by Zero Hedge - July 1st, 2016 5:30 pm
By nearly all accounts, Obamacare has been a spectacular failure. Whether it’s the fact that half of the cooperatives created by Obamacare had to shut down costing taxpayers roughly $1.2 billion, or that insurance premiums are exploding higher, or perhaps just having to find a new healthcare plan since the largest US health insurer decided to divorce itself from the Obamacare exchanges, it all points to disaster.
When it comes to the latest Obamacare enrollment figures, the story remains the same. As The Hill reports, Obamacare enrollment dropped to about 11.1 million people at the end of March, down from the 12.7 million who signed up for coverage before the January 31 deadline.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said that a dropoff was expected, and has occurred in previous years as well, given that some people who sign up do not pay their premiums – we wonder why that is. The administration says it projects that about 10 million people will remain signed up by the end of the year. Said otherwise, they government is planning on another 1.1 million dropping out of Obamacare before the end of the year.
Kevin Counihan, the CEO of the Obamacare marketplaces, said the fact that about a million more people are signed up than at a similar point last year (11.1 million compared to 10.2 million) is a sign of success. We suspect Kevin is conveniently forgetting the fact that the CBO had projected that 2016 enrollment would be as high as 21 million people – but perhaps missing projections by nearly half is a sign of success in the government’s eyes.
Here is how Counihan is spinning the results:
“This increased level of enrollment demonstrates the strength of the Marketplace over time, as millions of Americans continue to have access to quality and affordable coverage when they need it. As of early this year, 20 million Americans had coverage thanks to provisions of the Affordable Care Act, and the Health Insurance Marketplace is an important contributor to that progress.”
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Then again, despite the incredible miss in enrollment compared to projections, and ignoring the fact that the enrollment level dropped once again, perhaps Obamacare did actually achieve its ultimate goal. As we reported earlier this week, Obamacare accounted for 58% of US growth in Q1.
by Zero Hedge - July 1st, 2016 5:00 pm
After a wild few weeks…
VIX dropped almost 42% this week – its biggest decline in history – as nerves settled over Brits’ decision to “leave” the EU.
A bigger “relief” than the end of the Gulf War, than the post-Bear Stearns fund liquidations bounce as Central Banks saved the world, and than the last minute decision to not shut down the US government on Dec 31st 2012, “Bre-lief” is indeed the great dumping of protection in history…
by Zero Hedge - July 1st, 2016 4:30 pm
Quite a week.
Last week, the markets rallied in anticipation Britain would “Remain” in the European Union which reversed the sell-off from the previous week. Despite a variety of polls and betting sites showing rising odds of Britain remaining in the EU, the “inconceivable” occurred last Thursday proving everyone wrong.
But this week, the markets proved everyone “wrong” again. I suggested on Tuesday that Central Banks would come to the rescue once again, that happened yesterday as both the BOE and ECB made announcements hinting at more QE this summer. To wit:
- BOE: SOME MONETARY POLICY EASING LIKELY OVER SUMMER
- BOE: MPC WILL DISCUSS FURTHER POLICY INSTRUMENTS IN AUG
- ECB: TO WEIGH LOOSER QE RULES AS BREXIT DEPLETES ASSET POOL
- ECB: OPTIONS TO INCLUDE MOVING AWAY FROM QE CAPITAL KEY
- ECB: CONCERNED ABOUT SHRINKING POOL OF ELIGIBLE DEBT
For those predicting financial market chaos and mayhem, Central Banks has successfully juiced asset prices erasing the majority of the previous losses.
“There are times in portfolio management where ‘doing nothing’ is better than ‘doing something.’ This is one of those times.”
Any action taken over the last two weeks has likely turned out to be wrong. The problem for investors remains that markets have made “no progress” over the last 13-months. While volatility has increased, returns on assets remain muted which continues to frustrates individuals.
Fundamentally and economically there is little cheer about and on a longer-term basis, as shown below, the markets remain in what appears to be a broadening market topping process.
The question remains whether Central Banks can continue to keep asset prices aloft while the economy and markets go through a recessionary cycle? Historically, that has never been the case. But then again, we have never had the level of Central Bank interventions currently being witnessed today.
Here is your reading list for the weekend.
“It’s the height of your responsibility to not allow the EU to disintegrate without utilizing all its resources. Throughout history governments have issued bonds in response to national emergencies, When should the AAA credit of the EU be put to use if not at the moment when the European Union is
by Zero Hedge - July 1st, 2016 4:26 pm
Always avoid the last 45 minutes of the “Pit Close” in the Oil Market, unless you have reached the Master`s skill level as a Oil Trader, and even then you better be on your A-Game as a Trader. Institutional Traders often close out or initiate new positions on the last 5-minute bar of the “Pit Trading Session” which often results in large relative volume to overall market liquidity dynamics and leads to explosive spikes in Oil at the close (1:30 CST).
by Zero Hedge - July 1st, 2016 4:06 pm
We hope this helps…
Quite a week!!!
