blog.milesfranklin.com / Andrew Hoffman / October 1st, 2014
When I was a buy-side analyst at a NYC hedge fund from 1996-98, our portfolio consisted primarily of small-cap, over-the-counter stocks. Many had large bid-asked spreads, tempting the fund’s managers to “paint the tape” by purchasing small lots with “market on close” orders at the end of each quarter. That way the portfolio was “marked up” in time for our quarterly fee assessments – which, naturally, were based on fund’s size. This practice, though not “illegal,” was – and still is – common practice; yet another reason why I eventually left Wall Street, kicking and screaming. Such “tape painting” is not only unethical but manipulative and borderline felonious.
Tape painting, of course, is not just limited to sniveling “hedge bombs,” but corporations, municipalities and sovereign nations as well. For corporations, Lehman Brothers was the poster child of “window dressing” its balance sheet at quarter’s end, engaging in overnight repurchase agreements that temporarily boosted its balance sheet before being unwound the following day. Sadly, this practice is not only alive and well, as “TBTF” banks are, in reality,far more insolvent than in 2008. And thus, the below graph of Federal Reserve initiated repurchase agreements over the past five quarters shouldn’t surprise anyone. To wit, when Lehman Brothers engaged in such deception, it did so via overnight “repos” with other banks; while today, the Fed itself is initiating!
zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden on 10/01/2014 14:05
Thanks to The Federal Reserve’s extreme monetary policy, “the prospective return of asset classes is very narrow,” warns Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio, with expected returns for equities of “only about 4 percent.” This is a problem, he explains in this brief clip, as monetary policy relies on that transmission mechanism of apparent wealth creation to keep the dream alive. In Europe and Japan there is no “spread”, Dalio notes, and in the US it is miniscule – which means monetary policy is practically ineffective. While he believes in the short-term, the US economy can maintain stability (not commenting on the market per se), his “biggest concern is when the next downturn comes in 1-2 years,” the central bank must be on the ‘tighter’ side of market expectations to be capable of providing its life-giving elixir once again. Simply put, Dalio sums up “there is always a downturn” – something that no Wall Street economist is expecting.
blog.milesfranklin.com / By Bill Holter / October 1st, 2014
Sometimes seemingly unrelated news is actually joined at the hip and directly related. For example, what does Bill Gross leaving PIMCO, China announcing “yuan for euro” direct trade and unrest in Ukraine, ISIS overrunning part of Syria and Iraq, and the recent protests in Hong Kong …have in common? I’ll talk briefly about each and give you some clues along the way to an obvious ending.
First, Bill Gross left PIMCO last week to join Janus funds. He started the funds over 30 years ago and had grown assets under management to the staggering number of over $2 trillion! The vast majority of assets held are bonds or some sort of bond/interest rate derivative. The bull market in bonds which began in 1982 and started with a 15.375% coupon, 20 year Treasury yield has run its course to almost nonexistent yields. A simple question might be something like “what will happen to bonds when interest rates begin to rise?” Or another, “what will happen to bond’s collateral if these low rates have created asset bubbles?” (They have, everywhere).
traderdannorcini.blogspot.com / By Dan Norcini / October 1, 2014
Stocks continue to waver with some investors fretting about overall slowing global economic growth. The September Manufacturing PMI numbers were released this morning by the Institute for Supply Management showing a fall to 56.6 from August’s 59.0 reading. The reading remains above 50 showing continued expansion but the pace slowed and that is feeding into those concerns noted above.
The one number that I found noteworthy was the New Orders index. That fell to 60.0 from August’s 66.7, which was a multi-year high according to Dow Jones. Again, nothing strongly negative but it does reflect a slowing trend and that is spooking equity bulls somewhat.
That is bringing some strong buying into the bond market which notched a three week high today.
The flip side to this were numbers out of China. It’s version of the manufacturing PMI came in at a 51.1 reading for September. That was steady with the August reading.
zerohedge.com / by Chis Dalby via OilPrice.com / 10/01/2014 13:37
In June 2014, computer files captured from a courier for the Islamic State shortly after the fall of Mosul revealed that the group had assets of $875 million, largely gained in the sacking and looting of Mosul and its central bank.
