Since the beginning of this year the markets have primarily treaded water. The primary support for the bulls has been continued acknowledgement by the Fed on an inability to remove accommodative policy by raising interest rates. (Which should make you question what happens the first time they do.) The bears have been feasting on weak economic data and deteriorating fundamentals.
NYPD Boycotts de Blasio: New York City Arrests And Citations Plummet As Cops Stage "Virtual Work Stoppage"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/30/2014 22:30 -0400
First, NYC's cops turned their back on Bill de Blasio, best known for first rushing to side with New York's "oppressed" minorities "threatened" by the local police, and then, when two weeks later 2 NYPD cops were executed in cold blood and in broad daylight in what some hinted was an unintended consequence of the mayor's bashing of the police, scrambling to undo his previous populism and to show his affection for New York's cops. Now, those tasked to protect and to serve the Big Apple, appear to have decided to turn their back on their job entirely, and in what is shaping up to be a long vendetta with the mayor, have succumbed to what the NY Post calls "a virtual work stoppage." This implicit strike by the NYPD is manifesting as follows: "traffic tickets and summonses for minor offenses have dropped off by a staggering 94 percent following the execution of two cops — as officers feel betrayed by the mayor and fear for their safety."
"They are building stuff that nobody really wants or needs," sums up yet another mega ghost city project under development in China. As NBC News reports, China's $50-billion knock-off of the Big Apple - near the port city of Tianjin, some 120 miles from Beijing - complete with its own Rockefeller Center and Twin Towers has been billed as the world's largest financial center in the making. But this Manhattan still has a long way to go...
New York "has the second largest millionaire and largest billionaire population of any global city," according to analysis by Spear's magazine, but as LA Times reports, walk down the streets of The Big Apple and 1 in every 25 New Yorkers you bump into is a millionaire. But if you really want to rub shoulders with the rich... almost 1 in 3 Monaco residents are millionaires) and likely billionaires too...
China's own Big Apple may be rotting from the core. A new central business district modeled after New York City is going up in Tianjin but the project is in jeopardy. While the growth of China's ghost cities of entirely derelict and unlived-in residential real estate have become anathema; the story of the nation's 'if we build it they will come' commercial real estate bubble has been less exposed but is no less incredible. As Bloomberg reports, China’s project to build a replica Manhattan is taking shape against a backdrop of vacant office towers and unfinished hotels, underscoring the risks to a slowing economy from the nation’s unprecedented investment boom. Stunningly, the development has failed to attract tenants since the first building was finished in 2010 leaving one commercial real estate investor to proclaim, "Investing here won’t be better than throwing money into the water... There will be no way out - it will be very difficult to find the next buyer."
Because we’ve reached a point in time at which $1 trillion no longer sounds like a lot of money, we thought we’d go through the exercise of assessing just what the Fed could have done with this money besides give it to Wall Street.
With Canada having closed the door on the cash-for-canadian-citizenship housing bubble blowing machine, it seems the Russian oligarch sanctions have left a gaping window for the Chinese to swoop and spend their billions. As Reuters reports, for the first time in history, wealthy Chinese top wealthy Russians are the biggest buyers of Manhattan real estate. It seems Manhattan real estate will always be home to some desperate capital flow, money-laundering 1%-ers cash - no matter what the price.
While some would argue (as they always do) that there are good reasons to be bullish going into 2014 (central bank liquidity provision being an obvious one); there are ample reasons to remain vigilant with respect to your investments. The stagnation of wage growth combined with higher costs leaves an already cash strapped consumer with few options. It is likely that we will see a push by consumers to re-leverage their household balance sheet which will be hailed by the media as a return of consumer confidence. However, one should not forget the last time a highly levered consumer ran into problems. Furthermore, there are three potential headwinds that are likely to weigh on the economy and the markets which are potentially being overlooked.
Farewell Mareeaah. The Money Honey who epitomized CNBC in its high flying (pardon the pun) years when it was actually a source of useful information, has just marked the nadir of the TV station which in the past five years rebranded itself stock market propaganda central, and whose viewership plunged appropriately to a 20 year low as we recently reported. As Drudge reports, Bartiromo whose contact is up, is moving to Fox Business. From Drudge: "DRUDGE has learned that Maria Bartiromo is jumping to FOX BUSINESS NETWORK with an announcement expected sometime soon. Sources close to the situation say there have been ongoing conversations throughout the Fall. The new deal calls for Bartiromo to anchor a daily market hours program on FOX BUSINESS. Insiders say there will be a role on FOXNEWS as well."
The old idiom “you can lead a horse to water, but not make him drink” has proven itself true in the course of human learning. Or rather, it would be more accurate to label it man’s inability to learn from mistakes. You can hold a mirror up to grotesque instances of hypocrisy, but most men will remain mules – stubborn in their prejudice and beliefs. The ability to heed lessons from blunders is, often times, a skill unable to be mastered by the mass populace. The mule, being a universal symbol for stubbornness, has become indistinguishable from the average news and politics ingester. Toeing the carefully-planned ideological path of media personalities, divergence from party line is a hurdle most pedestrians are incapable of clearing. What’s not done is a forthright attempt to continually rectify our wrongs and pursue truth – even when it conflicts with inner bias. It’s far less painful to not acknowledge faulty logic.
Subdued headline inflation hides the inimitable rise of prices across the country; but ConvergEx's Nick Colas examines the pace of inflation in four large cities across the US – Boston, Chicago, New York and San Francisco. All are home to multitudes of urban working professionals, share the same currency and have similar macro economies, though, Colas notes, the trend of price increases varies considerably (particularly with regards to NYC vs. the rest). The cost of living is up in all four cities since 2008. Incomes, too, are generally higher – although not in New York, likely a result of the Big Apple’s unique micro economy. Comparatively, New Yorkers have experienced the steepest price increases in transportation (higher cab and subway fares give this category a boost) and groceries, meanwhile rent, dinners out and cocktails continue to be more and more costly. So what gives? Rising inflation despite lower incomes? The answer lies in the tug of war between less cash pay on Wall Street and a very active foreign investment market that is driving up real estate prices.
This is just the latest revelation in the stealth inflation and food fraud theme we have written about frequently in recent months. The non-profit group Oceana took samples of 1,215 fish sold in the U.S. and genetic tests found that that 59% of those labeled tuna were mislabeled. It seems that “white tuna” should be avoided in particular as “84% of fish samples labeled “white tuna” were actually escolar, a fish that can cause prolonged, uncontrollable, oily anal leakage.” Oh and if you live in New York City or Southern California, you should pay particular attention if you're heading to Sushi!!
Bottom line? $100 an hour is the minimum wage for a person with a family in NY. The Prez is offering $9.
In a world in which the NSA has access to everything, including - soon - one's bank accounts, because "the government is there to protect you", it was only a matter of time before the logical extension of abdicating all privacy was enforced in the city that never sleeps, and which ended up with 24/7 vigilant "alarm clocks" in the form of unmanned aerial vehicles, aka drones, "for the sake of security." From RT: "The head of the New York City Police Department announced this week that the largest local law enforcement agency in the United States might soon rely on spy drones for conducting surveillance. During an open conversation held Thursday between Reuters editor-in-chief Stephen Adler and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, the chief of police confirmed that New York’s boys in blue aren’t entirely opposed to acquiring an unmanned aerial vehicle for the sake of security. “We’re looking into it," Kelly reportedly told an audience at the 92nd Street Y Thursday evening. “Anything that helps us.”