The Whole World Has Gone Into Debt
People apparently don't eat pizza when it is snowing... Or during an economic recovery... And certainly not when celebrating the market's all time high 5 year bull "market" anniversary. That is the conclusion one can derive from the just filed Sbarro Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, which just happens to be the company's second in three years after it did the same in April 2011. The filing itself, which lists assets and liabilities between $100 and $500 million, is not surprising following on the heels of the announcement last month, when Sbarro said it would close 155 of 400 North American restaurants to cut costs. The reason for the Chapter 22 as it is known in restructuring circles: too much debt (so... debt isn't wealth?) and declining customer traffic, which like in the McDonalds' case has nothing to do with a cash strapped US consumer, but the nagging fear, which came true in January, that it would snow during the winter. Oh, and there is also no inflation, even though as Moody's warned in January, Sbarros was striggling with "high food, labor and occupancy costs."
That Ukraine "drill" may be coming at just the right time. Just out from Reuters:
- RUSSIAN TROOPS OPENED FIRE DURING TAKEOVER OF UKRAINIAN MILITARY POST IN CRIMEA, NO ONE WOUNDED -INTERFAX QUOTES UKRAINIAN BASE COMMANDER
And at the same time:
- RUSSIA'S PUTIN SAYS TOLD FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV TO INVITE U.S. COUNTERPART KERRY FOR MORE CONSULTATIONS ON UKRAINE
- RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV SAYS HAD INVITED KERRY TO RUSSIA TODAY, BUT KERRY SAID ON SATURDAY HE WOULD LIKE TO POSTPONE VISIT
No de-escalation yet. Any minute now though. The market said so.
I clearly have a very hard time reconciling a U.S. stock market making new all-time-highs almost daily, especially in the face of what most economists consider to be a weak domestic economy with negligible growth prospects. Moreover, when you layover the thoroughly stalled and certainly weaker overall global economic picture, it’s even harder to rationalize. Finally, throw into the mix the gravity of threatening geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and Russia, the two nations with the largest stockpiles of tactical nuclear weapons on earth, and the market actually welcomes it. Something majorly does not add up, well, to this Idiot anyways.
When one studies history, all events seem to revolve around the applications and degenerations of war. Great feats of human understanding, realization and enlightenment barely register in the mental footnotes of the average person. War is what we remember, idealize and aggrandize, which is why war is the tool most often exploited by oligarchy to distract the masses while it centralizes power. With the exception of a few revolutions, most wars are instigated and controlled by financial elites, manipulating governments on both sides of the game to produce a preconceived result. Every major international crisis for the past century or more has ended with an even greater consolidation of world power into the hands of the few, and this is no accident.
A near-term outlook for the dollar against the major foreign currencies.
We have long been pounding the table (certainly since mid-2012) that the US labor market has become a place where mostly older workers - those 55 and over - are hirable - something which has nothing to do with demographics, and everything to do with excess worker slack, and an employer's market to pick and chose those workers that are most qualified for a job since older workers have the same wage leverage as younger ones: none. February was merely the latest confirmation of just this.
Newsweek claims to have identified the mysterious creator of Bitcoin. Satoshi Nakamoto - long believed to be a pseudonym - was hunted down through searches, conversations, and national archives: "It was only while scouring a database that contained the registration cards of naturalized U.S. citizens that a Satoshi Nakamoto turned up whose profile and background offered a potential match. But it was not until after ordering his records from the National Archives and conducting many more interviews that a cohesive picture began to take shape."
Some remain skeptical that Newsweek have found him but making such a bold claim is aggressive and comments from Bitcoin lead developer Gavin Anderson suggest this is the real Satoshi.
The last time a leaked phone call out of Ukraine was released about a month ago ostensibly by the Russian NSA equivalent, one between US assistant sec state Victoria Nuland and the US envoy to the Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, it was revealed that the real puppet masters behind the Maidan movement, and the true instigators of the Ukraine "revolution" were none other than the "developed" world superpowers, lead by the US. Also revealed were tensions between the US and EU strategies on how to overthrow the current government, culminating with the infamous "Fuck the EU." Needless to say the US, which implicitly confirmed the recording, was angry at Russia and accused it of using dirty tricks. That's ironic, because when it comes to "dirty tricks" what is about to be presented, blows the top off anything Russia may or has done to date.
Premier Li Keqiang delivered his first government work report at the opening of the National People’s Congress (NPC) meeting last night. The new government promises to speed up reform, manage debt risks, fight pollution, and yet maintain 7.5% economic growth all at the same time but as SocGen'sWei Yao warns, this is going to be nothing if not challenging. Maybe mindful of a potential miss, Yao points out that policymakers seem to give themselves a small degree of flexibility by using new phrases like “a reasonable range for the growth rate” and “the growth target is
flexible”. Mission intractible or mission impossible?
"Hello there citizen! I hope you are enjoying your day. I also hope you are enjoying your freedom from oppression that our kind, benevolent government provides. As a former lead bureaucrat in the Obama Administration, let me assure you, Washington is working around the clock to protect you and add fulfillment to your life..."
We view our recent ancestors as backwards and uninformed, cavemen for all practical purposes, yet we never seriously consider that we are just as uninformed and will be considered so by the future ‘us’.
Just six brief days after we discussed the somewhat stunning fact that none other than Fabrice "Fabulous Fab" Tourre was set to each an economics course at the University of Chicago, it appears the prestigious school has had second thoughts. As WSJ reports, a university spokesman explained, "as preparations continue for the Spring Quarter, Fabrice Tourre will no longer be assigned as an instructor for Honors Elements of Economic Analysis," decling to comment on the specifics of the sudden change. We are sure there is an 'ethics' course that needs a TA.
Earlier today we were surprised when none other than uber central-planning skeptic, not to mention bond fund manager, Bill Gross threw in the towel and in his latest letter advocated the purchase of risk assets - and Bill Gross is the last person needing reminding that in a day and age when the 10 Year yields just barely over 2.5%, this means not bonds but stocks. The surprise, however, promptly disappeared when we realized that PIMCO is merely the latest entrant in the scramble for yield game following, with a substantial delay to all of its other "alternative" asset management peers, right into ground zero: European toxic debt.
Volume is around 35% below yesterday's pro-rata but none of that matters. The S&P 500 is at record highs but it is the "most shorted" and most notably the Russell 2000 that is just exploding higher with a massive gap. Up over 3% on the day, smashing to new record highs, this is the best day in over 26 months. This is the biggest rise in stocks since October 2011 (when global central banks came to a co-ordinated rescue). Bear in mind that the Fed already noted small-cap multiples were over-extended (5% below here)... but BTFATH anyway.