The size of the group’s bank account has now risen to an estimated $2 billion dollars, thanks in part to revenues from ransom paid for kidnapped foreigners and more pillaging. However, oil remains the group’s primary source of income.
The 11 oil fields that IS controls in Iraq and Syria have made it a largely independent financial machine. Reports show that IS-controlled fields in Iraq produce between 25,000 and 40,000 barrels of oil per day, at an estimated value of approximately $1.2 million, before being smuggled out to Iran, Kurdistan, Turkey and Syria.
That doesn’t account for revenue from oil fields that IS has held much longer in Syria, which take the Islamist group’s daily profit to just under $3 million.
news.goldseek.com / By Bob Loukas / 1 October 2014
Everywhere you turn today, gold is again being dismissed as a relic of the past, totally worthless, non-producing, with no place in any modern day portfolio. During the past 3 years, the gold complex has experienced the progressive stages of fear, capitulation, and despair, all classic bottoming phases of a long term Cycle. The question now is whether this high level of apathy is a symptom of a new secular bear market or a period of “stealth smart money” accumulation.
As an analysts of market Cycles, I’m encouraged by extremes in sentiment, as it correlates well with major Cycle turns. An asset’s price is just a reflection of the collective markets willingness to own it, so it naturally oscillates in response to changing sentiment, over a predictable period of time. Each ebb & flow of a Cycle may not repeat the last, but they sure do rhyme and they are as natural as breathing.
This brings us to the current Weekly Cycle, now standing at week 17 and in the early portion of the timing band for a Cycle Low. We know from experience that the final days of a Weekly Cycle can be thrilling; at times gold could lose $100 in the final 3 sessions. And that cannot be ruled out here, nobody can predict gold’s price movements over short periods of time. What we have is an asset that is in the timing band for a Daily and Weekly Cycle Low, sentiment at extremes, a COT report that is bullish, and miners that are showing relative strength. This is the very environment that spawns new Cycle rallies, not the setup for sustained declines.
tradewithdave.com / By Dvae / October 1st, 2014
It is time, it is time, for a Lovebrellavution ~ Lenny Kravitz
Dave has been criticized for criticizing social critics such as Russell Brand and Chris Hedges for inciting what Dave refers to as aWristband Revolution of Plastic Pitchforks. You know, a wristband such as the one that seven time Tour de France “winner” Lance Armstrong wore as an outward symbol of his inward blood transfusions also known as “Live Strong” or little plastic pitchforks such as you might find on a Halloween cake.
Then along comes Tim Cook with his Apple Watch and he takes the Wristband Revolution to an entirely new level by turning the revolutionary into a self-imposed ankle bracelet data collection device for the wrist… told ya so. Well, I didn’t see it coming, but I should have known that when it rains it pours and the one thing you don’t want getting wet in a downpour of democracy is your smart phone… ergo… the Bumbershoot… Hands Up!… Don’t Shoot The Bumbershoot!
westernjournalism.com / L. Todd Wood / September 30, 2014
The cows are coming home for Vladimir Putin’s policy of confrontation with the West and the former Soviet republics.
Today, the Russian authorities admitted that capital controls are being considered to halt the net capital outflows, which are said to now be above $100 billion with no end in sight. The sanctions are beginning to hurt. The issue is not necessarily that companies cannot function today, but that investors are looking down the road and voting with their feet, taking their capital with them.
The hit to reputational risk that Russia has intentionally taken is massive. President Putin is showing no sign of slowing down in East Ukraine, with the Ukrainian army suffering its worst day yesterday since the in-name-only cease-fire began several weeks ago. Additional sanctions on Russian firms and individuals are sure to follow. In addition, Russia announced additional SA-400 missile deployments against its western and southern borders, which happens to be where NATO aircraft would approach if things got out of hand in Europe.
telegraph.co.uk / By Richard Dyson / 26 Sep 2014
For years the Royal Mint has sold collectible coins commemmorating special events direct to the public.
