The question on everyone's lips: which asset class was responsible for Virtu's trading perfection for yet another year. It wasn't stocks because adding across the firm's America, EMEA and APAX equity product lines, Virtu revenues actually declined, from $201 million in 2013 to $195 million in 2014. It also wasn't commodities, where revenue dropped by almost $2 million in 2014 to $93.1 million.The answer is...
"Vacation-home sales account for one-fifth of all home sales and 'that should more or less rise over the next five to 10 year' as the income and number of vacation-home buyers increases," Moody's tells WSJ. That's good news because with America's "supervisory" wages on the rise and with Russian oligarchs dissatisfied with their domestic situation, a healthy market for "secondary" residences may prove critical.
There are times when not only truth is stranger than fiction, but also, when serendipity coincides with moments that are branded into the pages of history where they become the allegory of the times. Sometimes its hard to judge or pick just one. Reason being they’ll seemingly come one right after another instead of that just one, almost surreal, moment. There’s no better illustration of these than the dreaded “front page magazine cover” proclaiming not only that the good times are here; but rather, the far more important underlying premise: they’re here to stay and will only get better! All the while insinuating – to worry about anything is a fool’s errand. i.e., “everything is awesome!”
There’s no getting away from it. Banks create money out of nothing when they extend loans and then charge borrowers interest on this newly created capital. The result is an ongoing multi-billion pound/ dollar subsidy breaking the basic rules of capitalism. Galbraith was right. Governments should be more pragmatic. Politicians should stop hiding behind the skirts of ‘the market’ and make some judgement calls. As many have said, we need banking but we don’t need banks, at least not banks like this.
Today’s clueless Keynesian central bankers essentially believe that they can keep the pedal-to-the-metal until a 1970’s style inflationary spiral arises. But none is coming because the worldwide central bank money printing spree of the last two decades has generated massive excessive capacity and malinvestment all around the planet. What is coming, therefore, is not their father’s inflationary spiral, but an unprecedented and epochal global deflation. So the central banks just keep printing, thereby inflating the asset bubbles world-wide. What ultimately stops today’s new style central bank credit cycle, therefore, is bursting financial bubbles. That has already happened twice this century. A third proof of the case looks to be just around the corner.
Thank the Lord (Keynes) for economic hockey-sticks...
With the Fed supposedly steeling itself at last to remove a little of its emergency ‘accommodation’, it has suddenly become fashionable to warn of the awful parallels with 1937 as an excuse The Fed must not act today. We strongly refute the analogy. Instead, the real Ghost of ’37 takes the form of mean-spirited and, counter-productive 'pitchfork populism' politics and the spectre should not be conjured up to excuse the central bank from further delaying its overdue embarkation on the long road back to normality and policy minimalism.
“Calling our society a democracy is very misleading... We’re not a republic; we’re not a constitutional republic. We live in a state that’s dominated by these technocratic agencies.” Thiel says that organizations like the Federal Reserve have been allowed to roam too far, calling government agencies “deeply sclerotic and deeply nonfunctioning.”
"It is hard to be “reasonably confident” in the inflation outlook given current economic conditions, unless several inflation drivers rise at the same time. We therefore do not have much confidence in the inflation outlook and believe that the right policy would be to put hikes on hold for now."
- Goldman Sachs
At this point calling Japan a failed Keynesian banana republic is an insult to banana republics everywhere.
In recent weeks, there has been a lot of concern that an upcoming eight week military exercise on U.S. soil known as “Jade Helm” is actually a dress rehearsal for the imposition of martial law in this country. As our world becomes increasingly unstable, and as our society rapidly decays from within, many believe that it is only a matter of time before the executive branch will have sufficient excuse to use the extensive martial law powers that it has been accumulating since 9/11. When that day arrives, what will our nation look like? What would actually happen if martial law was declared in America?
This morning I had left the TV mistakenly tuned to CNBC with the sound on - and unavoidably caught another bullish strategist jawing about the US economy’s awesome strength. This one was peddling as exhibit #1 the recent surge in C&I loans, arguing that it is a sure sign that business is gearing up for a post-winter boom. In this case, like most of the blizzard of bullish factoids spewed out each day on bubble vision, the purported business lending boom is not all that.
Earlier today, there was some good news for Brazil's largest energy major Petrobras when as we reported earlier, none other than China through its CDB, agreed to lend $3.5 billion to the foundering energy giant. That was quickly offset by bad news later in the day when a massive fire broke out at a fuel tank storage facility in Brazil’s port of Santos, Latin America’s largest, forcing some eighty firefighters to battle a raging inferno which consumed facilities located next to Norway’s Stolt-Nielsen Ltd and Transpetro, a subsidiary of state-run oil company Petrobras.
Now we can see the real tragedy of negative interest rates: they not only have the perverse effect of reversing the flow of time, but they demonstrate that borrowers are not acting with the good faith incentives normally associated with someone who needs money. Rather than paying forward, borrowers are paying backwards because they are effectively trying to return something they don’t want. Such an arrangement renders it impossible for an economy to grow. By destroying the temporal and moral structure of money, negative interest rates destroy the economy. When tomorrow cannot be paid, the current regime must fail. The only question to be determined is the form that failure will assume. This may sound like philosophy but it is cold, hard reality.
With both channel stuffing and subprime out of the window if only for the time being, GM, whose China sales are falling off a cliff, had to come up with some urgent source of end demand. And thanks to recently disclosed data, we now know that "once a Government Motors, always a Government Motors", because just the first quarter of 2015, the average annual increase in sales to Uncle Sam, aka the Government was a whopping 24%, just about 100% higher than GM's headline rate of sales increase!