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Posts Tagged ‘Ponzi scheme’

Citigroup Saw Warning Signs, Knew Of Madoff Fraud; Picard Suit Wants $430M In Damages

Courtesy of The Daily Bail

Source – Bloomberg

Citigroup ignored warning signs of Bernard L. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, and a bank executive knew the con man’s stated trading strategy couldn’t generate the reported returns, the trustee liquidating Madoff’s firm said in a lawsuit.

The unidentified Citibank executive, who was responsible for making recommendations to clients on derivatives, “concluded” by June 2007 that returns reported by a Madoff feeder fund, Fairfield Sentry Ltd., couldn’t have come from the strategy, trustee Irving Picard said in a complaint unsealed yesterday. The executive reached his conclusion after meeting with analyst Harry Markopolos, a whistleblower who also alerted U.S. regulators to the fraud, Picard said.

The Citibank official later communicated with Markopolos orally and in writing, specifically discussing the fraud before the Ponzi scheme was exposed in December 2008, Picard alleged.

“Citi knew, and was on notice of, irregularities and problems concerning the trades reported by BLMIS, and strategically chose to ignore these concerns in order to continue to enrich themselves,” Picard said in the complaint, referring to Madoff’s firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.

Picard laid out in the complaint details of a lawsuit he filed under seal in December against New York-based Citigroup and other banks. He is demanding $425 million from Citigroup – money it received “in connection with” a loan to a Madoff feeder fund and a swap transaction with a Swiss hedge fund linked to a second feeder fund, Picard said.

Continue reading at Bloomberg…

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We first got an inkling of Picard’s filing from this Bloomberg story in December.

Citigroup, Bank of America Sued by Madoff Trustee

Citigroup Inc.’s Citibank, Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch unit and five other banks were sued by the trustee liquidating Bernard Madoff’s firm to recover more than $1 billion for the con man’s defrauded customers.

The banks, which include Natixis SA, Fortis Prime Fund Solutions Bank (Ireland) Ltd., ABN Amro Bank NV, Nomura Bank International Plc. and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, received money through Madoff feeder funds when they knew, or should have known, that Madoff’s investments were a fraud, the trustee, Irving Picard, said yesterday in a statement.

Picard, who faces a two-year legal deadline that runs out Dec. 11, has filed hundreds of suits in the past month, seeking more than $34 billion from banks, feeder funds, investors and others alleged to have profited from Madoff’s decades-long Ponzi scheme, the biggest in…
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The Tombstone Blues

The Tombstone Blues

Courtesy of James Howard Kunstler 

Vintage image of cemetery

       The latest version of Pretend – going on a couple of weeks now – is the nation whistling past the graveyard of mortgage documentation fraud while skeletons dance around everything connected with the money system. Halloween came early this year. The USA is getting to look like one big Masque of the Red Death, so I suppose it’s convenient that our pop culture has been saturated with vampires, zombies, and werewolves for a decade, coincident with the self-cannibalizing of our economy. Something in the zeitgeist told us to get with the program of a twilight existence. We’re well-schooled now in the ways of the undead, operating under cover of darkness, going for the neck at every opportunity, even eating our young – if you consider the debt orgy, both private and public, as a way to party like it’s 1999 by consuming your children’s’ future. 

      The big banks leading the charge of the anthropophagi are making like it’s no big deal that notes representing money lent have become mysteriously dissociated from the mortgages that secure them. In the good old days, these things traveled in pairs, like boy-and-girl, Laurel and Hardy, a horse and carriage. It made for straight-forward property transfers, where Person A could be confident he was buying something free and clear from Person B.  What a quaint concept, free and clear! 

