gold fall by more than $20 to $1,231/oz before bouncing higher and recovering to the $1,245/oz level again.
The trading was unusual as foreign exhange markets saw no price movements of note, nor did the silver, platinum and palladium markets.
When the US government said the sequester would cripple its ability to single-handedly rule over the world, it wasn't kidding. Either that, or Joe Biden's Joint Strategic Plan to "curb" copyright infringement was just a case of very confused humor by the vice president gone badly wrong, and he meant to "encourage." Whatever the reason, the fact that the Obama administration was just busted with a $50 million case of software piracy involving none other than the US Army, is indicative that while the Bureau of Labor Statistics was adopting all the best features of the Chinese Department of Truth, the US government was busy copycatting China's respectful approach toward intellectual property. Yet what is even worse, is that the software that was pirated managed the US army's troop and supply movements: in other words, the US government relied on pirated software to prepare for and engage in eventual war.
On November 7, when the ECB announced a "surprising" rate cut, 67 out of 70 economists who never saw it coming, were shocked. We were not. As we observed ten days prior, Europe had just seen the latest month of record low private sector loan growth in history. Or rather contraction. Back than we said that "one of our favorite series of posts describing the "Walking Dead" monetary zombie-infested continent that is Europe is the one showing the abysmal state Europe's credit creation machinery, operated by none other than the Bank of Italy's, Goldman's ECB's Mario Draghi, finds itself in." We concluded: "we now fully expect a very unclear Draghi, plagued by monetary zombie dreams, to do everything in his power, even though as SocGen notes, he really has no power in this case, to show he has not lost control and start with a rate cut in the November ECB meeting (eventually proceeding to a full-blown QE) in order to boost loan creation." Less than two weeks later he did just that. The problem, as the ECB reported today, is that not only did M3 decline once more, to 1.4% or the slowest pace in over 2 years and well below the ECB's 4.5% reference growth value, but more importantly lending to companies and households shrank 2.1% in October - the biggest drop on record! Draghi's monetary zombies are winning.