Gold and silver have surged to new record nominal highs in dollar terms (all time and 31 year) with the dollar falling sharply on international markets. Silver has continued to surge in all currencies and has surged to a new record nominal high of $46.25/oz (£27.85/oz and €31.54/oz) on growing rumours of a short squeeze involving a billionaire or state interest attempting to corner the silver market. The massive concentrated short positions of some Wall Street banks have incurred serious losses and a desperate attempt to close their futures positions due to the tight physical marketplace may be leading to a short squeeze. This is something that GoldCore and a few other analysts have warned of for some time. We have long said that the very small silver market was ripe for cornering by private or state interests and that appears to be happening on some level. However, there are an increasingly large number of silver buyers who realize the market can be cornered and they are buying in anticipation of this event. The blogosphere has again been ahead of the curve and dismissal of much circumstantial evidence of silver manipulation, a short squeeze etc. as “conspiracy theories” is becoming less easy to do. It looks like many investors internationally and one or a few private individuals and states are cornering the silver market. At one stage the Hunt Brothers cornering of the market was a “conspiracy theory” – it soon became fact.
Despite attempts by virtually everyone to bury the Sokol alleged frontrunning scandal due to the ongoing embarrassment it presents to some of the most revered "institutions" within America's crony capitalist system, it just refuses to do so. The latest development comes from Delaware Chancery Court, where we find that Mason Kirby, a shareholder of Berkshire has just sued Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett, David Sokol among other BRK directors, over the purported frontrunning Lubrizol frontrunning by David Sokol. As summarized in the pleading, the complaint is no surprise: "David L Sokol (“Sokol”), a former Berkshire employee and key lieutenant to Warren E. Buffett (“Buffett”), Berkshire CEO, used his position of influence to profit for himself at the expense of Berkshire. As a result of Sokol’s unethical behavior Berkshire suffered significant reputational losses and other damages....Buffett and Sokol, working in concert, breached their duties to Berkshire and its shareholders through these actions and put the Company at risk for a potential adverse SEC action and negative credit rating – events which would be detrimental to the Company. Once the Sokol trades were disclosed, and Sokol resigned from Berkshire, Berkshire’s stock price fell. This immediate stock drop evidences the reputational impairment that Berkshire took as a result of this conduct." As a result of this alleged breach, the plaintiff is suing the Berkshire Board who "violated and breached their fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, reasonable inquiry, oversight, and supervision." Kirby also "seeks restitution from Sokol, and seeks an order of this Court directing disgorgment of all profits, benefits and other compensation obtained by Sokol from Berkshire, including any profit he made or will make in relation to his Lurizol holdings, based on his wrongful conduct and fiduciary breaches."
Bad News For GM: As China's Own "Cash For Clunkers" Program Ends, Car Sales Come Far Below Expectations; BYD Sales PlungeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/12/2011 17:38 -0400
Two months ago we reported that the recently bailed out Unionized Carmaker, for whom China (where they apparently do not care about falling steering wheels) has become a market more important than even the US, had seen some jarring demand weakness, following a 10% drop in January sales. We now learn that GM was not only the beneficiary of last year's Cash For Clunkers program in the US, but has been the recipient of recent incentives offered in the domestic Chinese market. Alas those are now over, and as Bloomberg reports "China’s passenger-car sales grew in March at a pace that was below forecasts after incentives ended and fuel prices rose, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said." That's putting it mildly: for an economy in which a growth rate of 10% is considered stagnating, what happened in March was equivalent to a drubbing: "Dispatches of cars including multipurpose vehicles and sport-utility vehicles to dealerships rose 6.52 percent from a year earlier to 1.3 million units, the association said in a statement today. That pace was about one-tenth of the 63 percent sales increase reported in March of last year." Which brings us to the question of the day: how does one spell "short GM" in Mandarin? Yet the irony of the day award goes to Charlie Munger, who may or may not have been completely "open" with his purchase of BYD shares: BYD sales plunge in March by 41% (Y/Y). Suck it in, Charlie.
Earlier today Leon Cooperman, founder of Omega Advisors, took some time from his busy schedule of buying stocks, to bash Mike Stinhardt's moment of truth from last week, and to reaffirm his praise at the altar of crony capitalism by defending Warren Buffett. There is little we can add here, suffice to remind readers that the Omega Advisors' "hedge" fund was down by a whopping 36% in 2008 and was one of the worst performing hedge funds in the Great Financial Crisis (GFC), surely knows all about government funded rescues of the economy and those who ride on its coattails... not to mention the ensuing career risk in the absence of one.