- S&P +3.3% – best week since Oct 2014 Bullard Bounce
- “Most Shorted” stocks =10.1% in last 4 days – biggest squeeze since May 2009
- Financials +3% – best week in 3 months
- 30Y Treasury yield to record low – best week in 3 months
- Silver +11.25% – best week since Aug 2013
- Gold up 5 weeks in a row
- Oil +3.2% – best week in six weeks
- Copper +5.5% – best week in 3 months
Since Brexit, bonds and bullion remain best and stocks tried their best to scramble back to unch…
The Dow has been the best post-Brexit performer… gettuing with 9 Dow points of the pre-Brexit close…
S&P at 2,100 and Dow at 18,000 were as crucial as getting green to Brexit…
On a yuuge short squeeze…(biggest weekly rise in “Most Shorted” in 4 months)
BUT the last 4 days’ 10.1% surge is the biggest since May 2009!
On no volume…
It’s been quite a few weeks for VIX… its biggest drop in history this week
While financials had a great week, they are still down over 2% from Brexit…
And the curve just keeps running away from them…
Treasury yields have tumbled since Brexit, reaccelerating lower today…
To record lows for 10Y and 30Y…
As 2s30s curve crahses to its lowest since Jan 2008 – when the last recession was underway…
FX markets were choppy but volatility dropped as The USD Index slid 4 days in row…
Commodities all rose on the week but Crude remain slower post-Brexit as Silver explodes…
Crude rallied thgrough the NYMEX close for the 10th day of the last 11 and extended on…
Silver is up 14% in the last 6 days post-Brexit… pushing for $20… the biggest surge since August 2013…
by Zero Hedge - July 1st, 2016 3:50 pm
In Tuesday’s indictment of free trade as virtual economic treason, The Donald has really set the cat down among the pigeons.
For, in denouncing NAFTA, the WTO, MFN for China and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, all backed by Bush I and II, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, Trump is all but calling his own party leaders dunderheads and losers.
And he seems to be winning the argument.
As he calls for the repudiation of “globalism” and a return to “Americanism,” a Republican Congress renders itself mute on whether it will even vote on the TPP this year.
On trade, Bernie Sanders is closer to Trump. Even Hillary Clinton has begun to renounce a TPP she once called the “gold standard” of trade deals.
Where have all the troubadours of free trade gone? Why do economic patriots seem ascendant? Is this like the Cold War, where the other side gets up and goes home?
Answer. As Trump pointed out in Monessen in the Mon Valley of Pennsylvania, the returns from free trade are in, and the results are rotten.
Since Bush I, we have run $12 trillion in trade deficits, $4 trillion with China. Once a Maoist dump, China has become the greatest manufacturing power on earth. Meanwhile, the U.S. has lost 50,000 factories and a third of its manufacturing jobs.
Trump is going to start a “trade war,” wail the critics.
But the damage wreaked upon U.S. industry by free traders already rivals what Arthur “Bomber” Harris did for German industry in the Ruhr.
In recent decades, every major U.S. trade partner — China, Japan, Canada, Mexico, EU — has run annual trade surpluses at our expense. How do 40 years of trade deficits in goods, run by a nation that rarely ran one for a century before, make us stronger or wealthier?
Or is what is best for the world now more important than what is best for America?
And here we come to the heart of the argument.
Washington, Hamilton, and Henry Clay, father of the “American System,” and Lincoln and every Republican president up to Eisenhower, crafted trade policies to promote manufacturing to grow the wealth of the USA.
They were patriots not globalists.
They knew that America’s political independence required economic independence of all other nations.
by Zero Hedge - July 1st, 2016 3:33 pm
Following Tuesday’s horrific attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport which resulted in 44 death at the hands of 3 suicide bombers, Turkey was quick to blame the Islamic State for the terrorist act. And while that may be accurate, something surprising has emerged about the alleged ringleader of the group of three men who have been since identified as Russian, Uzbek and Kyrgyz nationals. As Russia’s Kommersant and Turkish media report, a Chechen national suspected of being the mastermind behind the deadly Istanbul airport terrorist attack, had previously received refugee status in Austria, which helped him to repeatedly avoid extradition to Russia on terror charges.
As the complete picture of the latest terrorist attack in Turkey comes together, it has emerged that the attack was allegedly organized by Ahmed Chataev, a Russian citizen of Chechen origin, who joined the Islamic State in 2015 and now fights in Syria, Turkish media report, citing police sources.
Chataev was assigned a leading role in training extremists that would then commit terrorist attacks in both Russia and Western Europe, the Deputy Chairman of the Russian Investigative Committee Andrey Przhezdomsky said, adding that, in Syria, Chataev also commands a unit consisting “primarily of immigrants from the North Caucasus.”
It has been also revealed that Chataev was long wanted by the Russian authorities for terrorism-related offenses but he fled to Europe, where he was granted asylum, and successfully managed to escape extradition to Russia. The alleged mastermind joined Islamist secessionist militants that fought against Russia in the Second Chechen War between 1999 and 2000, where he lost an arm. Later, he was considered to be a representative of Dokka Umarov, once a “terrorist ?1” in Russia, in the Western Europe.
