NSA Whistleblower: NSA Spying On – and Blackmailing – Top Government Officials and Military OfficersSubmitted by George Washington on 06/20/2013 16:42 -0400
Whether the Japanese government guessed that the 150% annualized surge in the nominal price of their stocks, or 30% devaluation was unsustainable is questionable, but it seems that 'Plan B' is being created. As The Diplomat notes, finding itself in an increasingly complex and hostile security environment, Japan has taken the first steps towards developing a pre-emptive first-strike capability. This is a controversial move in a region that remains wary of a potential return to Japanese militarism.
Nothing like a solid dose of schizophrenia to start the week, following Chinese PMI news which showed that once again the Chinese economy was both contracting and expanding at the same time. Sure, one can justify it by saying HSBC looks at smaller companies while the official data tracks larger SMEs but the reality is that just like in the US, so China has learned when all else fails, baffle with BS is the best strategy. As a result the media is attributing he drop in European stocks to the weaker than expected China PMI, while the green prints in US futures are due to... stronger than expected China PMI. There were no split-personalities in Japan, however, where Mrs. Watanable's revulsion with recent euphoria led the Nikkei to tumble over 500 points, to closed down another 3.72%, and is now on the verge from a 20% bear market from its May 23 multi-year highs. The fact that the USDJPY reached within 3 pips of the Abenomics "fail" zone of USDJPY 100 didn't help overnight sentiment.
- ‘Cov-lite’ loans soar in dash for yield (FT)
- Cambodian police clash with thousands of garment workers, 23 hurt (Reuters)
- Obama Accepting Sequestration as Deficit Shrinks (BBG)
- Having done nothing to restore confidence in a fragmented market, the SEC turns back to main street fraud (WSJ)
- Europe's austerity-to-growth shift largely semantic (Reuters)
- Germany thwarts EU in China solar fight (FT)
- In EU-China dispute, Beijing warns of trade (FT)
- U.S. Oil Boom Divides OPEC (WSJ)
- Record Cash Sent to Balanced Funds (BBG)
- Hilsenrath: Fed Wrestles With Market Expectations About Pace of QE (WSJ)
- Worse-Than-Cyprus Debt Load Means Caribbean Defaults to Moody’s (BBG)
- States Raise College Budgets After Years of Deep Cuts (WSJ)
- U.K. Banks Cut 189,000 With Employment at Nine-Year Low (BBG)
Use It or Lose It Time for the Constitution and Bill of Rights ...
- Obama's Counsel Was Told of IRS Audit Findings Weeks Ago (WSJ)
- North Korea fires sixth missile in three days (Reuters)
- Enron No Lesson to Traders as EU Probes Oil-Price Manipulation (BBG)
- Don't cry for me, Eurozone: Thinking the Unthinkable - Quitting a Currency (WSJ)
- H-1B Models Strut Into U.S. as Programmers Pray for Help (BBG)
- Gold Bear Bets Reach Record as Soros Cuts Holdings (BBG)
- Yahoo has agreed to pay $1.1 billion for Tumblr (WSJ)
- JPMorgan Holders Led by Chairmen-CEOs to Vote on Dimon (BBG)
- Apple faces grilling over US tax rate (FT)
- Nissan to Sell First Joint Minicar to Expand in Japan Market (BBG)
- Fierce battle for corporate loans sparks US bank risk concerns (FT)
- Microsoft Updates Xbox as Apple to Facebook Gain in Games (BBG)
A quiet day unfolding with just Chicago Fed permadove on the wires today at 1pm, following some early pre-Japan market fireworks in the USDJPY and the silver complex, where a cascade of USDJPY margin calls, sent silver to its lowest in years as someone got carted out feet first following a forced liquidation. This however did not stop the Friday ramp higher in the USDJPY from sending the Nikkei225, in a delayed response, to a level surpassing the Dow Jones Industrial Average for the first time in years. Quiet, however, may be just how the traders at 72 Cummings Point Road like it just in case they can hear the paddy wagons approach, following news that things between the government and SAC Capital are turning from bad to worse and that Stevie Cohen, responsible for up to 10-15% of daily NYSE volume, may be testifying before a grand jury soon. The news itself sent S&P futures briefly lower when it hit last night, showing just how influential the CT hedge fund is for overall market liquidity in a world in which the bulk of market "volume" is algos collecting liquidity rebates and churning liquid stocks back and forth to one another.
Five days ago, when describing the launch of the joint-US, South Korean naval military exercise in the East Sea, we said that "for all his endless posturing, North Korea's Un has done absolutely nothing. And if his inability and unwillingness to translate threats into actions continue, that will pretty much be it for North Korea's hope to even get a few loose pennies as a nuisance factor" be it from the US, Japan, South Korea, or anyone else who is listening. It seems the North Korean leader has taken the hint, and overnight escalated from merely constant jawboning into at least some variant of activity, when he fired three short-range missiles into the sea off the eastern coast of the Korean peninsula on Saturday, "once again stirring tensions that had appeared to ease in the wake of a recent series of bellicose statements directed at South Korea and the U.S."
