Do our childish minds really think those whom we blindly empower will scurry away like cockroaches exposed by the refrigerator light and leave us be after the fall? Really? Are we serious?
There is a much larger structural risk for markets and investors than HFT and the whole Flash Boys brouhaha, it’s just totally under the radar and hasn’t surfaced yet. Investors may not know better yet, but they will soon, one way or another. Tomorrow a handful of governments will influence aggregate political behaviors by triggering small communications that Big Data tells them will be voluntarily magnified by individual citizens, snowballing into outsized, long-lasting, and untraceable “popular” actions. Tomorrow a handful of hedge funds will influence aggregate market behaviors by triggering small trades that Big Data tells them will be voluntarily magnified by individual traders, snowballing into outsized, long-lasting, and untraceable “market” actions. Tomorrow Big Data will be primarily an instrument of social control, with a powerful and ubiquitous impact on all citizens and all investors.
There is no mystery anywhere to be found in the fact that US retail sales don’t follow the jobs trend. Not if you look at what kind of jobs they are, let alone at all the other made up and manipulated numbers that are being thrown around about the US economy. The only mystery is why everyone persists in talking about a recovery. That recovery will never come, simply because all 90% of Americans do is pay for the other 10% to get richer. There are many other factors, but that all by itself makes a recovery a mathematical mirage.
It may come as a surprise to some that across from the stark Greek economic calamity is an industry that has swam, so to say, while everything else has sunk, because while virtually every other aspect of the Greek economy is in shambles, its shipping industry is not only the pride of the nation, but has created more Greek billionaires than any other aspect of the economy. As Bloomberg recounts, Greeks have long dominated the shipping business. The nation’s fleet, numbering 3,669 vessels in 2013, is the largest in the world, according to the annual report of the Union of Greek Shipowners, making up more than 7 percent of the Greek economy and providing 192,000 jobs in 2013. And, perhaps most relevant, Greek shipping has also made billionaires of the country’s four largest ship owners by tonnage: John Angelicoussis, George Prokopiou, Peter Livanos and George Economou. The quartet control a combined fortune of $7.6 billion. It is these billionaires that are now suddenly sweating...
For Lord Rothschild, preserving wealth has "become increasingly difficult," recently, as he warns, rather ominously, "we are faced with a geopolitical situation as dangerous as any we have faced since World War II." Furthermore Lord Rothschild summarizes his thoughts briefly, eloquently, and ominously... as he touches on the global debasement of fiat currencies, disappointing growth (in light of massive monetary stimulus), and extreme stock market valuations. As Rothschild Wealth Management noted last year, equities are not well supported by current valuations, while monetary policy is limited by high debt levels and interest rates that are already close to zero... exposing equities to a potentially sharp correction.
Echoing former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers’ quip, “There is surely something odd about the world’s greatest power being the world’s greatest debtor,” it appears that economic reality is finally beginning to set in for Americans... Only hours ago, Gallup released a new poll showing that only a small minority (just 17%) of Americans still view the US as the world’s economic superpower.
When do you know that Wall Street has officially succeeded in turning back the clock 5 years? When the market’s collective mind state has been reconditioned to the point where analysts feel comfortable creating research notes with titles like this one: “Keep Calm and Lever Up.”
The world has begun to devolve into two distinct factions. The imperialist actions of the American Empire in the Middle East and Ukraine have pushed Russia, China, India, Brazil, and Iran closer together regarding trade deals; transacting commerce without using the USD; oil and gas pipelines; and military cooperation. Totalitarian regimes are known for using foreign threats to distract the populace from domestic suffering. As a matter of fact, all regimes use this tactic. When the global economy rips apart at the seams due to the debt saturation, world leaders will attempt to blame other countries for their dire circumstances. Foreign enemies are good for business. Ask our Nobel Peace Prize winning President. War is inevitable.
It seems like everyone and his brother today are wringing their hands about AI and some impending “Singularity”, a moment of future doom where non-human intelligence achieves some human-esque sentience and decides in Matrix-like fashion to turn us into batteries or some such. Please. The Singularity is already here. Its name is Big Data. Big Data is magic, in exactly the sense that Arthur C. Clarke wrote of sufficiently advanced technology. But here’s the magic trick that we're worried about for investors...
Two days ago, Zero Hedge first, and shortly thereafter everyone else, pointed out something stunning: the biggest surprise to emerge so far out of the new anti-Troika/austerity Greek government was not so much its intention to proceed with the first test of "Odious Debt" - this was largely known in advance - but its dramatic pivot away from Germany and Europe, and toward Russia: The most important message that Tsipras is sending to Europe is that (after meeting the Russian ambassador first upon his election) Greece is now effectively a veto power when it comes to future Russian sanctions!
Who could have seen that coming? It appears that for all the bluster that the US economy could somehow decouple from the rest of the world's demise (when as always it is simply and timing issue - lagged response), America's manufacturing renaissance is dying. Markit's US Manufacturing PMI printed 53.7 in January, missed expectations of 54.0 falling for the 5th month in a row to the lowest in 12 months. While day after day, investors are told that low oil prices are unambiguously good for America, Manufacturing PMI was last lower than this in October 2013 as survey respondents note clients operating in the oil and gas sector have weighed on new order volumes in January.
Our question is this: if indeed the shale boom is now turning to bust, and if indeed the vast majority of jobs created were thanks to the shale revolution (which is about to go in reverse), what happens to the primary source of high-paying jobs: the energy sector? Before you answer, take a look at the following chart, courtesy of the Dallas Fed.
"Some Folks Are Buying Cars..." President Obama Explains Why Subprime Auto Loans Are Great For America - Live FeedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/07/2015 17:27 -0400
This should be good... On the same day as the administration pushes through 3% down FHA loans for some insane reason, President Obama is in Michigan to discuss the renaissance of the US Autoo industry (or more correctly described- the rebirth of the subprime lending bubble)...
“Don’t look back - something might be gaining on you,” Satchel Paige famously warned. For connoisseurs of civilizational collapse, 2014 was merely annoying, a continued pile-up of over-investments in complexity with mounting diminishing returns, metastasizing fragility, and no satisfying resolution. So we enter 2015 with greater tensions than ever before and therefore the likelihood that the inevitable breakdown will release more destructive energy and be that much harder to recover from.
Reading headlines and social media commentary in last night's thin trading, one could have been excused for thinking the collapse of global crude oil prices was over and a new renaissance had begun as 'watchers' proclaimed WTI's spurt above $55 (for a nanosecond) as indicative of the lows being in. However, just hours later, following weak European data (and a recognition of massively offside speculative positioning), WTI has collapsed over $3 from the highs and is testing towards a $51 handle.