The Fed and the other major central banks have been planting time bombs all over the global financial system for years, but especially since their post-crisis money printing spree incepted in the fall of 2008. Now comes a new leader to the Eccles Building who is not only bubble-blind like her two predecessors, but is also apparently bubble-mute. Janet Yellen is pleased to speak of financial bubbles as a “misalignment of asset prices,” and professes not to espy any on the horizon. Actually, the Fed’s bubble blindness stems from even worse than servility. The problem is an irredeemably flawed monetary doctrine that tracks, targets and aims to goose Keynesian GDP flows using the crude tools of central banking. Not surprisingly, therefore, our monetary central planners are always, well, surprised, when financial fire storms break-out. Even now, after more than a half-dozen collapses since the Greenspan era of Bubble Finance incepted in 1987, they don’t recognize that it is they who are carrying what amounts to monetary gas cans.
Seth Klarman's comments on "The Truman Show" market and "born bulls" appeared to upset the status quo today on CNBC leaving none other than Joe Kernan and then later, Jim Cramer questioning Klarman's credentials with a passive-aggressive "when did Klarman turn negative? We should look into that..." question. We found it intriguing and wondered how much the investing public weights the differing views of these veritable titans of stock market wisdom. The answer - a market-based answer - lie in the purest measure of all... the cost of acquiring their knowledge...
5 years ago today, the S&P 500 made its post-crisis low at the oddly demonic 666 level. What many may not remember is... the last so-called-at-the-time "secular" bull market lasts exactly 5 years and 1 day (from October 10th 2002 to October 11th 2007)... it's different this time though.
If last night the year 1993 was notable for India, as the Rupee had its largest plunge since March of that year two decades ago, today 1993 is just as memorable for CNBC. The reason: according to the latest Nielsen data, in July the financial network's prime (25-54 demographic) viewership just tumbled to a fresh 20 year low of just 37,000, the lowest since, you guessed it, March of 1993. Why is this a problem? Considering CNBC came on air in its current post-FNN incarnation in 1991, the core viewership is now about as low as it has ever been for the struggling broadcaster which as recently as 2007 was ranked as the 19th most valuable cable channel in the US. Now: not so much.
In a surreal and deja vu-ish turn of events, three days ago we reported that in parallel with the ongoing collapse in CNBC viewership, the ratings of some of its shows namely Jim Cramer's Mad Money and Larry Kudlow's Report had just hit all time lows. This was met with an immediate response by Larry Kudlow himself who, alongside Groundhog Phil-fodder Joe LaVorgna, decided to take Zero Hedge to task for reporting that part-time jobs are not really full-time jobs and invited us over to their show to explain how dare we point out the weakness in the manipulated BLS datadump. We were kind enough to remind Mr. Kudlow that the last time someone from CNBC "invited" us over, i.e., Dennis "Digital Dickweed" Kneale, their show was promptly cancelled. To wit: "While we appreciate the offer, the last thing we intend to do is suffer Mr. Kudlow the same fate as that experienced by his predecessor Dennis Kneale who also invited Zero Hedge on his laughable excuse for a show in 2009, only to be sacked a few months later." Make it two for two as irony strikes again. The NY Post reports that Kudlow's show is over.
If the economy is getting better, then why does poverty in America continue to grow so rapidly? Yes, the stock market has been hitting all-time highs recently, but also the number of Americans living in poverty has now reached a level not seen since the 1960s. Yes, corporate profits are at levels never seen before, but so is the number of Americans on food stamps. Yes, housing prices have started to rebound a little bit (especially in wealthy areas), but there are also more than a million public school students in America that are homeless. That is the first time that has ever happened in U.S. history. So should we measure our economic progress by the false stock market bubble that has been inflated by Ben Bernanke's reckless money printing, or should we measure our economic progress by how the poor and the middle class are doing? Because if we look at how average Americans are doing these days, then there is not much to be excited about. Unfortunately, that bubble of false hope is not going to last much longer. In fact, we are already seeing signs that it is getting ready to burst.
Over two years ago, while scouring through TheStreet.com's filing we stumbled upon something interesting: "As a result of the need for the Company and its independent registered public accounting firm to focus attention on matters related to the Company's previously-announced review of the accounting in its former Promotions.com subsidiary, which subsidiary the Company sold in December 2009 -- including matters related to the preparation and filing by the Company in February 2010 of a Form 10-K/A for the year ended December 31, 2008, a Form 10-Q/A for the quarter ended March 31, 2009 and Forms 10-Q for the quarters ended June 30, 2009 and September 30, 2009, respectively, and matters related to an investigation commenced by Securities and Exchange Commission in March 2010 -- the Company requires additional time to prepare its financial statements, assess its internal controls and file its Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009 ("2009 Form 10-K")." Oops. We can't wait to see how Mr. Cramer will explain to the Mad Money faithful this particular twist on the hangover of the show's five year birthday bash. Also, we wonder if CNBC will finally cancel the ludicrous Jim "truth" Cramer campaign once this news breaks. We doubt it- in the quest for evaporating eyeballs, all is fair." This was in April 2010. Today, we got resolution on the matter, as the SEC finally has put the matter to close.
