• Monetary Metals
    01/28/2015 - 00:28
    It’s terrifying how fast the whole Swiss yield curve sank under the waterline of zero. Now even the 15-year bond has negative interest. The franc has reached the end.

New York City

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Blythe Masters Under Investigation By Federal Prosecutors





There is much new info in the just released Bloomberg profile on the infamous ex-JPMorganite Blythe Masters, among which the disclosure that she had made it clear that she had wanted to go along with the disposable JPM physical commodities unit (which as was reported recently, was sold to Swiss commodities giant Mercuria) and "and continue as the group's chief", a plan which did not work out as she had planned since she has no plans to "join the unit’s purchaser" (although joining Glencore is another matter entirely, and one which looks increasingly plausible) but what we find most striking is the following revelation: "Masters is under investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. That probe was opened following a settlement with regulators that alleged JPMorgan manipulated power markets in the Midwest and California."

 
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Baseball, Hot Dogs And Income Inequality





New York City, for example, is the most unequal in the nation, and so is Yankee Stadium.  The most expensive seats this season cost almost 59 times more than the “bleacher seats,” while the spread for tickets to a Minnesota Twins game is just 5.4 times.  Minneapolis/St. Paul, coincidentally, is among the least unequal metro areas in the U.S.  But before you storm the baseball barricades, consider that the lowest priced tickets in highly unequal cities is $17, only $3 more than the more equal ones.  The inequality actually comes in the form of higher prices for the good seats - $206 in the more egalitarian areas and $501 in the cities with more inequality.  Score it as “Real Fans: 1, Oligarchs 0”.  

 
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Every New Job Created Is "Not" The Same





Following the March Jobs Report, ConvergEx's Nick Colas got to thinking about the composition of employment growth rather than just the headline number. Is every new job created really the same when it comes to overall economic impact? Consider that the average household income in Maryland is $69,920, versus $39,592 in Mississippi. Or that Mining and Logging jobs pay, on average, $28.77/hour and Retail Trade positions average only $14.22/hour. To expand on this point, Colas came up with three 'Ideal' marginal hires, when considering which jobs bring the most "bang" for the wage/employment "buck". At this point in the cycle we should be focused on job quality as much as quantity.

 
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The Chinese Are Buying Large Chunks Of Land Across America (And Zillow Is Now Enabling It)





Has the United States ever experienced a time when a foreign nation has attempted to buy up so much of our land all at once? As Michael Snyder details below, it appears the Chinese are on a real estate buying spree all over America as they are now the dominat 'buyers' of investment green cards. This is occurring as private equity buyers and hedge funds exit the buy-to-rent business en masse and are, as Mike Krieger explains, are desperate to pitch American property to anyone willing to keep Housing Bubble 2.0 inflated... it seems Zillow is more than happy to enable that, "Zillow agreed to make its U.S. property listings available to Chinese consumers through a partnership with a Beijing-based website."

 
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Goodbye Blythe Masters





A week ago we wrote: 'While it has been public for a long time that i) JPM is eager to sell its physical commodities business and ii) the most likely buyer was little known Swiss-based Mercuria, there was nothing definitive released by JPM. Until moments ago, when Jamie Dimon formally announced that JPM is officially parting ways with the physical commodities business. But while contrary to previous expectations, following the sale JPM will still provide commercial gold vaulting operations around the world, it almost certainly means farewell to Blythe Masters." Sure enough:

JP MORGAN COMMODITY CHIEF BLYTHE MASTERS LEAVING, WSJ SAYS       

Farewell Blythe: we hope your replacement will be just as skilled in keeping the price of physical gold affordable for those of us who keep BTFD every single day.

 
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The Housing Bubble Is Still Raging In These 20 "Buy-To-Rent" Cities, And Burst In These 20 Others





As the following table also by RealtyTrace confirms, the US still has an abundance of "own-to-rent" cities, where one can generate a return as high as 30% in one year, if one is willing to drive through the downtown area at 65 mph. Places like bankrupt Detroit, where the median sales price is $45K, and somehow the average market rent is $1.1K, meaning one can recoup their investment in just over 3 years! (how Detroit's residents can afford $1K on rent is another of those great mysteries of life). In other words, the housing bubble will still be raging in these 20 cities, at least until such time as the yield drops sufficiently due to soaring prices that the Blackstones of the world are forced to dump other people's money in such undervalued places as Ulan Bator and Almaty.