The attack coordinator was on a wanted list in Russia since 2003 for sponsoring terrorism, recruiting extremists and membership in a terrorist group, Russian media report. However, in the same year, he received asylum in Austria. Chataev reportedly claimed that he lost his arm as he was severely tortured in Russian prison adding that he is being persecuted by Russian authorities.
In 2008, he was detained with some other
by Zero Hedge - July 1st, 2016 3:33 pm
Having been forced to remove herself from the Hillary Clinton email probe, Loretta Lynch admitted that her shockingly ill-advised private meeting with Bill Clinton has “cast a shadow” over the investigations and questions on the meeting are “fair.” Her magnanimity was further expressed “I wouldn’t do it again,” while claiming that she had made the decision to ‘recuse’ herself days before her Bubba meeting.
Highlights – “No Comment” on the system being rigged…
The headlines of what she said:
- *LYNCH ON BILL CLINTON SAYS QUESTIONS ON CLINTON MEETING FAIR
- *LYNCH SAYS HER BILL CLINTON MTG RAISED QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS
- *LYNCH SAYS HILLARY CLINTON E-MAIL INVESTIGATION INDEPENDENT
- *LYNCH SAYS `FULLY EXPECT’ TO ACCEPT INVESTIGATOR RECOMMENDATION
- *LYNCH SAYS SHE’LL BE BRIEFED, `WILL BE’ ACCEPTING FINDINGS
- *LYNCH SAYS DECISION ON HANDLING CLINTON PROBE MADE BEFORE MTG
- *LYNCH SAYS SHE, BILL CLINTON TALKED GRANDKIDS, TRAVEL ON PLANE
- *LYNCH SAYS MEETING `CAST A SHADOW’ OVER PROBE OF CLINTON E-MAIL
As we detailed earlier, on Monday evening US Attorney General Loretta Lynch conveniently just happened to meet up with Bill Clinton for a private meeting on her plane on a Phoenix airport tarmac.
Despite Lynch promising everyone that the only things that were discussed were Bill’s golf game and grandchildren, conservative watchdog Judicial Watch requested that the DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General investigate the meeting. As The Hill reports, pressure is intensifying on Attorney General Loretta Lynch to hand off oversight of the federal investigation connected to Hillary Clinton’s private email server…
Calls for Lynch to step aside — which had already been simmering for months — appeared primed to boil over Thursday following the attorney general’s unscheduled, private meeting with Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton.
“Considering the ongoing criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton, this secret meeting between the Attorney General and Bill Clinton shows an astounding lack of judgment by Loretta Lynch,” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said in a statement on Thursday calling for Lynch to recuse herself.
“Given the culture of unaccountability in the Obama Administration, it is unlikely that Attorney General Lynch will heed the growing calls for her resignation,” he said. “But at a minimum, Lynch should immediately recuse herself from the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s
by Zero Hedge - July 1st, 2016 2:50 pm
With soaring youth unemployment, and close to 5 million people out of work overall, one would assume that the last problem Spain would encounter would be that it can’t find workers to fill open jobs.
However, as Bloomberg reports, Spain is facing labor shortages as employers struggle to find capable employees. “We were looking for people for two months. We managed to find one in Spain. We turned to Argentina for others” explains Samuel Pimentel, a headhunter who was searching for specialist consultants for a client.
Pimentel’s client asked for a list of candidates trained in”Agile” project management techniques for helping companies boost their productivity by using more IT systems. The client was even willing to pay $220,000 a year, almost 10 times the average salary in Spain, but Pimentel had a difficult time identifying candidates.
The main reason for this issue according to Valentin Bote, head of research at Randstad, a recruitment agency, is that the unemployed lack the skills to fill the available positions.
“It’s a paradox. The unemployment rate is too high. Yet we’re seeing some tension in the labor market because unemployed people don’t have the skills employers demand.” Bote said.
Companies are struggling to fill positions such as software developers, mathematical modelers, geriatric nurses and care workers. Although the unemployment rate is close to 20%, Randstad estimates that companies may struggle to fill almost 2 million posts through 2020.
Spain has had seven different education laws since 1978 according to Bloomberg, but none have addressed fundamental problems that have led to a high-school dropout rate that is twice the European average. “Education and work exist in two alternative worlds that don’t really connect. While in other nations, like the US, college education is designed to get you a job, that’s not the case in Spain.” said Sandalio Gomez, a professor at the IESE Business School in Madrid.
We would argue that the US education system isn’t really designed to get students jobs per se, but we’ll save that topic for another day.
In Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s election manifesto, the People’s Party vowed to put more emphasis on technology in schools and get more students to learn English, but this issue has been decades
by Zero Hedge - July 1st, 2016 2:36 pm
For the 10th day of the last 11, the minutes before the NYMEX close (1430ET) have seen a remarkable sudden panic-buying spree…
We note yesterday was exciting as crude crashed right as NYMEX closed… are the pattern-fitting algos starting to recognize their own self-reinforcing patterns and front-running each other?
As always – buying is easy, it’s when to sell that’s hard.