A few days ago, we disclosed that based on David Sokol's testimony to CNBC, Buffett's right hand man, Charlie Munger, may be just as guilty of a comparable attempt at frontrunning a Berkshire purchase through his previously undisclosed holdings of a 3% stake in BYD. And despite the Octogenarian's wishes that this story remain dead and buried, Bloomberg has decided to once again bring it up to popular attention. "Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Vice Chairman Charles Munger said his family was invested in BYD Co. “for years” before his company took a stake in the Chinese automaker and that he disclosed the financial interest to his business partner Warren Buffett. “I certainly suggested that Berkshire look at investing in
something that the Mungers were already invested in, but we’d
been in it for years,” he said today in a telephone interview." Of course, since there is no way to check,the general public will be happy to just take Munger's word. After all, he is just as old and cuddly as that other guy, who following the recent spate of negative publicity, and especially Mike Steinhardt's scathing review today, will very soon need his own reality show to preserve his "reputation." Either way, here is the validation fro Munger why the SEC should not be currently deposing him: "I had Dave look at it, because I knew I couldn’t talk
Warren into buying into the damn thing by myself. It’s a new technology-type investment. But David went over
there, and he made the deal for Berkshire. I recused myself. But there’s no
question about it, that I caused Dave’s original interest." Of course, we would love to take Munger's word for it: after all he represents just the same level of "integrity" as Buffett. But in the meantime, we would love to know at what price Munger made his purchase, and, well, when, because at last check in the "years" preceding 2008, the stock was trading pretty much in line with any price achieved in 2008, not to mention the surge once the Buffett investment was announced. And we are convinced that while his self-proclaimed recusal will placate everyone that Munger may have committed a crime, perhaps the SEC should ask a question or two. If nothing else, than at least to clear the Vice-Chairman's now thoroughly besmirched reputation.
Michael Steinhardt Tells The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Especially The Truth About The Greatest "Con Job": Warren BuffettSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/05/2011 14:49 -0400
Just after dawn, hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt appeared on CNBC as the token contrarian in the Titans of Groupthink series. After some pleasantries we hit the 6 minutes mark where the formerly trite narrative experienced a flash crash. In the most candid discussion of the truth in America, Steinhardt said that “we live in an inland sea of calm waters while surrounding us are turbulent, horrible places,” to which everyone nodded soberly in agreement, unaware of what was coming next. “America seems almost as insular as it has in times past,” He continued. “America is not the wonderful place it used to be... Look at the rest of the world compared to America, look what’s happening all over and then here the biggest thing we have to worry about is how long it will take Buffett to come down to earth…how long until people like you begin to realize his reality and get off some…cloud.” Yet the smackdown of the Becky Quick/Joe Kernen Buffett-sycophant brigade was the prime attraction by far.
The alleged scandal surrounding once-presumed Warren Buffett heir apparent David Sokol has quite predictably generated all manner of breathy headlines about a Teflon-coated Berkshire Hathaway suffering a besmirched reputation. As if often the case, the supposed ill deed in no way measures up to the hype.
The market was relatively quiet today as investors brace themselves for tomorrow's Labor Force Participation Rate Report...
Christine Harper, Michael Moore and Bob Ivry have been quite busy today. After poring through the lifetime legacy project of their late colleague Mark Pittman, the trio may have just made a discovery that in a non-banana republic could be enough to at least force a special hearing into whether Goldman COO Gary Cohn committed perjury while testifying to the FCIC on June 30. The culprit: Goldman's (ab)use of the discount window not once, not twice, but five times. Well everyone else was doing it, especially Goldman's insolvent peers like JPM, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Bank of America, Wachovia, UBS, Credit Suisse and, well, everyone else. So what's wrong with that? Here's what: "Goldman Sachs President and Chief Operating Officer Gary D. Cohn told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission June 30 that “we used it one night at the request of the Fed to make sure our systems were linked with their systems, and it was for a de minimis amount of money.” Peter J. Wallison, a member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, then asked, “you never had to use it after that?” “No, and as I said, we used it on the Fed’s request,” Cohn replied. Alas, that is a lie. And last time we checked, lying to Congress under oath is not quite the right the way to conduct God's work (and yes, a perfectly innocuous "I don't recall" ala David Sokol from his CNBC interview would have sufficed). Alas no: Goldman just had to demonstrate how very immune from the legal process it is, by "risking" its credibility and reputation with the assumption that it is either never wrong, or, like Warren Buffett, that it can never be caught doing wrong. Well, it just was.
Alice Schroeder, who once upon a time was the current "Becky Quicky" of Buffett's inner circle (although to her not so great loss not allowed in the inner sanctum of the NetJets mile high club) until she turned rogue on the billionaire and wrote something not quite so flattering about the Octogenarian of Omaha, whose bubble of unparalleled hypocrisy has just popped, has now burned every last bridge to the annual borg collective meeting at Borsheims, writing the most scathing narrative of the revalations from the last 24 hours. Oh well, we can only advise Buffett and his sidekick Munger to suck it up, now that the dirty laundry of America's dream wealth creator is exposed for all to see.
Finding the Holy Grail of cheap lithium batteries. BYD’s E6 promises a 200 mile range for $40,000.The globally integrated, low cost business model beats all. Making competitors obsolete before they even enter the market. Building a “stealth” US dealer network. What will happen to my Nissan Leaf? Is there a ten bagger here in the stock? (BYDDF).
This is not "Commie talk" people. If you are not one of the Forbes 400 you are either a victim or a victim-in-waiting because what do you think the 400 will do when the bottom 90% are bled dry?
The following is another exclusive transcript put together by the guys at Santangel's Review. In his must read testimony in front of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Warren Buffett explains what he believes saved the global financial system during the depths of the crisis.
While there may have been a tsunami in Japan (and Money McBags heard rumors that it was caused by...