Okay, the Fed's recent decision to boost its monetary stimulus (a.k.a. "money printing," "quantitative easing," or simply "QE") by another $45 billion a month to a combined $85 billion per month demonstrates an almost complete departure from what a normal person might consider sensible.
To borrow a phrase from Joel Salatin: Folks, this ain't normal. To this I will add ...and it will end badly.
- Our markets are now truly broken; they don't send accurate price signals anymore
- Markets are now just a giant and rigged casino, where a relative handful of big firms and other tightly coupled players are gaming their orders to take advantage of this flood of money
- Expect the Fed balance sheet to quickly expand by an additional $3-4 trillion, resulting in runaway inflation and a possible currency crisis
Gold has risen to new record highs in pounds and euros as concerns about contagion in the eurozone and stagflation in the UK deepen. The euro has fallen sharply in international markets and is down 1.5% against gold so far this morning. European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has called an emergency meeting of top officials dealing with the euro zone debt crisis as concerns deepen over the sovereign debt crisis spreading to Spain and Italy. Spain’s 10-year yield spread over Germany widened to a euro-era record of over 300 basis points. Italian and Portuguese bonds are also under pressure with Portuguese 10 year yields surging to 13.4%. The risk of contagion affecting European and international banks and a new banking crisis rises by the day. Meanwhile, in the U.S., President Obama is seeking a massive $4 trillion in a deficit reduction package. Failure to do so may lead to a U.S. and global sovereign debt crisis.
Paul Farrell's 7 Reasons Why America Needs A "Good Depression" Now...Or Face A Great Depression LaterSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/05/2011 13:27 -0400
Another must read from one of the "less cheerful" people on MarketWatch. His 7 reasons why "kicking the can" should no longer be the official policy of the ponzi banker syndicate: 1: Capitalism’s now a lethal soul sickness, needs a reawakening; 2. We’re already in the early stages of a Great Depression; 3. Good Depression exposes our self-destruct bubble-thinking; 4. Good Depression will stir outrage, force real reforms; 5. Good Depression forces Wall Street to think outside the box; 6. Good Depression will deflate America’s warring soul; 7. Good Depression now … avoids a far bigger depression later
Ben lies: we're sheep; No more; and by being sheep we suffer the heart-ache and the thousand pricing shocks unmeasured by the CPI, 'tis a consumer tax, despite what you had wish'd. Ben lies; we're sheep: living a dying dream: Aye, there's the rub; when fleecing sheep what jobs may come when we have scuttled all their buying power?
Why is it that the average investor has a firmer idea of what his next $50 clothing purchase should be than his next $5,000 stock purchase?
Ignoring real estate, most people invest their hard earned money in paper things. Stocks, bonds, annuities, insurance - it’s all paper, and it sits nicely in our bank accounts and shows up on our computer screens. Halfway across the world, investors in China and India have never trusted paper investments as a store of value - and they’re converting their hard earned paper money into gold and silver bullion. Not that this is anything new. It isn’t. But the scale and speed with which they are accumulating precious metals IS new, and it’s driving the fundamentals that we believe will lead to higher prices in 2011. - Sprott Asset Management
When a week ago we reported that JP Morgan has denied it owned more than 90% of the copper positions on the LME, we suggested that this could very well mean that Blythe Master's firm could just as easily control 89.999% of the copper and still not misrepresent the truth per that non-commital press release. Turns out our unbridled cynicism was spot on as usual. The Wall Street Journal has just reported that in the copper market "a single trader has reported it owns 80% to 90% of the copper
sitting in London Metal Exchange warehouses, equal to about half of the
world's exchange-registered copper stockpile and worth about $3 billion." Oh and yes, while JP Morgan technically is not singled out, we will be delighted to issue a retraction the second JP Morgan approaches us with a refutation that it is not the trader in question. And while we are at it, we also will repeat our claim that it was indeed JP Morgan that reduced its massive silver position, as per the recent FT article: as above we will immediately issue a retraction and apologize should JPM's legal department contact us that we are wrong on this. Somehow we don't think that will be an issue. And so it is once again made clear that the biggest market manipulating cartel in the world is not only JPM's commodity trading operation, but the "regulators" at the CFTC, who are doing all they can do to delay implementing rules on position limit- a stalling tactic whose sole purpose is to make the life of Jamie Dimon as comfortable as possible while he corners the copper market (and offloads his PM shorts to some "foreign bank"), even if that means the complete collapse in faith in the commodity market. Presumably, this means that Mr. Gensler has received an outsized Christmas gift to assuage his conscience. As for the commodity market, well, just look at what has happened to the stock market now that everyone knows it is nothing but a house of cards scam where a few robots front run each other. We are confident to quite confident tomorrow's ICI report will confirm that 33rd consecutive outflow from domestic equity funds. It is a pity that the same fate will now happen to the commodities market, as everyone tells Gensler to shove his corrupt market, and moves to physical. Frankly, it couldn't happen to a nicer group of so-called regulators.
As a disgusted and powerless nation (save for a few irrelevant, ex-Enron consultants) is drowning its post-QE2 monetary sorrows in Blue Label courtesy of a recently, if very temporarily, discovered wealth effect, we present a comedic interlude which presents (in proper chronological order for facility of reading) the email chain that culminated with the decision to embark on the QE2.