But “bullion” coins made for investment purposes – such as Sovereigns, Britannias or Lunars (introduced last year) – have until now been available only through dealers.
Bullion coins are generally produced to a less perfect finish than special-edition coins made for collectors. This means their price tracks more precisely the value of the gold they contain. By comparison, collectable coins typically go on sale – initially at least – for substantially more than the value of the gold they contain.
From this week the Royal Mint offers a bullion-coin service through which individuals can buy as few as one coin at a time directly. Buyers create an online account and buy coins via the Mint’s website, where prices change constantly according to the gold market.
Once the transaction is complete the Mint dispatches the coins in insured mail which – for a “limited time” – is free within Britain.
zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden on 10/01/2014 13:11
The small-cap Russell 2000 is down over 10% from its July highs (down 6.2% year-to-date) as VIX is back over 17. Treasury yields continue to collapse (down 8-9bps today alone) with 10Y trading with a 2.40% handle (and 3Y under 1% again). All other major equity indices are also red from the Russell 2000 peak in July and have broken various key technical levels today – S&P below 100DMA, Dow Industrials below 100DMA, Dow Transports At 100DMA, and Nasdaq broken well below its 50DMA. Russell is back at levels first seen a year ago.
Russell in correction…
kingworldnews.com / October 1, 2014
Today KWN is pleased to share an important piece from 50-year veteran Art Cashin, who is Director of Floor Operations at UBS ($650 billion under management). Cashin includes an important guest commentary which wanrs that the end of QE is already creating fear in major markets. This is an extremely important piece because the massive problem that now exists is how to exit QE without the bottom coming out of key markets.
October 1 (King World News) – “Tuesday’s market was anything but magical. It had some brief Halloween-like scary moments but none were really terrifying and all were rather short-lived.
End Of Quarter Window Washing Leaves Us In Somewhat Familiar Territory – On July 1st, the first day of the third quarter, the S&P closed at 1973. Last night, on the last day of the third quarter, the S&P closed at 1972 (H/T The Kirk Report). Kind of like commuting by roller-coaster.
U.S. stocks opened lower as early economic data tended to disappoint.
The morning selloff bottomed around 10:15, a bit above recent lows in the S&P. In mid-morning, I sent out this synopsis to some friends:
financialflood.blogspot.com.tr / By Erkan Oz / 27 SEPTEMBER 2014
ABENOMICS WILL FAIL
BIS, IMF AND G-20 WARNED THAT THE SYSTEM IS GOING TO COLLAPSE
IN THE NEXT FINANCIAL PANIC THEY MIGHT CLOSE STOCK MARKETS, BANKS, FUNDS ETC
James G. Rickards is an American lawyer, economist, and investment banker. He is a regular commentator on finance, and is the author of The New York Times bestsellers Currency Wars (2011) and The Death of Money (2014).
Rickards worked on Wall Street for 35 years. As general counsel for the hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM), he was the principal negotiator in the 1998 bailout of LTCM by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
In 2001, Rickards began using his financial expertise to aid the US national security community and the US Department of Defense. He served as facilitator of the first ever financial war games conducted by the Pentagon. Currently, James Rickards is a portfolio manager at West Shore Group and he lives in Connecticut.
Rickards attended Forex World Istanbul and delivered a presentation on currency wars at the event on Friday. I found the opportunity to ask a couple of questions to Jim following his book signing event. I am sharing this short interview and Rickards’ exclusive comments here.
-My first question is, what do you think about ‘Abenomics’ this historical money printing experiment taking place in Japan?
-Japan has been in depression since 1990 so it is a 25 years depression. Depressions cannot be solved with liquidity or monetary solutions. Depressions can be solved with structural solutions. You have structural problems so you need structural solutions. Through all this time Japan tried monetary solutions. They tried money printing, they tried lower interest rates, they tried stimulus but they could not make fundamental structural reforms for their economy. So that’s why they were not able to get out of the depression. Abenomics will fail. It is failing unless they make structural solutions. But since they have not I expect their depression to continue and spread throughout the world.