     Nowadays, these documents can hardly be located at all – not such a surprise, really, since they were ground out like e-coli infested bratwursts in strip-mall boiler rooms run by former used car salesmen, and pawned off wholesale (literally) on banks who served them up sliced-and-diced, sloppy Joe style, on CDO buns to credulous pension funds, cretinous insurance company yobs, double-digit IQ college endowment managers, and other such nitwits bethinking themselves the reincarnation of Bernard Baruch, not to mention foreign sovereign nations who bought this smallpox-blanket-grade investment paper by the container-ship-load and, finally, the innovative geniuses at the very banks who engineered the stuff and got stuck with tons of it themselves when, as they say, the music stopped.

     The Big Picture looks even worse when you figure in the mischief of so-called synthetic CDOs that represent the multiple securitizations of single underlying mortgages – God knows how many times each – which mean,…
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ARE YOU READY FOR EQUITY RETURNS OF -0.07%?

ARE YOU READY FOR EQUITY RETURNS OF -0.07%?

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

In February of 2009 John Hussman wrote a letter that stood out to me.  He discussed the very depressed valuations and the likelihood of 9-11% 10 year returns.  This was a big change for Mr. Hussman and a very healthy 10 year return by any standard.  What no one expected, however, was that we would get most of that 10 year return in just 10 months.

In his latest letter Mr. Hussman updated his valuation model.  It’s not nearly as optimistic:

Total annual return = (1+g)(Yoriginal/Yterminal)^(1/T) – 1 + (Yoriginal+Yterminal)/2

As it happens, the long-term growth rates of S&P 500 dividends, earnings (measured peak-to-peak across economic cycles) and other fundamentals have been remarkably stable for more than 70 years, at about 6% annually, with very little variation even during the inflationary 1970′s. Even if one includes the depressed yields of the bubble period, and restrict history to the post-war period, the median dividend yield is 3.7%. Thus, a reasonably good estimate of future 7-year total returns for the S&P 500 is simply:

Total annual return = (1.06)(Yoriginal/.037)^(1/7) – 1 + (Yoriginal + .037)/2

At a 2% dividend yield, this estimate is currently -0.07%.

For historical perspective, the chart below presents the 7-year projected total returns obtained in this manner in blue. The actual subsequent 7-year total return for the S&P 500 is depicted in green. Notice that the performance of this method deteriorated significantly after about 1988, reflecting the fact that terminal yields 7 years later began to depart dramatically from prior historical norms.

The last 15 years have been skewed to the upside as the U.S. government has attempted to generate a capitalist market where losers never lose.  In other words, valuations have been inappropriately bolstered by the government’s constant tinkering in the markets:

“The difference between the green line and the red line represents the effect of bubble valuations. Had it not been for a period of sustained bubble valuations (which ultimately proved themselves to be bubble valuations by creating a 13 year period of dismal subsequent returns), we find that the yield-based model above would have extended its admirable historical record.

This creates a terrible problem for investors here. Given that the yield on the S&P 500 is now below 2%, it is essential for investors


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Speculative fervour

Speculative fervour – shadow boxing the Fed

Courtesy of Data Diary

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 30: A sign saying ' Peace and love be with you all' is displayed at the peace camp in Parliament Square on June 30, 2010 in London, England. Mayor of London Boris Johnson has won a High Court order to evict the protesters who have been camping in the square since May 1, 2010. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

There is something of a speaking-in-tongues fervour about the place recently. Bring back big hair, smelly armpits and the Doobie Brothers I say. We all need a little peace, love and skyrocketing oil prices. (If you want a 1973 vintage backtrack to this post – Jesus is Just Alright here.)

To distil a few themes from the cacophony:

1) When money is cheap, speculation is abundant. And it doesn’t get any cheaper than when the government is giving it away. The end is nigh when the suspension of disbelief can’t be sustained.  That is when investors will want out – it’s every Ponzi scheme’s dilemma. We aren’t there yet.

2) Inflation is the destination, we just don’t know whether we will get there. The Fed will stop at nothing in their pursuit of inflation, but they can’t control where liquidity flows. They want wage inflation. They think by spurring asset price inflation it will lead to rising inflation expectations and then onto real incomes. The problem is that consumables may just explode in the meantime – what good is a few dollars saved on mortgage repayments when your cost of living has gone through the roof.

