by ilene - October 10th, 2015 1:12 am
Cross-published on Counterpunch
In his Orwellian September 28, 2015 speech to the United Nations, President Obama said that if democracy had existed in Syria, there never would have been a revolt against Assad. By that, he meant ISIL. Where there is democracy, he said, there is no violence or revolution.
This was his threat to promote revolution, coups and violence against any country not deemed a “democracy.” In making this hardly-veiled threat, he redefined the word in the vocabulary of international politics. Democracy is the CIA’s overthrow of Mossedegh in Iran to install the Shah. Democracy is the overthrow of Afghanistan’s secular government by the Taliban against Russia. Democracy is the Ukrainian coup behind Yats and Poroshenko. Democracy is Pinochet. It is “our bastards,” as Lyndon Johnson said, with regard to the Latin American dictators installed by U.S. foreign policy.
A century ago the word “democracy” referred to a nation whose policies were formed by elected representatives. Ever since ancient Athens, democracy was contrasted to oligarchy and aristocracy. But since the Cold War and its aftermath, that is not how U.S. politicians have used the term. When an American president uses the word “democracy,” he means a pro-American country following U.S. neoliberal policies, no matter if the country is a military dictatorship or its government was brought in by a coup(euphemized as a Color Revolution) as in Georgia or Ukraine. A “democratic” government has been re-defined simply as one supporting the Washington Consensus, NATO and the IMF. It is a government that shifts policy-making out of the hands of elected representatives to an “independent” central bank, whose policies are dictated by the oligarchy centered in Wall Street, the City of London and Frankfurt.
Given this American re-definition of the political vocabulary, when President Obama says that such countries will not suffer coups, violent revolution or terrorism, he means that countries safely within the U.S. diplomatic orbit will be free of destabilization sponsored by the U.S. State Department, Defense Department and Treasury. Countries whose voters democratically elect a government or regime that acts independently (or even simply seeks the power to act independently of U.S. directives) will be destabilized, Syria- style, Ukraine-style or Chile-style under
by Market Shadows - October 10th, 2015 12:00 am
Financial Markets and Economy
Bond Funds Have Been Borrowing to Boost Returns (Bloomberg)
For more than two decade, Bill Gross did the seemingly impossible, according to Bill Gross.
Remember the drug used by cancer and AIDS patients that skyrocketed from $13.50 to $750 a pill? Well, the price has yet to come back to earth.
The company still has not cut the price below $750 even though it vowed that it would on national TV and in a public statement over two weeks ago.
Concerns about the global economy are so far just that (Business Insider)
Concerns about the global economy are so far just that: concerns.
What to look for in Netflix’s earnings (Market Watch)
The streaming giant NFLX, -1.39% is pushing further into the content space, competing for content with rivals such as Amazon.com Inc.’s Instant Video and Hulu, a joint venture of Walt Disney Co.’s DIS, +0.91% ABC, Comcast Corp.’sCMCSA, -0.80% NBCUniversal and 21st Century Fox Inc.’s FOXA, +0.39% network, while also encroaching more on traditional media and film companies.
U.S. oil explorers idled rigs for a sixth week as they grapple with crude near $50 a barrel.
Uh-oh (Business Insider)
Wall Street's stock market gurus have been warning us to brace for turbulence as companies announce their Q3 financial results.
Dispensaries in Oregon sold $10.8 million worth of recreational pot in the first six days it was legal, said the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association.
Recreational sales became legal in Oregon on October 1, and the association has only tallied revenue through October 6.
by Market Shadows - October 9th, 2015 10:44 am
Financial Markets and Economy
U.S. stock-index futures were little changed, after disappointing results from Alcoa Inc. offset optimism from a winning streak that’s put the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index on track for its best week of the year.
It's a rare week when there are two positive economic data points coming out of France.
Gold jumps $12 as U.S. rate hike expectations fade (Market Watch)
Gold prices climbed on Friday, on the back of a weaker dollar and renewed speculation that a Fed rate rise may be delayed into next year.
Gold for December delivery GCZ5, +0.63% jumped $11.80, or 1.1%, to $1,156.10 an ounce, setting it on track for its highest close since August.
Charting the Markets: Watch Out for the Spikes (Bloomberg)
Asian stocks rise, emerging market currencies rally and zinc surges as much as 10percent.
China Resources unit to sell stakes in Wal-Mart China stores (Business Insider)
A unit of conglomerate China Resources Corp plans to sell minority stakes it holds in 21 outlets of Wal-Mart Stores Inc <WMT.N> around China, a spokesman for the U.S. retailer told Reuters on Friday.
State-backed China Resources SZITIC Trust Co Ltd has listed for sale its stakes in the stores for a combined 3.3 billion yuan ($525 million), according to official postings from the Chinese firm on the Shanghai United Assets and Equity Exchange.
CEOs and other company insiders are gorging on shares (Market Watch)
Corporate insiders are more bullish today than they’ve been in four years.
Raising money is
by Market Shadows - October 9th, 2015 1:06 am
Financial Markets and Economy
Tallying Terror's Economic Toll (Bloomberg)
How do you measure the impact of terrorism on economic growth?
Shake Shack shares fall as early investors get chance to cash out (Business Insider)
Burger chain Shake Shack Inc's <SHAK.N> shares fell as much as 11.3 percent on Thursday after the company said it would convert about 21 million of its Class B shares into Class A shares, allowing pre-IPO investors to cash out.
The investors, including top shareholder Leonard Green & Partners LP, Select Equity Group LP and founder Daniel Meyer, would be able to sell nearly all of their stakes.