For all his endless posturing, North Korea's Un has done absolutely nothing. And if his inability and unwillingness to translate threats into actions continue, that will pretty much be it for North Korea's hope to even get a few loose pennies as a nuisance factor. This may be tested in the next 48 hours as South Korea and the US begin two days of joint naval exercises off the country's east coast, involving the nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier CVN 68 Nimitz. Perhaps more informative than North Korea's bluster will be to see what if any reaction China has to a US presence in a hotly contested (with Japan) naval territory.
Kenya, Australia, Poland and now South Korea. The country, whose net exports represent nearly 60% of GDP, and which have been deeply impacted by the recent collapse in the Yen, finally threw in the towel overnight and cut the benchmark seven-day repurchase rate from 2.75% to 2.50%, as only 6 of 20 economists predicted. The reason the move was surprising is that just like China, which overnight reported CPI of 2.4% on expectations of 2.3%, the country still has pent up inflation concerns, however it appears that preserving economic growth and its export potential is more important to the country bordered by North Korea, than price stability. The result of this largely unexpected move is a strengthening in the Yen overnight, if only by some 30 pips in the USDJPY.
While details are somewhat sketchy of the reasons, Kenneth Bae (a US Citizen known by the Korean rendering Pae Jun-Ho and likely unrelated to this gentleman) has been sentenced to 15 years 'hard labor' for committing 'hostile crimes' against the regime. As AP notes, Bae was arrested in November after entering the China/North-Korea special economic zone city of Rason as a tourist. Of course, there could be well-reasoned facts that lead to the need for this man to serve this sentence - though it seems former-President Jimmy Carter may soon be traveling to North Korea (likely without Dennis Rodman) to seek Bae's release. We hope this is not a temper-tantrum from the nation's leader for not causing enough uproar with his rhetoric earlier in the month...mirroring 2009's US-vs-North Korea standoff.
- Physical demand up: U.S. Mint Sales of Gold Coins Jump to Highest in Three Years (BBG)
- Paper demand down: Gold ETP Holdings Cap Record Drop as $17.9 Billion Wiped Out (BBG)
- It's May 1 not April 1: Fed Seen Slowing Stimulus With QE Cut by End of This Year (BBG)
- Another great step for Abenomics: Sony leadership to forgo bonuses after broken promise on profits (FT)
- High-Speed Traders Exploit Loophole (WSJ)
- It's peanut Breaburn jelly time: How Google UK clouds its tax liabilities (Reuters)
- Frowny face day at the Mark Zandi household: Obama Said to Choose Watt to Lead Fannie Mae Regulator (BBG)
- Russia’s 20 Biggest Billionaires Keep Riches From Putin (BBG)
- China Affair With Cheap Diamonds Heats Mass Market (BBG)
- China's emotional ties to North Korea run deep in border city (Reuters)
- US companies must use cash piles for capex (FT) ... and yet they aren't. Tax anyone who doesn't spend for CapEx!
- Chinese Way of Doing Business: In Cash We Trust (NYT)
People always stop and stare at traffic accidents (no matter how minor) and arguing couples (no matter how unattractive); ConvergEx's Nick Colas has the same problem with the ever-moribund CBOE VIX Index, even though it’s essentially the exact opposite of the proverbial train wreck. Even with the zombie-like march higher for US stocks, surely the uncertain state of the world would demand more than a 13-handle VIX? Well, it doesn’t; and Nick offers up some off-the-beaten track explanations for why “13” isn’t the right answer. Implied volatility should either be higher or… (gulp)… much lower. The biggest overlooked factor for both directions: the role of technology in society and commerce.
As Boston and U.S. security agencies congratulate themselves over the apparent neutralization of a pair of Chechens that bombed the Boston Marathon, troubling questions are beginning to arise. First and foremost is, why a pair of Chechens, born in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, apparently committed the attack? For possible answers, one must looks beyond the present and delve into Russia’s and the USSR’s past policies towards Chechnya, and since 1991, U.S. policy in the Caucasus, which since the 1991 implosion of the USSR had a single focus – the exploitation of the Caspian’s massive energy reserves. It is a history that makes for deeply uncomfortable reading, but one that may eventually provide some answers to seemingly intractable questions. The history below, virtually unknown in the US, is deeply known to the Chechens; and while nothing excuses the terrible actions, the US is hardly blameless about the carnage visited on the Tsarnaev's ancestral homeland.
- Turn to Religion Split Bomb Suspects' Home (WSJ)
- The propaganda is back for the 4th year in a row: Spring Swoon Sequel No Reason for Economic Growth Scare in U.S. (BBG)
- Bernanke Jackson Hole Absence Contrasts With Greenspan Adulation (BBG)
- Large economies promise to boost growth (FT)
- Tata Faces Crisis as $20 Billion Spent on Water (BBG)
- U.S. Eyes Pushback On China Hacking (WSJ)
- Fed's Bernanke sees no U.S. inflation risks: Nowotny (Reuters)
- Austerity on Trial With U.S. Versus Europe Amid New Evidence (BBG)
- Eurozone anti-austerity camp on the rise (FT)
- Spain Aims to Soften Budget Cuts (WSJ)
- Japan's Aso Calls Recovery 'Few Years' Away (WSJ)
- BOJ Said to Consider Price Forecast Upgrade (WSJ)