Merrill

Merrill

Frontrunning: January 9

  • Carney Guidance Threshold Strained as BOE Holds Policy (BBG)
  • Does one laugh or cry: China Tells Banks to Improve Disclosures in Shadow-Lending Fight (BBG)
  • Big Business Doubles Down on GOP Civil War With Tea Party (BBG)
  • CIA sued for records on possible role in Nelson Mandela arrest (RT)
  • Bridge Scandal Destroys Christie's 'Nice Jerk' Image (BBG)
  • Borrowers Hit Social-Media Hurdles (WSJ)
  • U.S. Leverage in Iraq Tested As Fears of Civil War Mount (WSJ)
  • Austerity drive cuts into Chinese inflation (FT)
  • Dish Pulling Its Bid for LightSquared (WSJ)
  • BlackRock agrees to end analyst surveys (Reuters)
  • Germany defends economic policies after US criticism (FT)
  • Bank of Korea Holds Rate Even as Yen Clouds Export Outlook (BBG)

23 Reasons To Be Bullish On Gold

It's been one of the worst years for gold in a generation. A flood of outflows from gold ETFs, endless tax increases on gold imports in India, and the mirage (albeit a convincing one in the eyes of many) of a supposedly improving economy in the US have all contributed to the constant hammering gold took in 2013. Perhaps worse has been the onslaught of negative press our favorite metal has suffered. It's felt overwhelming at times and has pushed even some die-hard goldbugs to question their beliefs... not a bad thing, by the way. To us, a lot of it felt like piling on, especially as the negative rhetoric ratcheted up. This is why it's important to balance the one-sided message typically heard in the mainstream media with other views. Here are some of those contrarian voices, all of which have put their money where their mouth is...

Frontrunning: January 8

  • Here comes JPM's next multibillion legal reserve: Federal Probe Targets Banks Over Bonds (WSJ)
  • Mulally Bows Out of Microsoft CEO Race, Staying at Ford (BBG)
  • United States sending more troops and tanks to South Korea (Reuters)
  • Eurozone unemployment sticks at record high (FT)
  • China-Japan 'Voldemort' attacks up ante in propaganda war (Reuters)
  • Alternative Lenders Peddle Pricey Commercial Loans (WSJ)
  • John McAfee: glad Intel dropping name from security software (Reuters)
  • Jobless Benefits Bill Stays Alive Amid Talks on Offsets (BBG)
  • Chicago Colder Than South Pole as Frigid Air Clamps Down (BBG)
  • Former Miss Venezuela shot dead in attempted robbery (Reuters)

Frontrunning: January 7

  • Yellen’s Record-Low Senate Support Reflects Fed’s Politicization (BBG)
  • Euro-Zone Inflation Rate Falls in December, even further below ECB's target (WSJ)
  • Zambia politician charged for calling president a potato (AFP)
  • Blame gold: India Savings Deposit Scam Collapse Leaves Thousands Penniless (BBG)
  • Hedge Funds Raise Gold Wagers as Yamada Sees $1,000 (BBG)
  • George Osborne limits cuts options with pensions promise (FT)
  • Vietnam Raises Foreign Bank Ownership Caps to Aid System (BBG)
  • But they said buy a year ago... Goldman to JPMorgan Say Sell Emerging Markets After Slide (BBG)
  • SAC Trial Seen by Probe Convict as Latest Abusive Tactic (BBG)

Forbes Reveals Its "Top 30 Under 30" In Finance

With Trader Monthly magazine having, ironically, gone out business long ago, all those traders whose egos demanded that their insider trading connections put them at least in one of the iconic "Top X under X" league tables, pardon, rankings, had to bide their time in expectation of one day when their prowess to frontrun others or move markets with repeated calls to 555-7617 (with or without references to Anacott Steel) would be appreciated by such sterling Wall Street "experts" as Anthony Scaramucci. Well, for this year's crop of some 30 traders under 30, the day has arrived. And while Forbes may not be Trader Monthly, the amusement, the hubris and the behind the scenes dealing to appear in such a list, sure are still the same...

Frontrunning: January 6

  •  'Life-threatening' cold bites Midwest, heads east (Reuters)
  • Gold Analysts Get Most Bullish in a Year After Rout (BBG)
  • Asian Stocks Fall Most in Three Weeks on China Services (BBG)
  • Angela Merkel in skiing accident, cancels visits (Reuters)
  • High-Speed Traders Form Trade Group to Press Case (WSJ)
  • Toyota and Honda post record China sales (FT)
  • China Shadow Banking Risks Exposed by Local Debt Audit (BBG)
  • J.P. Morgan to Pay Over $2 Billion to U.S. in Penalties in Madoff Case (WSJ)
  • Corruption trial of Trenton, N.J., mayor starts Monday (Reuters)
  • Car Makers at Consumer Electronics Show Tout Ways to Plug Autos Into the Web (WSJ)

Wall Street's Latest Investment: Ex-Convicts

Either the Volcker Rule is making Wall Street's menu of investment choices so unbearably limited, or traditional assets are so overpriced Wall Street won't even touch them with other people's money, but when it comes to allocating capital the smartest conmen in the room are coming up with some truly unorthodox products. Such as investing in ex-convicts in the form of 2000 newly released prisoners.

