The disclosures involving this (and the prior) administration's Big Brother surveillance state, which would make Nixon blush with envy are now coming fast and furious (one wonders - why now: even that bastion of liberalism the NY Times, has turned against Obama). Although while the Guardian's overnight news that Verizon (and most certainly AT&T as well among others) was cooperating with the NSA on spying on US citizens, so far at least the internet seemed, if only to the great unwashed masses, immune. That is no longer the case following news from the WaPo exposing PRISM, a highly classified program, which has not been disclosed publicly before. "Its establishment in 2007 and six years of exponential growth took place beneath the surface of a roiling debate over the boundaries of surveillance and privacy." What PRISM does is to allow the NSA and the FBI to tap directly "into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time."
Yes, Government Spooks May Be Listening
- Global Stocks Tumble as Treasuries Rally, Yen Strengthens (BBG)
- China Export Gains Seen Halved With Fake-Data Crackdown (BBG) - so a crash in the GDP to follow?
- FBI and Microsoft take down botnet group (FT)
- Quant hedge funds hit by bonds sell-off (FT)
- Russia's Syria diplomacy, a game of smoke and mirrors (Reuters)
- Obama Confidantes Get Key Security Jobs (WSJ)
- BMW to Mercedes Skip Summer Breaks to Keep Plants Rolling even as European auto demand slides to a 20-year low (BBG) - thank you cheap credit
- Paris threat to block EU-US trade talks (FT)
- National Security Advisor Tom Donilon resigning, to be replaced by Susan Rice - Obama announcement to follow
- Japan's Abe targets income gains in growth strategy (Reuters), Abe unveils ‘third arrow’ reforms (FT) - generates market laughter and stock crash
- Amazon set to sell $800m in ads (FT) - personal tracking cookie data is valuable
- 60 percent of Americans say the country is on the wrong track (BBG) and yet have rarely been more optimistic
- Jefferson County, Creditors Reach Deal to End Bankruptcy (BBG)
- Turks clash with police despite deputy PM's apology (Reuters)
- Rural US shrinks as young flee for the cities (FT)
- Australia holds steady on rate but may ease later (MW)
- The Wonk With the Ear of Chinese President Xi Jinping (WSJ)
- Syrian army captures strategic border town of Qusair (Reuters)
The “branding” of modern central banking started in the United States in the early 1980’s under then-Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker. Facing worrisomely high and debilitating inflation, Volcker declared war against it – and won. In delivering secular disinflation, he did more than change expectations and economic behavior. He also greatly enhanced the Fed’s standing among the general public, in financial markets, and in policy circles. Building on Volcker’s success, Western central banks have used their brand to help maintain low and stable inflation. In the last few years, however, the threat of inflation has not been an issue. Instead, Western central banks have had to confront market failures, fragmented financial systems, clogged monetary-policy transmission mechanisms, and sluggish growth in output and employment. Facing greater challenges in delivering desired outcomes, they have essentially pushed both policies and their brand power to the limit. They will have materially damaged their standing and, consequently, the future effectiveness of their policy stance.
- Whale of a Trade Revealed at Biggest U.S. Bank With Best Control (BBG)
- ECB backs away from use of ‘big bazooka’ to boost credit (FT)
- Turkish unions join fierce protests in which two have died (Reuters)
- Europe Floods Wreak Havoc (WSJ)
- Beheadings by Syrian Rebels Add to Atrocities, UN Says (BBG)
- RBA Sees Further Rate-Cut Scope as Aussie Remains High (BBG)
- China’s ‘great power’ call to the US could stir friction (FT)
- J.C. Penney Continuing Ron Johnson’s Vision on the Cheap (BBG)
Bill Gross To Ben Bernanke: "It's Your Policies That Are Now Part Of The Problem Rather Than The Solution"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/04/2013 06:38 -0400
On practically every day of the past four years, we have said that it was the Fed's own policies that are causing the ever-deeper systemic weakness in the US (and now global with all central banks going "all in") economy, which in turn forces the Fed to intervene even more aggressively in an attempt to counteract, in turn generating ever more economic weakness, leading to even more intervention, which is why every incremental episode of QE is larger and longer, and why the economic baseline is ever lower in the most perverse feedback loop of the New Normal. Now, it is once again Bill Gross to catch up to Zero Hedge and conclude just this in his latest monthly letter: "It’s been five years Mr. Chairman and the real economy has not once over a 12-month period of time grown faster than 2.5%. Perhaps, in addition to a fiscally confused Washington, it’s your policies that may be now part of the problem rather than the solution. Perhaps the beating heart is pumping anemic, even destructively leukemic blood through the system. Perhaps zero-bound interest rates and quantitative easing programs are becoming as much of the problem as the solution." Which is why there simply is no way out as long as Bernanke stays in.