3) Corporate margin expansion has reached its peak. The majority of margin expansion since 2000 has come via the wage bill. Absent productivity gains, this is a finite trend. The Fed says they want wages to increase relative to everything. Labour winning over capital is not multiple friendly.

4) Last chance to buy cheap goods from China. It’s revalue the Yuan or cop tariffs.  Either which way, the days of ridiculously cheap goods from China are near an end.

5) Commodities supercycle is likely to go parabolic. The flight from paper money to real assets has been gathering steam. With the financialisation of commodity derivatives, this trend can run to unprecedented extremes (for those not familiar with the term, it means ‘hasn’t happened before’). Should China ease credit again – which is a fair bet given the impending hit they will take on exports – capital investment will be sucking at the physical market at the same time. That sounds like a recipe for a party.

Data Diary.


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DAVID ROSENBERG ATTACKS THE FED’S INTENTIONAL PONZI APPROACH

DAVID ROSENBERG ATTACKS THE FED’S INTENTIONAL PONZI APPROACH

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

This weekend’s shocking admittal that the Fed is hoping QE will keep asset prices “higher than they otherwise would be” did not surprise David Rosenberg one bit.  In this morning’s note he said:

Brian Sack, a senior official at the New York Fed, had this to say about the powers of quantitative easing in a speech he just delivered:

“Some observers have argued that balance sheet changes, even if they influence longer-term interest rates, will not affect the economy because the transmission mechanism is broken. This point is overstated in my view. It is true that certain aspects of the transmission mechanism are clogged because of the credit constraints facing some households and businesses, and it is true that monetary policy cannot directly target those parties that are the most constrained. Nevertheless, balance sheet policy can still lower longer-term borrowing costs for many households and businesses, and it adds to household wealth by keeping asset prices higher than they otherwise would be. It seems highly unlikely that the economy is completely insensitive to borrowing costs and wealth, or to other changes in broad financial conditions.  ”

I just love that one comment to the effect that QE “adds to household wealth by keeping asset prices higher than they otherwise would be.”  When will these guys ever learn that maybe, just maybe, these Fed policies aimed at targeting asset prices at levels above their intrinsic values is probably not in the best interests of the nation? As our friend Marc Faber likes to say, the “Bernanke put” is cut from the same cloth as the fabled “Greenspan put” — only the strike price is different.

Imagine running a policy aimed at getting people to spend money based on an artificial level of asset values — what an admission.  Then again, this is what the Fed has been all about since the LTCM bailout of 1998.  We’re still not convinced after reading this sermon that this next “pull-another-rabbit-out-of-the-hat” experiment is going to end with very much success.  There is something to be said about paying for our mistakes and to have the Fed try to rekindle an asset-based economy that has only ended up in generating a series of burst bubbles over the last 12 years, not to mention encourage a lifestyle of living beyond our means,


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Back to the Future?

Back to the Future?

Courtesy of Steve Keen in Debtwatch

HOLLYWOOD, CA - DECEMBER 16:  Actor Michael J Fox   who attended the launch party of the 'Back to the Future' DVD release held at Universal Studios on December 16, 2002 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Things are looking grim indeed for the US economy. Unemployment is out of control—especially if you consider the U-6 (16.7%, up 0.2% in the last month) and Shadowstats (22%, up 0.3%) measures, which are far more realistic than the effectively public relations U-3 number that passes for the “official” unemployment rate (9.6%, up 0.1%).

The US is in a Depression, and the sooner it acknowledges that—rather than continuing to pretend otherwise—the better. Government action has attenuated the rate of decline, but not reversed it: a huge fiscal and monetary stimulus has put the economy in limbo rather than restarting growth, and the Fed’s conventional monetary policy arsenal is all but depleted.

This prompted MIT professor of economics Ricardo Cabellero to suggest a more radical approach to monetary easing, in a piece re-published last Wednesday in Business Spectator (reproduced from Vox). Conventional “Quantitative Easing” involves the Treasury selling bonds to the Fed, and then using the money to fund expenditure—so public debt increases, and it has to be serviced. We thus swap a private debt problem for a public one, and the boost to spending is reversed when the bonds are subsequently retired. Instead, Caballero proposes

a fiscal expansion (e.g. a temporary and large cut of sales taxes) that does not raise public debt in equal amount. This can be done with a “helicopter drop” targeted at the Treasury. That is, a monetary gift from the Fed to the Treasury. (Ricardo Caballero)

The government would thus spend without adding to debt, with the objective of causing inflation by having “more dollars chasing goods and services”. This is preferable to the deflationary trap that has afflicted Japan for two decades, and now is increasingly likely in the US. So on the face of it, Cabellero’s plan appears sound: inflation will reduce the real value of financial assets, shift wealth from older to younger generations, and stimulate both supply and demand by making it more attractive to spend and invest than to leave…
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Eliot Spitzer: “The Federal Reserve Is A Ponzi Scheme” (Inside The Fed’s Secret Pile Of Trash With Ratigan, Spitzer & Toure)

Eliot Spitzer: "The Federal Reserve Is A Ponzi Scheme" (Inside The Fed’s Secret Pile Of Trash With Ratigan, Spitzer & Toure) 

Courtesy of The Daily Bail 

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

An outstanding discussion, primer and visual lesson on toxic assets, failed banks, the Federal Reserve, HR 1207, auditing the Fed, and you, the f*cked taxpayer.  Don’t miss this clip and then send it to someone else.  Pay it forward until we have millions of f*cked taxpayers who will at least be informed.  Awareness is our only chance.

More green shoots from Dylan Ratigan’s awesome new show.  Dylan puts on his Banker hat and swaps a (literal) bag of trash, on-air, for $13.9 Trillion worth of Monopoly money from a guy wearing a "Fed" hat.  Dylan then explains why we should support Ron Paul’s Audit of the Fed (HR 1207) and explains in plain and simple terms how we have been screwed by the Fed’s bailout of the banks.  This is really good stuff.  I can’t help but admire Ratigan for what he’s doing with the new show.  From our perspective, it just gets better and better.  Here are just two of several choice morsels from this clip:

  • "The Federal Reserve just extended $14 Trillion of our money, our children’s money, America’s future…and now they don’t want to talk about what’s in the bag. And they did it because the banks created a garbage bag full of bad debts." (4:45)
  • "I feel as if America has suffered the greatest theft and cover-up — ever, … where banks created a pile of garbage, that they paid themselves billions of dollars in personal compensation, and then stuck the trillions of dollars worth of garbage with the American taxpayer. That, to me, is stealing." (7:05)

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Nassim Taleb: The Government Debt Is Becoming A Pure Ponzi Scheme"

Nassim Taleb: "The Government Debt Is Becoming A Pure Ponzi Scheme"

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 15: Black Swans sit in the water as Matt Hall of Australia competes during the Red Bull Air Race Training day on April 15, 2010 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images for Red Bull Air Race)

In an interview conducted with Business Week, Nassim Taleb discusses his view of the biggest black swan in the market currently, and isn’t shy to call government debt a "Pure Ponzi scheme." – When asked where he the biggest potential source of systemic fragility is, he responds: "The massive one is government deficits. As an analogy: You often have planes landing two hours late. In some cases, when you have volcanos, you can land two or three weeks late. How often have you landed two hours early? Never. It’s the same with deficits. The errors tend to go one way rather than the other. When I wrote The Black Swan, I realized there was a huge bias in the way people estimate deficits and make forecasts. Typically things costs more, which is chronic. Governments that try to shoot for a surplus hardly ever reach it. The problem is getting runaway. It’s becoming a pure Ponzi scheme. It’s very nonlinear: You need more and more debt just to stay where you are. And what broke Madoff is going to break governments. They need to find new suckers all the time. And unfortunately the world has run out of suckers." Alas, Taleb is wrong: Ponzi or not, today’s UST auction will likely once again come at a multi year high Bid To Cover as the suckers (especially those who recycle Fed discount window money) just refuse to go away.