 
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Read Michael Lewis' Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt: An Adaptation





The stock market really was rigged... “It’s 2009,” Katsuyama says. “This had been happening to me for almost two years. There’s no way I’m the first guy to have figured this out. So what happened to everyone else?” The question seemed to answer itself: Anyone who understood the problem was making money off it...

 
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Which Firm Controls "The World's Most Powerful Address"?





For the answer of which firm is responsible, and has the largest number of current and former tenants occupying the building located at 15 CPW which we profiled before, and which Bloomberg TV defines as the "world's most powerful address" - a location whose residents control nearly half a trillion in assets under management - fast forward to 3:20 in the clip below. Hint: listen for the "dog whistle."

 
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Pay Our Pensions Or We'll Throw You In Jail: The Legalization Of Looting





Rather than deal forthrightly with the reality that unrealistic promises made to their employees cannot be honored, local government has pursued a strategy of legalizing looting. The gradual erosion of civil liberties, legal rights and government ethics are connected: our rights don't just vanish into thin air, they are expropriated by government: Federal, state and local. Though much is written about the loss of civil liberties at the Federal level, many of the most blatantly illegal power grabs are occurring in local government. When local government looting is legalized, the entire system is illegal. Here are three recent examples of blatantly illegal looting by local governments.

 
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Putin Strikes Back: Russia's Sanctions List Said To Include US Senators, High Ranking Administration Officials





Ever since the theatrical announcement of asset freezes and other related sanctions of various Putin aides, Russian military and pro-Russia Ukrainian leaders earlier today by both the US president and the EU, the nagging question was when and how would Vladimir Vladimirovich retaliate, with tomorrow's Putin address to the joint session of Parliament seeming as a probable time and place. It now appears that Putin's personal retaliation has been leaked in advance, and according to the Daily Beast's Josh Rogin, it will involve an in kind response where various US senators and highly placed officials will be banned from visiting Russia, and likely also see their particular assets - if any- in Russian custody promptly frozen.

 
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Russian Sanctioned By White House Responds On Twitter To "Comrade Obama"





 
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19 Signs That The U.S. Consumer Is Tapped Out





You can't get blood out of a rock.  Traditionally the United States has had a consumer-driven economy, but now years of declining incomes and rising debts are really starting to catch up with us.  In order to have an economy that is dependent on consumer spending, you need to have a large middle class.  Unfortunately, the U.S. middle class is steadily shrinking, and unless that trend is reversed we are going to see massive economic changes in this country.  Incomes are going down, the cost of living is going up, and debts are skyrocketing.  The following are 19 signs that the U.S. consumer is tapped out...

 
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Wall Street Bonuses Soar 15% To Highest Since 2007





Wall Street bonuses (on average) in 2013 rose 15% to the highest since 2007. As OSC Tom DiNapoli notes, "Securities industry employees took home significantly higher bonuses on average... although profits were lower than the prior year." In fact, as we noted earlier, profits at the banks fell 30%. Average compensation for securities industry professionals in New York City ($360,700) were 5.2 times greater than the rest of the private sector ($69,200). Thank You Ben...

 
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Feds Subpoena Port Authority Records As Christie Probe Deepens





Just when you thought the distractions in Russia, Malaysia, and Libya were enough to take the spotlight off domestic drama, Chris Christie's BridgeGate scandal bubbles back into the headlines. As WSJ reports, Manhattan federal prosecutors have subpoenaed records from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey related to the business interests of its chairman, David Samson, people familiar with the matter said Monday. Samson, a close ally of Christie, is, according to sources, under investigation for potential conflicts between his private business interests and his actions as chairman of the sprawling bi-state authority, which oversees Hudson River crossings into New York City, airports, the PATH rail system and the World Trade Center complex.

 
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