With the story du jour of electric car wunderkind Tesla so far only just that, a story (inasmuch as the gorgeous Fisker Karma was also just that at least until the day it transformed into a bankruptcy filing), if one that has cost shorts dearly including their shirts, slowly the company's fundamentals are coming into view. And just as importantly, the question of how it all clicks together. To assist with that, Reuters Breakingviews has compiled an interactive forecast that models how many cars luxury (for now) car maker would needs to sell (hopefully not all at the EBT-ineligible $100K price point) in order to grow into Elon Musk's target market cap of $43 billion, or roughly where GM is right now. The answer: a base-case assuming a 15x P/E multiple in 2022, a 12% pretax margin, and a 25%/25%/50% split between the Model S ($100K), Model X ($75K) and the still to be disclosed "Bluestar" lower-priced car ($40K) , results in a mindblowing 537,815 cars that will have to be sold in 2022, implying a 35.5% annualized sales growth from the 35,000 cars projected to be sold in 2013 (even if today's numbers did not quite validate this runrate), a cumulative total over the next decade of just under 2,000,000 Teslas.
- BIS lays out "simple" plan for how to handle bank failures (Reuters) - Are we still holding our breath on Basel III?
- Deficit Deal Even Less Likely - Improving U.S. Fiscal Health Eases Pressure for a 'Grand Bargain' Amid Gridlock (WSJ)
- IRS Faulted on Conference Spending (WSJ)
- Deadly MERS-CoV virus spreads to Italy (CNN)
- Turkish PM Erdogan calls for calm after days of protests (Reuters)
- Financial system ‘waiting for next crisis’ (FT)
- Russia to send nuclear submarines to southern seas (Reuters)
- China Nuclear Stockpile Grows as India Matches Pakistan Rise (BBG)
Nothing like a solid dose of schizophrenia to start the week, following Chinese PMI news which showed that once again the Chinese economy was both contracting and expanding at the same time. Sure, one can justify it by saying HSBC looks at smaller companies while the official data tracks larger SMEs but the reality is that just like in the US, so China has learned when all else fails, baffle with BS is the best strategy. As a result the media is attributing he drop in European stocks to the weaker than expected China PMI, while the green prints in US futures are due to... stronger than expected China PMI. There were no split-personalities in Japan, however, where Mrs. Watanable's revulsion with recent euphoria led the Nikkei to tumble over 500 points, to closed down another 3.72%, and is now on the verge from a 20% bear market from its May 23 multi-year highs. The fact that the USDJPY reached within 3 pips of the Abenomics "fail" zone of USDJPY 100 didn't help overnight sentiment.
Google Has Officially Gone On Record To Confirm Reggie Middleton's "Negative Margin Business Model" TacticsSubmitted by Reggie Middleton on 05/31/2013 10:01 -0400
Google has went on record hitting Apple where it hurts. Those who believe that Apple will be resurgent should look at the bigger picture.
The missing link to Japan's Abenomic recovery is and will be wage inflation: without it, soaring import costs which have more than offset any benefits from a modest rise in exports (and a still negative trade balance), will be for nothing, and if the wealth effect begins slowing or, heaven forbid, reversing, and the USDJPY slides back under 100 dragging the Nikkei down with it and all those hedge funds who scrambled into Japan with hopes of get rich quick dreams exit stage left, all bets are off. The result, ironically, would be an even worse bout of deflation than the country had in the recent past as all Abenomics will have done is pulled demand forward driven by transitory stock market gains, while far stickier import energy costs hammer the consumer's discretionary cash flow. In the meantime, corporations aren't waiting, and in a need to protect their bottom lines are doing to selling prices what they have zero intention of doing to wages and costs: hiking them. So following in the footsteps of many other luxury, and not so luxury, goods makers, Apple was the latest to announce overnight that it is hiking the prices of select iPad and iPod models by 16% and 14% respectively.
Everything was going so well in the overnight session, following some mixed Japanese data (stronger than expected production, inline inflation, weaker household spending) which kept the USDJPY 101 tractor beam engaged, and the market stable, until just before 2 am Eastern, when Tokyo professor Takatoshi Ito, formerly a deputy at the finance ministry to the BOJ's Kuroda, said overvaluation of the yen versus the dollar has been corrected, which led to a very unpleasant moment of gravity for the currency pair which somehow drives risk around the world based on what several millions Japanese housewives do in unison. The result was a slide to just 30 pips away from the key 100 support level, below which all hell breaks loose, Abenomics starts being unwound, hedge funds - short the yen and long the Nikkei - have no choice but to unwind once profitable positions, the wealth effect craters, and streams are generally crossed.
"Since we're dealing with markets that are being manipulated by central bank policies, there is no such thing as economic analysis anymore. All you have is the imaginations of central bankers, and you don't know what they're going to do, so you have to be diversified."