Some other excerpts:

Q: The new edition of The Black Swan includes what you call "10 principles for a Black-Swan robust society." One of them is: "Citizens should not depend on financial assets as a repository of value and should not rely on fallible ‘expert’ advice for their retirement." Can you explain what you mean?

Taleb: The problem is that citizens are being led to invest in securities they don’t understand by people who themselves don’t quite understand the risks involved. The stock market is probably the best thing in the world, but the true risks of the stock market are vastly greater than the representations. And this leads to extremely strange situations in which, say, someone has a bakery, is extremely paranoid about suppliers, very careful about risks, and protects his business with appropriate insurance. Then, at some point,…
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Ponzi “Shark Loans” Fuel China’s Housing Bubble; Home Sales Plunge 44% in Xiamen; Bubble Busts in Tianjin

Ponzi "Shark Loans" Fuel China’s Housing Bubble; Home Sales Plunge 44% in Xiamen; Bubble Busts in Tianjin

Courtesy of Mish

BEIJING - JUNE 25: Salespeople sit unoccupied during the 2010 Beijing Summer Real Estate Trade Fair onJune 25, 2010 in Beijing, China. A new policy introduced in April restricts families from buying more than one additional home, and prevents non-local residents from buying an additional home unless they have worked in Beijing for more than a year. In the declining real estate market several new housing developments have seen no sales so far this month. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

China’s property bubble is now on the verge of collapse. Transaction volumes are significantly down and declining volume is how property bubbles always burst. In simple terms, the pool of greater fools eventually runs out.

In China’s case, the pool of fools is heavily involved in "loan shark" schemes where speculators hope property values rise fast enough to cover the interest.

Ponzi Loan Shark Operations Fuel Bubble 

Please consider The Secret Engine Behind China’s Housing Bubble- The Ponzi Shark Loan Finance

In this article we will show how the ponzi shark loan scheme works and why we think the regime in China will fall. Our research is based on sources INSIDE CHINA

This is how this Ponzi scheme works:

Local officials, [required by] the government to produce double digit GDP growth numbers, give real estate developers permits to build housing projects in return for bribes. They also get bribes in return for allowing the shark loan companies to operate under their jurisdiction. Some of them are active partners in shark loan businesses. Every scheme has a ring leader whose job is to collect money from all the participants in the Ponzi scheme. When some of these Ponzi schemes blow up, the party leaders always get bailed out first.

Most of the funds that are collected in this classic Ponzi finance go to local land purchases and real estate development. Part of the funds are used in order to pay back the rolling loan. The short term interest rate in this black market is very high and ranges between 20%-150% annual rate. The sources of the Ponzi funds are diverse, as ordinary citizens, banks with corrupted bank officials, and state enterprises play the game.

A reader wrote to us this email two weeks ago, which triggered our in depth research:

“My hometown is Zhejiang, now I live in shanghai, my sister pledged her home to bank, she lived in Hangzhou, she bought her home around 500,0000rmb five years ago, now her home worth 2 million RMB, so she can get huge loan from bank, she gave this loan to a shark loan company with 30% return every year, she has been doing and living on this for 4 years, she is a middle school


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Our Douchebag Government – Midyear Debt Update

Our Douchebag Government – Midyear Debt Update

Courtesy of Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker 

Keep up the lying, legislators, about how it’s all "those other guys" fault…..

Yesterday gave me the opportunity to update this chart with an extrapolated forward number for this year through the first six months.

Yeah, tell me it’s all the Republicans’ fault.  Or all the Democrats’.

Nonsense.

Our government refuses to deal with the facts - there is no recovery in the private economy, there has been no recovery; private final demand collapsed in 2008 and has not come back one iota and the Feral Government is LYING – on both sides of the aisle.