Apple shines in otherwise dismal PC market (Market Watch)
The personal-computer industry is continuing a stark decline, according to two reports released Thursday, with one exception: Apple Inc.
International Data Corp. and Gartner tracked declines in PC shipments of 10.8% and 7.7% year-over-year in the third quarter, the analysis firms said in separate announcements Thursday afternoon. The drop in shipments occurred despite the launch of a new Microsoft Corp. MSFT, +1.39% operating system, Windows 10, which IDC said “had a minimal impact on shipments in the quarter.”
It’s the rally that just keeps on giving.
These 5 forces are holding stocks back right now (Business Insider)
After hitting record highs just a few months ago, stocks dropped off seriously in August and September. Despite fighting higher recently, they have yet to make back the losses.
According to a note from Credit Suisse there are 5 reasons they are being held back. They're a wide range of reasons, with sources from the markets themselves to the US economy to foreign concerns.
Goldman cuts target for volatile Chinese stocks (Market Watch)
by ilene - October 9th, 2015 12:00 am
By John Mauldin
I remember the first time I walked into Henry Blodget’s new startup, Business Insider, back in 2009. Twelve fresh-faced kids were crammed into a room about the size of my bedroom, pounding away on laptops, creating a new destination website. He took me over to a corner; we sat down in front of a few cameras; and he began shooting question after question at me, later turning the session into a series of interviews.
You walk into his office today and it’s still packed wall-to-wall with fresh-faced kids (the older I get the younger they look), but the offices are much larger, and it seemed to me last time that there had to be at least 150 people in them. But the interviews are still quick-paced, even if they’re now conducted in a special room, with upgraded equipment.
One of the things Business Insider is noted for is compelling headlines. They republish much of the work from Mauldin Economics, but they often come up with more interesting headlines for our content than we do. And they still produce a lot of original material as well.
This week’s Outside the Box is a brief note from Henry himself, with the snappy title “Market history is calling, and it’s saying stock performance will be crappy for another ~10 years.” Beyond the compelling headline is a look back at historical market performance and market cycles, with almost a dozen charts to illustrate Henry’s thesis. It’s a quick read, but investors should pay attention to his main premise: if you’re looking for returns that are north of zero, you’re going to have to be a better-than-average investor.
As an aside, I want to pass along my congratulations to Henry on the rather outsized offer (in the multiple nine figures) he has received from a German publisher for his business. I’ve always admired his determination and focus, and I enjoy watching another businessman prosper.
Now here’s a good one for you. I’m sitting in my dentist’s chair this morning, he’s checking on the laser-evisceration of my gums he performed last week, and he says, “You know, most older people have the opposite problem from you – they have too little in the
by ilene - October 8th, 2015 7:25 pm
Courtesy of Joshua M. Brown, The Reformed Broker
Why were the inflation hawks so wrong about quantitative easing? Why didn’t all the “money printing” lead to commodity prices skyrocketing?
One answer is that, while bank reserves were boosted, lending didn’t take off and there was no uptick in the velocity of money – the speed at which capital zooms through the economy and turns over. Absent velocity of money, QE could be looked at as either ineffective or actually causing a deflationary environment, where capital is hoarded and everyone is too petrified to risk it on productive endeavors.
Christopher Wood (CLSA) explains further in his new GREED & fear note:
To GREED & fear the best way to illustrate that quantitative easing is not working is the continuing decline in velocity and the resulting lack of a credit multiplier since the unorthodox monetary regime was introduced. In America, Japan and the Eurozone velocity has continued to decline since the financial crisis in 2008. Thus, US, Japan and Eurozone money velocity, measured as the nominal GDP to M2 ratio, has declined from 1.94x, 0.7x and 1.29x respectively in 1Q98 to 1.5x, 0.55x and 1.05x in 2Q15 (see Figure 3). Indeed, US money velocity is now at a six-decade low. This is why those who have predicted a surge in inflation in recent years caused by the Fed “printing money” have so far been proven wrong. For inflation, as defined by conventional economists like Bernanke in the narrow sense of consumer prices and the like, will not pick up unless the turnover of money increases. This is the problem with the narrow form of mechanical monetarism associated with the likes of American economist Milton Friedman.
Wood goes on to make the point that QE is deflationary because it shrinks net interest margins for banks via depressing treasury bond yields. It also enriches the already wealthy via asset price inflation but they do not raise their consumption in response, because how much more shit can they possibly buy? Finally, it leads to a preference of share buybacks vs investment spending because the payback from financial engineering is so much easier and more immediate.
CLSA – October 8th 2015
by ilene - October 8th, 2015 7:09 pm
Courtesy of Joshua Brown, The Reformed Broker
Ben Carlson on “strategic apathy” – or being oblivious about certain topics for the sake of your sanity…
Here are some good examples of things you probably shouldn’t care about in your financial life:
- Your relative portfolio performance against a meaningless index or benchmark.
- How billionaire hedge fund managers are currently positioning their portfolios.
- How much money your brother-in-law is making.
- What Twitter traders are telling you about the markets.
- The next fiscal cliff or government shutdown.
- How many days in a row the market has risen or fallen lately.
- Whether or not Herbalife is a Ponzi Scheme or the buy of a lifetime.
- The brand new car or boat your neighbor just purchased (on credit).
- That really great penny stock your co-worker told you they just bought because of an email tip they received.
- How much your retirement portfolio has gone down (or up) in the past quarter.
- How much money people claim to earn on Fan Duel every week.
- People who call for a market crash every single year.
- The couple you read about who lucked out and put their entire life savings into Apple stock a decade ago.
Read the whole post: