New York City
Say what you will about Mike "sugary drinks are illegal" Bloomberg, but at least the trains ran on time. And so did the snowplow. Sadly for his replacement, the same can not be said as was revealed following just one of the first modest snow storms in Bill de Blasio's career as mayor. In his own words (via AP): "Mayor Bill de Blasio says the snow has been falling faster than New York City workers can plow it." So New York gets 8 inches of snow and suddenly it is a snow panic? What happens in case of a blizzard: de Blasio request assistance from the Soc Intern, or perhaps the only solution is to tax the "wealthy" an arbitrary, but "fair", amount more?
Winter storm warnings and advisories stretched from Utah to Pennsylvania this morning. As Bloomberg reports, hundreds of flights across the US are being canceled as the threat of snow, ice, and sleet (and up to 8 inches of snow in New York City) "impact the morning commute." The storm will move across the central U.S., bringing showers and thunderstorms to the Central Gulf Coast tomorrow morning and expanding northward into the Tennessee Valley by Tuesday evening, the weather service said. In other words, we have our first good excuse for a crimped consumer not spending once again in February - the weather.
- Emerging-Market Rout Seen Enduring on Low Real Rates (BBG)
- After rocky January, markets eye data and central banks (Reuters)
- Europe will feel the pain of emerging markets (FT)
- Lloyds delays dividend prospect after mis-selling charge (Reuters)
- Snow Set to Snarl New York Commute as U.S. Flights Halted (BBG)
- Rate Decision to Drive Yellen's Early Agenda (Hilsenrath)
- Thai protesters move to downtown Bangkok in bid to topple PM (Reuters)
- China says Japan's 'hype' on air defence zone spreads tension (Reuters)
- Hedge funds seek 1.8 billion euros damages from members of Porsche's owning family (Reuters)
Tickets to see this year's frigid battle between Seattle and Denver would have cost no more than $85 if they had kept pace with the government's perspective of inflation (CPI). If Super Bowl tickets had tracked the S&P 500's reflationary trajectory, they would cost $275. Instead, in what is the biggest surge in face-value prices YoY ever - more than doubling last year's - the highest Super Bowl tickets this year cost $2,600 face value, a record high. However, resale tickets – where the market really sets the price – tell a quite different (and more) negative story. It’s not simply a lukewarm economy.
With food-stamp recipients dominated by 'working age Americans' for the first time in history; and 1.4 million having recently dropped off the benefits rolls, we suspect, extremely sadly, that the following breakdown of homelessness in America is about to get worse. Los Angeles has by far the greatest number of unsheltered homeless in America and New York City the largest population - at around 65,000 - of homeless people in the US. One wonders at the State of the Union tomorrow...
With emerging markets in panic mode, investors are bound to be reminded of the enduring observation, first made by a 19th century British businessman named John Mills, that: “Panics do not destroy capital; they merely reveal the extent to which it has been previously destroyed by its betrayal in hopelessly unproductive works.” With that in mind, investors seem happy to link the ongoing emerging market sell-off to either a) China’s large capital misallocation triggered by the 2008-11 credit boom or b) the Federal Reserve’s promise to start tapering last May, followed up now by the real thing. But could there perhaps be another explanation?
DOJ Finally Going After The Criminal Masterminds With Arrest Of 24 Year-Old Bitcoin Exchange FounderSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/27/2014 12:48 -0500
The US crackdown on Bitcoin has been long in coming, with ebbs and flows of enforcement as regulators have been unsure exactly how to proceed with dismantling the digital fiat alternative. This morning the ebb became a rising tide, after U.S. prosecutors announced charges against two men operating Bitcoin exchange businesses for attempting to sell $1 million worth of Bitcoin to users of the underground black market website Silk Road, which was shut down by authorities in September.... In retrospect Charlie's biggest crime was not being CEO of JPM or, at worst, HSBC, where money laundering and other criminal activity is not only encouraged but rewarded with soaring bonuses. The good news is that one can once and for all confirm that when it comes to "Justice" in the US, some - those who deal with legacy status quo mandated and enforced ponzi scheme fiat - are far more equal than anyone who dares to think outside the Fed's printer.
