America's Military-Industrial Addiction

"...the dreaded Military-Industrial Complex isn’t just a shadowy cabal manipulating policies against the will of the American people... Instead, the military and the vast economic network it feeds presents a far more 'complex' issue that involves millions of self-interested Americans just as Eisenhower predicted..."

Citi Lays Out The "Black Swans" That Donald Trump Would Unleash If He Becomes President

With less than 90 days left until the presidential election, Citi's Dana Paterson writes that the "election risks clock starts now." Here is how Citi previews the upcoming US election which "may generate extremely high uncertainty that likely will impose a significant drag on economic growth", and Citi's breakdown of Black Swans, mostly associated with a Trump presidency.

US Futures Dip, European Stocks Slide After EU Court Slams Italian Bank Bailout Plans

After a head-scratching S&P500 rally - which not even Goldman has been able to justify - pushed stocks to new all time highs with seemingly daily record highs regardless of fundamentals or geopolitical troubles, overnight US equity futures dipped modestly, tracking weak European stocks as demand for safe haven assets including U.S. Treasuries and gold rises. Asian stocks outside Japan fall. Crude oil trades near $45 a barrel. 

Meanwhile In Europe: Juncker Approved, Hague Out, Lord Hill To Brussels: What Does It Mean?

This morning and last night saw three developments with importance for the UK’s Europe debate:

William Hague resigned as Foreign Secretary, replaced by Phillip Hammond, with the Cabinet becoming more Eurosceptic overall,
In nominating Lord Hill – the current leader of House of Lords – as the UK’s European Commissioner, Number 10 prioritised a ‘fixer’ and avoiding by-election over sending a heavy-hitter,
MEPs approved Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission President by 422 votes to 250, marking the starting point of a more politicised European Commission.

"The Captain" Says Goodbye: The Full Final Edition Of The Privateer

For 727 editions, and nearly 30 years, Bill Buckler, the "captain" of the free market-praising Privateer newsletter provided a welcome escape from a world overrun with "free-lunch" economists, "for-hire" politicians, "crony-capitalist" oligarchs, "heroin-addict" bankers, "the-solution-to-record-debt-is-more-record-debt" Keynesians, and all those other subclasses of that species which Einstein, or whoever, described so aptly in saying that they all expect a different, and happy, outcome when applying the same flawed methods over and over. And for 30 years, Buckler's steadfast determination and adherence to his arguments, beliefs, reasoning and ironclad logic brought him countless followers, all of whom are now able to see past the bread and circus facade of a world every day on the edge of political and social collapse. Sadly, all good things come to an end, and so does The Privateer. We are delighted to celebrate its illustrious memory by presenting to our readers the final, must read, issue of the newsletter which encapsulates the philosophy and ideology of its author - a man much respected and admired in the free market circles - and thirty years of objective, unbiased market and economic commentary, best of all.

Too Much European Integration? Romanian Donkey Meat In UK "Beef" Burgers

Thanks to a law banning horses from Romanian roads, the ever-enterprising and integrated European Union workers have apparently found a use for the millions of horses and donkeys that were slaughtered. In a bizarre report from The Independent, it appears 'donkey meat' has turned up on the shelves of British, French, and Swedish supermarket shelves (and no it doesn't taste like chicken or ass). The unintended consequence of the Romanian horse (and donkey) ban appears to follow a truly remarkable path from abattoirs in Romania (who must be busy) to a dealer in Cyprus (subcontracting for a Dutch dealer) to a meat plant in France which sold its frozen 'meat' onto a distributor in Luxembourg. French and British governments have forced the removal of the 'fake' beef from supermarket shelves as "a case of fraud and conspiracy against the public." Given last week's incredible footage from Greece, we suspect more than a few are willing to choke it down, as for now the British are pushing to ban meat imports.

Morning Musings From Art Cashin

What Caused The May 6th Flash Crash? – It was not a “fat thumb”. It was not human error. It was simply mindless order routing by computers who appeared to send orders to “favorite spots” that had no liquidity in a crisis. SEC Chair, May Shapiro, revealed yesterday that error trades (traders 60%, or more, away from their prices at 2:40) took place in 326 securities. A stunning 21,000 trades were canceled, all on the all-electronic exchanges. There were no cancelations of any trades done on the NYSE floor system. The vast majority of the cancelations came in ETFs. No ETFs trade on the NYSE floor and, thus, there are no protective speed bumps. It was all just computers, pre-programmed to route orders to a favorite exchange that lost all its liquidity when pressure hit. They could just as well have sent those orders to a cigar store in Paterson, New Jersey. Heck, they might have even got a better bid.

Goodbye David Paterson? Governor's Top Aide Holds Emergency Meeting With Entire Staff, Topic Unknown (But Likely Guessed)

Update: Nope. It's not what everyone expected. MSNBC reports this is the resignation of the director of communications. It appears Patterson is sticking until the bitter end.

Is this the end for troubled New York Governor David Paterson? The Wall Street Journal has just reported that "his top aide is convening an emergency meeting of the administration's entire staff Thursday afternoon. Larry Schwartz, the governor's chief of staff, alerted the staff about the 2:30 p.m. EST meeting by email on Thursday, but didn't specify what would be discussed." One thing is certain: the New York governor, presiding over a state which recently was declared to be out of cash as early as March (so, well, now), will likely be all to happy to hand over the baton to his replacement, most likely current AG Cuomo.

Morning Thoughts From Art Cashin

Influence Of Dollar/Euro Mutates Somewhat. Is It Real Or Temporary? – Stocks rose in light volume regaining nearly all of Tuesday’s losses. Crude oil also regained its losses from the prior day. Gold, however, opted out of the traditional troika. Some of the stock gain was attributed to assurances in the Bernanke testimony that rates would remain low for a very long time. Certainly, the timing of the morning rally lent credibility to the Bernanke influence. Stock rose almost vertically around 10:20 as his testimony began. The dollar’s movements showed some muted influence on both stocks and oil. Shortly after stock trading had begun, the dollar weakened from pre-dawn levels. There was an Alice in Wonderland type thesis around the mid-morning softening of the dollar. It occurred as TV screens showed the demonstrations in Greece turning rather ugly. The thinking was that European partners might be more motivated to help, lest the violence worsen and spread to other challenged sovereigns. As the images left the screens, the dollar began to tick back up. - Art Cashin

Expecting A Tax Refund? If You Live In Hawaii Or North Carolina (And Soon New York) You Will Have To Wait

Two weeks ago we warned readers who wanted to get 2009 tax refunds to file their taxes asap. It appears we were prescient. The state budget crisis is about to hit home. Again. Last year California delayed tax refunds due to simply not having any money which to refund. This year, the first states to announce a hold in refund processing for just the same reason are Hawaii and North Carolina. New York State is also considering a comparable action. If you have delayed filing your taxes, it is high time to do so now regardless of where you live as the same "money-saving" approach of halting refunds is likely about to become prevalent now that "everyone is doing it."