The world’s official economic institutions are run by people who believe in monetary fairy tales. The 70 words of wisdom below from IMF head Christine Lagarde are par for the course. She asserts that a new jabberwocky expression called “low-flation” is the main obstacle to higher economic growth in Europe and the DM areas generally and that it can be cured by more central bank money printing.
As the day began with every Joe, Jim, and Harry claiming to be an expert in HFT and having prophesied all of this long ago, we thought it would be intriguing to track just how well the retail investor was edumacated on the 'rigging of markets'. It didn't take long before Bob "I'm not trying to be an apologist for HFT, but..." Pisani explained that investors should not be concerned and another talking-head popped up on CNBC to proclaim, "being a little bit front-run is not a problem... remember, it's legal." Henry Blodgett made his 'takes one to know one' bubble perspective adding confidently that "the concept that the market is rigged is crazy." Crazy indeed - until the FBI gets involved. But we leave it to Rick Santelli who summed it all delightfully in a death-match with Pisani, "I'm sorry but if a large group of people can take that one cent all day long, day-in and day-out, then there's a problem."
One of the evils of massive over-financialization is that it enables Wall Street to scalp vast “rents” from the Main Street economy. These zero sum extractions not only bloat the paper wealth of the 1% but also fund a parasitic bubble finance infrastructure that would largely not exist in a world of free market finance and honest money. The infrastructure of bubble finance can be likened to the illegal drug cartels. In that dystopic world, the immense revenue “surplus” from the 1000-fold elevation of drug prices owing to government enforced scarcity finances a giant but uneconomic apparatus of sourcing, transportation, wholesaling, distribution, corruption, coercion, murder and mayhem that would not even exist in a free market. The latter would only need LTL trucking lines and $900 vending machines. In this context, the sprawling empire known as Bloomberg LP is the Juarez Cartel of bubble finance.
If you are not Professor Paul Krugman you probably agree that Washington has left no stone unturned on the Keynesian stimulus front since the crisis of September 2008. By the time the “taper” is over later this year (?) the Fed’s balance sheet will exceed $4.7 trillion - $4 trillion in new central bank liabilities in six years. All conjured out of thin air. Professor Krugman proposing to “do something”... In short, Krugman wants to double-down on the lunacy we have already accomplished. Unfortunately, we are presently nigh onto “peak debt”; there is no “escape velocity” because the Fed’s credit channel is broken and done. Going forward, the American people will once again be required to live within their means, spending no more than they produce. By contrast, Professor Krugman’s destructive recipes are entirely the product of a countrafactual economic universe that does not actually exist. He wants us to borrow and print even more because our macro-economic bathtub is not yet full. And that part is true. It doesn’t even exist.
"All the Trumans – the economists, fund managers, traders, market pundits –know at some level that the environment in which they operate is not what it seems on the surface…. But the zeitgeist is so damn pleasant, the days so resplendent, the mood so euphoric, the returns so irresistible, that no one wants it to end."
Klarman is here referring to the waning days of this third and greatest financial bubble of this century. But David Stockman's take is that the crack-up boom now nearing its dénouement marks not merely the season finale of still another Fed-induced cycle of financial asset inflation, but, in fact, portends the demise of an entire era of bubble finance.
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