-Why they cannot make these structural changes?
-It is mostly cultural because structural means you have to allow banks to fail you have to allow businesses to fail you have to allow competition you need a greater role for women you have to lower taxes these are structural things they have nothing to do with liquidity or monetary policy. The problem is about how the diet (Japanese parliament), the prime minister’s office and finance minister’s office will organize the economy.
I recently met with Eisuke Sakakibara in Korea. He is called ‘Mr. Yen’. He is former deputy finance minister. He said one of the things you have to understand about Japan is that the population is actually declining so even if you have zero GDP growth the per capita GDP would increase… Japan is not a poor country it is a very rich country. The stores are up the restaurants are up on sale. They don’t feel the press but actually they do not have growth and I expect this to continue.
zerohedge.com / by Tyler Durden on 10/01/2014 12:43
On day four of the OccupyCentral protests in Hong Kong, leaders are expecting the crowds to swell to over 300,000 as National Day celebrations begin. The Chinese government appears to be taking two different approaches to the civil disobedience. First, major crackdowns on the mainland, as FirstPost reports, authorities have detained more than a dozen activists across China and questioned as many as 60 others who expressed support for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests in recent days. However, the government’s approach in Hong Kong appears to be “wait-it-out”, a tactic that would rely on Hongkongers not taking part in the protests becoming fed up with the inconvenience caused by the demonstrations. Of course, how long that tactic remains in place (post National Day) is anyone’s guess especially as student leaders threaten to escalate protests as their deadline for Leung’s resignation looms.
Time-lapse view of the surge in crowds…
europac.net / By: John Browne / October 1, 2014
On September 26th, the English Parliament voted to join the U.S.-led bombing of ISIL, at least in Iraq. The news was received with relief by most in the Anglosphere world and throughout Europe. However, very little regard has been paid to the relative benefits and costs. The military actions that the UK has committed herself to conduct will have a low probability of achieving the stated objective of “degrading and destroying” ISIL. However, there is a much higher likelihood that air strikes from the UK will increase ISIL’s stated objective of projecting fear and terrorism deeper into the West. If that were to occur, the resulting implications for business will be difficult to project.
Despite apparent successes in very different conflicts in Libya and Kosovo, air power alone is unlikely to dislodge ISIL from its dominant position in Western Iraq and eastern Syria. The strategy is like trying to engage a boxer by throwing apples from outside the ring. It may bruise your opponent, but it will not result in victory. It may even cause retribution outside the ring, where the Queensbury rules do not apply. This is particularly apparent when one considers how the parliamentary authorization only applies to territory in Iraq, not Syria. If ISIL does not respect 20th Century borders, why should the West?
The U.S.-led air war appears set to achieve only limited degradation of ISIL’s capabilities. To succeed, air strikes would have to be coupled with a strong, organized, dependable and politically aligned ground force. That half of the equation is not available in Iraq or Syria. ISIL’s brutal “take no-prisoners” policies have been too much for the local, poorly motivated ground forces to confront. An air campaign can certainly be expected to slow ISIL’s progress but it should also be expected to heighten the likelihood of terrorist attacks, particularly within the U.S. and UK. Given the fragility of current markets, such an outcome could be financially catastrophic.
danielamerman.com / By Daniel R. Amerman
The United States government is currently about $17.5 trillion in debt. To place this number in perspective: if we assume that only the above-poverty line households will be making net contributions towards paying this enormous debt, this means that the national debt equals about $180,000 for each “able to pay” household in the US.
With traditional financial planning, the most common way of dealing with this problem – is to completely ignore its existence. Rather than try to incorporate the effects of this massive debt that could transform interest rates, economic growth and rates of return for decades – most investment plans for individuals simply pretend it doesn’t exist.