On The 100th Anniversary Of The Federal Reserve Here Are 100 Reasons To Shut It Down Forever

December 23rd, 1913 is a date which will live in infamy.  That was the day when the Federal Reserve Act was pushed through Congress.  Many members of Congress were absent that day, and the general public was distracted with holiday preparations.  Now we have reached the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve, and most Americans still don't know what it actually is or how it functions.  But understanding the Federal Reserve is absolutely critical, because the Fed is at the very heart of our economic problems. Since the Federal Reserve was created, there have been 18 recessions or depressions, the value of the U.S. dollar has declined by 98 percent, and the U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger.  This insidious debt-based financial system has literally made debt slaves out of all of us, and it is systematically destroying the bright future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have. The truth is that we do not have to have a Federal Reserve.  The greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history was when we did not have a central bank.  If we are ever going to turn this nation around economically, we are going to have to get rid of this debt-based financial system that is centered around the Federal Reserve.  On the path that we are on now, there is no hope.

Frontrunning: December 23

  • Apple, China Mobile sign long-awaited deal to sell iPhones (Reuters)
  • U.S. growth hopes help shares shrug off China money market jitters (Reuters)
  • Rule Change on Health Insurance Rattles Industry (WSJ), Obamacare's signup deadline on Monday has its exceptions (Reuters)
  • Tale of Two Polish Mines Shows Biggest EU Producer’s Woes (BBG)
  • Probes See U.K. Market Manipulation Reports Rise 43% (BBG)
  • Shoppers Grab Sweeter Deals in Last-Minute Holiday Dash (BBG)
  • Banks Mostly Avoid Providing Bitcoin Services (WSJ)
  • Secret Handshakes Greet Frat Brothers on Wall Street (BBG)

Frontrunning: December 18

  • MOAR: BOJ Said to See Significant Room for More Bond Purchases (BBG)
  • Meltdown Averted, Bernanke Struggled to Stoke Growth (Hilsenrath)
  • New Mortgages to Get Pricier Next Year (WSJ)
  • Republicans to Seek Concessions From Obama on Debt Limit (BBG)
  • Hunting for U.S. arms technology, China enlists a legion of amateurs (Reuters)
  • Jury Begins Deliberating in Case of SAC Portfolio Manager (WSJ)
  • BP to Write Off $1 Billion on Failed Well (WSJ)
  • Rajan Unexpectedly Keeps India Rates Unchanged to Support Growth (BBG)
  • Thai protesters say they will rally to hound PM from office (Reuters)
  • SEC Brings Fewer Enforcement Actions, Slows Early-Stage Probes (WSJ)

Frontrunning: December 17

  • Fed’s $4 Trillion Assets Draw Lawmaker Ire Amid Bubble Concern (BBG)
  • Ex-Goldmanite Fab Tourre fined more than $1 million (WSJ)
  • EU Banks Shrink Assets by $1.1 Trillion as Capital Ratios Rise (BBG)
  • Japan to bolster military, boost Asia ties to counter China (Reuters)
  • China condemns Abe for criticizing air defense zone (Reuters)
  • Insider-Trading Case May Hinge on Phone Call (WSJ)
  • Republicans Gird for Debt-Ceiling Fight (WSJ)
  • Mario Draghi pushes bank union deal (FT)
  • German Coalition Plans More Pension Money (WSJ)
  • Oil Supply Surge Brings Calls to Ease U.S. Export Ban (BBG)

Frontrunning: December 16

  • Tough Question for Fed: Time to Act? (Hilsenrath )
  • Merkel Begins Third Term Strengthened by SPD Partner Backing (BBG)
  • Wary of Roma, Europe cold-shoulders its new eastern workmates (Reuters)
  • New Medicines Emerge, but Few Blockbusters (WSJ)
  • SIP in the crosshairs: U.S. Exchanges Near Deal for Infrastructure Upgrade (WSJ)
  • Secret Inside BofA Office of CEO Stymied Needy Homeowners (BBG)
  • AIG Said to Near Sale of Plane Unit to AerCap (BBG)
  • Inside the Saudi 9/11 coverup (NYPost)
  • Russian Bank Chief Weighs Firings as Costs Absorb Revenue (BBG)
  • Video Boom Forces Verizon to Upgrade Network (WSJ)
  • Chinese Manufacturing Slows (AP)

5 Things To Ponder This Weekend - The Risk Edition

"Twas the Friday before the Friday before Christmas..." and as the year end rapidly approaches the mainstream consensus is that 2014 will be another bouyant year for the stock market despite the impact of a potential Federal Reserve tapering.  The optimistic view is an easy one.  While it isn't popular, or fun, to look at the non-bullish view it is nonetheless important to consider the risks that could potentially lead to a larger than expected loss of investment capital.  There is one simple truth about financial markets and investing:  what goes up must come down.   It is the downside risk that is most damaging to long term investment returns.  Therefore, this week's "Things To Ponder" is a sampling of views and thoughts on what to watch out for as we enter the new year.