The big money has jumped into the fray.
In the last year Bitcoin has gone 'viral'. As ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes, a lot has happened in 2013: Price appreciation, yes, from $20 to +$800 – the result of this online “Currency” going from science project to mainstream topic. Volatility too – disruptive technologies seldom travel a level path. The story, Colas notes, is about to change, and there are three critical gates which bitcoin must navigate in the New Year. First is regulation, and we will get a good dose of that next Tuesday and Wednesday when the New York State Department of Financial Services holds hearings on bitcoin and potentially issuing a ‘Bitlicense’ to help regulate business which transact in the currency. Second is adoption – how will existing businesses incorporate bitcoin into their sales, marketing and payment channels. Lastly will be volatility, which will have to come down in 2014 to encourage broader use.
The conventional view of China and India sports not one but two pair of rose-colored glasses: Chindia (even the portmanteau word is chirpy) is the world's engine of growth, and this rapid economic growth is chipping away at structural political and social problems. Nice, especially from a distance. But on the ground, China and India (not Chindia--there is no such entity) are both powder kegs awaiting a spark for the same reason: systemic corruption in every nook and cranny of both nations. The conventional rose-colored view is that corruption will inevitably decline with modernization and economic growth. This is simply wrong on multiple levels...
New York City may be buried under more than a foot of snow, but global markets don't sleep, however judging by the color of futures this morning, today's respectable $2.25-$3.00 billion POMO will have a tough time digging US equities out of the red, following a tepid overnight session in which the traditional driver of futures levitation, the USDJPY, was flat as the BOJ disclosed unchanged policy despite some inexplicable hopes that Kuroda would increase QE as early as today.
With California experiencing emergency drought conditions and sun-glass-clad bronzed beauties driving their convertibles around in Lake Tahoe amid not an inch of real snow, the East Coast - just emerging from the cocoon following Polar Vortex 1.0 - is, as we warned, about to be confronted with another chilly blast of "Arctic Cold" weather with temperatures up to 25 degress below average and 8 inches of snow due for New York City tomorrow, and wind chills up to 40 below for the Upper Midwest On the bright side, it will be a BTFD opportunity for all those missed earnings expectations for Q1 retailers.
Up until now, most terrorist provocations surrounding the Sochi winter olympics set to begin on February 7, had been in the surrounding cities (here is dramatic video footage of the recent suicide bombing in Sochi) while the actual venue has been largely left untouched. Perhaps this is due to the security gauntlet that has wrapped the city under the constant supervision of countless eyes in the sky and about 70,000 police and soldiers. This tenuous peace, however, was disturbed this morning when as Bloomberg reported, Russian police were searching for an alleged terrorist Razmena Ibragimova, according to a wanted poster on display at a security checkpoint in Sochi’s airport. Ibragimova, 22, is "currently located on Sochi territory" and may attempt a suicide bombing, according to the poster. According to information from BlogSochi she was spotted on the street outside the foreign ministry building in Sochi.
On the heels of his less-than-optimistic presentation, DoubleLine's Jeff Gundlach tells Europe's Finanz und Wirtschaft "he's concerned about the growing amount of speculation" and draws a parallel between today’s markets and the dot-com boom of the late Nineties. This excellent interview takes the themes of his recent conference call and extends them as he warns "In the over thirty years I’ve been in the financial investment industry, I don’t recall a single year where I saw the year begin with the consensus being so solidified in its thinking across virtually every asset class." His biggest worry (for investors, as opposed to his funds), "the most unthinkable things happen this year and that is a basic pain trade that forces people into treasury bonds."
It hasn't been a good year for discount retailers which rely on the broke US consumer to grow, such as Walmart, Target and Costco, the latter of which in the past has seemingly tried everything it could in the commodity business, even going as far as selling bundled provisions for the apocalypse. Alas, so far it has been unable to boost its margins, and since it is not Amazon where failure is rewarded, or else Jeff Bezos just hypnotizes everyone with his latest money-losing contraption (but, but it has such a great growth rate), it is time Costco tried something different to boost margins. Something really different. Such as selling a Superbowl lower level package for two for the low, low price of $15,999.99.