However, if one is to make reality-based financial decisions over the long-term, then there is no substitute for understanding just how nations actually deal with massive debts in the real world, whether in the United States or in other Western nations with extraordinary levels of debt.
In practice, there are four primary methods which nations use to pay down huge government debts when they have borrowed in their own currency:
1) Decades of austerity with higher taxes and lower government spending. This painful choice can lower economic growth rates for decades, and fundamentally change investment returns. It is also overt and clearly understood by voters, and can thus have devastating political implications.
2) Defaulting on government debts. This radical option can devastate bond and stock portfolios, bank deposits and retirement accounts. It is also clearly understood by voters, and thus can have devastating political repercussions.
wallstreetonparade.com / By Pam Martens and Russ Martens / October 1, 2014
Wall Street’s crime spree has been coming at the public for the past six years like a geyser spewing from a broken water main. It’s been tough for the public to keep tract of the twists and turns, and equally so for Congress.
What has been lost in all the media frenzy over the tapes released by Carmen Segarra, an attorney and bank examiner at the New York Fed who was fired for wanting to hold Goldman Sachs accountable, according to her lawsuit, is that four other regulatory lawyers have stepped forward from 2006 to earlier this year to report that their Wall Street regulator has been captured. In the case of those four, the captured regulator is the Securities and Exchange Commission.
When you have five Wall Street insiders with law degrees telling you that Wall Street regulators are not upholding the laws they are mandated to enforce while the nation is still struggling to recover from an epic financial crash this corrupt cronyism produced just six years ago, it’s time to allow the public to hear directly from all of these voices at one Senate witness table.
On March 27 of this year, a 28-year legal veteran at the SEC, James Kidney, used the occasion of his retirement party to deliver a blistering assessment of the regulatory capture at this key Wall Street watchdog. Kidney castigated upper management at the SEC for policing “the broken windows on the street level” while ignoring the “penthouse floors.” Kidney further noted that “On the rare occasions when Enforcement does go to the penthouse, good manners are paramount. Tough enforcement – risky enforcement – is subject to extensive negotiation and weakening.”
arabianmoney.net / By Peter Cooper / 01 October 2014
The latest news from Hong Kong is that pro-democracy protestors whose ranks have swelled to 100-150,000 today issued an ultimatum calling for full democracy to the CEO of Hong Kong. This may lead to a conflict with the police though so far this is a friendly demonstration. Hong Kong stocks have fallen every day that the protest has continued.
Bloomberg’s Andrew Davis reports on pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong as protesters continue to block streets for a sixth day in a standoff against the Chinese government. He speaks on ‘Bloomberg Surveillance’…
charleshughsmith.blogspot.com / By CHARLES HUGH SMITH / OCTOBER 01, 2014
Those waiting for the U.S. and its dollar to collapse in a heap may find their own stability is more contingent (and fleeting) than they reckoned.
Many observers (including myself) question the coherence of U.S. foreign policy in the Mideast: The Fatal Incoherence of the Bush/Obama Foreign Policy (June 18, 2014).
In my view, the incoherence stems from the intrinsic conflict between traditional (i.e. pre-1941) U.S. foreign policy (based on an uneasy marriage of non-intervention and the explicitly interventionist Monroe Doctrine) and the anti-imperialist values of the Founding Fathers, and the demands of maintaining global hegemony.
The other source of incoherence is the recent policy dominance of an intrinsically incoherent ideology of neo-Conservative Imperialism that is disconnected from both traditional non-interventionist U.S. values and the nuanced demands of maintaining global hegemony.
If we strip away these sources of incoherence, we’re left with the Deep State playing the Great Game of controlling the master resource, oil. A consistent narrative has little value in the playing of this game, other than for public-relations value, and those seeking a single narrative are inevitably perplexed by the multiple paradoxes and agendas of the Deep State.
This leads many observers to declare the Deep State’s game plan a disaster.
The important question is: which game plan? The incoherent one articulated by the president and his secretary of state? Or the one that nobody lays out because it would be the equivalent of showing everyone at the table all your cards?
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