You want a stock market crash and economic collapse Mr. Grayson?  Mr. Reid?  Ms. Pelosi?  Mr. McCain?  Mr. Hoyer?  Mr. Issa?  Mr/Ms (Pick a name)?

You’re going to get one and the longer you keep this crap up the worse it’s going to be.

Want to argue with me?  Go ahead and try – argue with the math.  Tell me how we can keep doing what we’re doing, and for how long.  How long we can borrow and spend 10, 11, 12% of GDP on an annual basis before those who fund our national credit card say this:

Are you in Congress and the White House so damned arrogant as to think that this can’t or won’t happen?  What are you going to threaten people with?  6,000 nuclear weapons?  For what?  Refusing to fund an ever-spiraling higher Ponzi Scheme?  For how long will that game work?  Can such a threat be effective beyond the mathematical limits of capacity, even if the leaders of said nations want to continue doing so? 

No.

Here’s reality folks: We’ve written checks for 30 years with our political mouths we cannot cash with our producing fingers.  We’ve papered over this with fraud in virtually every nook and cranny of public and private life.  We have allowed producers to depart for lands where effective slavery exists for labor, refusing to enact parity tariffs to put a stop to it.  We have allowed blatant and outrageous theft of our producers’ intellectual property and conferred upon these nations "most-favored nation" trading status.  We have blown serial bubbles in the stock and housing markets and would love to blow another one in "carbon trading", but all three were and are frauds without foundation in reality – or sustainability. 

Jeff Immelt, GE’s Chief Executive, came out today
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Phil's Favorites

Illinois Madness Never Stops; House Committee Wants Taxpayers to Spend $100 Million on Barack Obama Library

Courtesy of Mish.

Illinois is broke. Its public pension plans are the most troubled in the nation.

Illinois passed massive "temporary" tax hikes to fix the pension problem, but that did not make a dent in  the problem.

Nonetheless, ideas to waste more taxpayer money are always on the table. Here's a recent example.

$100 Million for Barack Obama Library

Today, the Illinois Policy Institute reports by email ...
An Illinois House Committee wants taxpayers to pay $100 million for a Barack Obama library. Somehow, House Speaker Michael Madigan thinks this is an appropriate use of funds despite the state’s more than $100 billion pension crisis and $6.6 billion in unpaid bills.

In accepting hefty taxpayer dollars for this venture, President Barack Obama is setting himself apart from his recent predecesso...



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Chart School

Weekly Market Summary

Courtesy of Doug Short.

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

The set-up coming into this past week was clean: SPX and NDX exhibited breadth extremes from which they usually bounce and April Opex is a seasonally strong week (post).

In the event, SPX rose nearly 3%. In the process it exhibited a familiar pattern: overnight gaps in the past 4 days accounted 60% of the week's gain. Cash hours, when liquidity is greatest, was not where the meat of the gains took place. That was even more true for RUT and NDX which only posted cash hour gains during two of the four days.

After a sharp drop and a strong bounce, where does that leave the markets? Let's run through each of our market indicators...



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Insider Scoop

Nike Laying Off Fuel Band Team, According to CNET

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Nike (NYSE: NKE) is laying off 70-80 percent the engineers who created its FuelBand Fitness Tracker. according to a post that first surfaced on the social network Secret and was reported Saturday by CNET. Approximately 55 of the 70 employees on Nike's Digital Sport hardware team are reportedly being cut.

View full article http://www.cnet.com/news/nike-fires-fuelband-engineers-will-stop-making-wearable-hardware/

Posted-In: CNETNews Rumors

...

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Market Shadows

Canary In the Yen Shaft: $10 trillion JGBs; No Bids!

Two guest authors, David Stockman and long-time contributor John Rubino, write about the current state of Abenomics. 

Canary In the Yen Shaft: $10 trillion JGBs; No Bids!

By  

This one matters a lot. Abenomics was predicated on a lunatic notion—namely, that the economic ills from Japan’s massive debt overhang could be cured by a central bank bond buying spree that was designed to be nearly 3X larger relative to its GDP than that of the Fed. Yet anyone with a modicum of common sense and market...



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Option Review

Wild Ride For Chipotle

Shares in Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (Ticker: CMG) opened higher on Thursday morning, rising more than 6.0% to $589.00, after the restaurant operator reported better than expected first-quarter sales ahead of the opening bell. But, the stock began to falter just before lunchtime on concerns the burrito-maker will increase menu prices for the first time in three years. The price of Chipotle’s shares have since fallen into negative territory and currently trade down 3.5% on the session at $532.89 as of 1:50 p.m. ET.

Chart – Shares in Chipotle cool by lunchtime

...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: David is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Sabrient

What the Market Wants: Positive News and Stocks at Bargain Prices

Courtesy of David Brown, Sabrient Systems and Gradient Analytics

Last week’s market performance was nasty again, especially for the Small-cap Growth style/cap, down 4%.  Large-caps faired the best, losing only 2.7%.  That’s ugly and today’s market seemed likely to be uglier today with escalating tensions over the weekend in Ukraine. 

But once again, positive economic trumped the beating of the war drums. Retail Sales jumped up 1.1% over a projected 0.8% and last month’s tepid 0.3%, which was revised up to 0.7%.  While autos led, sales were up solidly overall.  Business inventories were about as expected with a positive tone.  Citigroup (C) handily beat estimates to add to the morning’s surprises.  As a result, the market was positive through most of the day, led by the DJI, up 0.91%, and the S&P 500, up 0.82%.  NASDAQ had a less...



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Digital Currencies

Facebook Takes Life Seriously and Moves To Create Its Own Virtual Currency, Increases UltraCoin Valuation Significantly

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Reggie Middleton.

The Financial Times reports:

[Facebook] The social network is only weeks away from obtaining regulatory approval in Ireland for a service that would allow its users to store money on Facebook and use it to pay and exchange money with others, according to several people involved in the process. 

The authorisation from Ireland’s central bank to become an “e-money” institution would allow ...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of April 14th 2014

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here...



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Stock World Weekly

Stock World Weekly

Newsletter writers are available to chat with Members regarding topics presented in SWW, comments are found below each post.

Here is the new Stock World Weekly. Please sign in with your user name and password, or sign up for a free trial to Stock World Weekly. Click here. 

Chart by Paul Price.

...

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Promotions

See Live Demo Of This Google-Like Trade Algorithm

I just wanted to be sure you saw this.  There’s a ‘live’ training webinar this Thursday, March 27th at Noon or 9:00 pm ET.

If GOOGLE, the NSA, and Steve Jobs all got together in a room with the task of building a tremendously accurate trading algorithm… it wouldn’t just be any ordinary system… it’d be the greatest trading algorithm in the world.

Well, I hate to break it to you though… they never got around to building it, but my friends at Market Tamer did.

Follow this link to register for their training webinar where they’ll demonstrate the tested and proven Algorithm powered by the same technological principles that have made GOOGLE the #1 search engine on the planet!

And get this…had you done nothing b...



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Pharmboy

Here We Go Again - Pharma & Biotechs 2014

Reminder: Pharmboy is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps,
Cross-eyed mosquitoes, and Bow-legged ants,
I come before you, To stand behind you,
To tell you something, I know nothing about.

And so the circus begins in Union Square, San Francisco for this weeks JP Morgan Healthcare Conference.  Will the momentum from 2013, which carried the S&P Spider Biotech ETF to all time highs, carry on in 2014?  The Biotech ETF beat the S&P by better than 3 points.

As I noted in my previous post, Biotechs Galore - IPOs and More, biotechs were rushing to IPOs so that venture capitalists could unwind their holdings (funds are usually 5-7 years), as well as take advantage of the opportune moment...



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