Archive for May, 2011

EU: Politics Financialized, Economies Privatized

Courtesy of ilene

Courtesy of Michael Hudson

Breakup of the euro?

Is Iceland’s rejection of financial bullying a model for Greece and Ireland?

This article is an excerpt from Prof. Hudson’s upcoming book, “Debts that Can’t be Paid, Won’t Be,” to be published later this year.

Last month Iceland voted against submitting to British and Dutch demands that it compensate their national bank insurance agencies for bailing out their own domestic Icesave depositors. This was the second vote against settlement (by a ratio of 3:2), and Icelandic support for membership in the Eurozone has fallen to just 30 percent. The feeling is that European politics are being run for the benefit of bankers, not the social democracy that Iceland imagined was the guiding philosophy – as indeed it was when the European Economic Community (Common Market) was formed in 1957.

By permitting Britain and the Netherlands to blackball Iceland to pay for the mistakes of Gordon Brown and his Dutch counterparts, Europe has made Icelandic membership conditional upon imposing financial austerity and poverty on the population – all to pay money that legally it does not owe. The problem is to find an honest court willing to enforce Europe’s own banking laws placing responsibility where it legally lies.

The reason why the EU has fought so hard to make Iceland’s government take responsibility for Icesave debts is what creditors call “contagion.” Ireland and Greece are faced with much larger debts. Europe’s creditor “troika” – the European Central Bank (ECB), European Commission and the IMF – view debt write-downs and progressive taxation to protect their domestic economies as a communicable disease.

Like Greece, Ireland asked for debt relief so that its government would not be forced to slash spending in the face of deepening recession. “The Irish press reported that EU officials ‘hit the roof’ when Irish negotiators talked of broader burden-sharing. The European Central Bank is afraid that any such move would cause instant contagion through the debt markets of southern Europe,” wrote one journalist, warning that the cost of taking reckless public debt onto the national balance sheet threatened to bankrupt the economy.[1]Europe – in effect, German and Dutch banks – refused to let the government scale back the debts it had taken on (except to smaller and less politically influential depositors). “The comments came just as the EU authorities were…
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Big Trouble In Little Goldman’s VPN Firewall

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

This evening’s latest NYT Story-Morgenson Joint Venture story about Goldman beats a well-beaten drum: the question, which has been discussed extensively on Zero Hedge and elsewhere before, of just how ridiculous and ludicrous is the notion, used by Goldman in both Congress and before the SEC, that Fabrice Tourre, then a midlevel 28 year old whose story has been told millions of times, worked completely and entirely alone when perpetrating the Abacus CDO "transgression" (for which Goldman neither admitted nor denied guilt). Obviously this is such BS that nobody but an entity as entitled (and for the implications of perceived infinite self-entitlement look no further than DSK or David Sokol) as Goldman (and hence the SEC which needs Goldman for future employment prospects) could possibly believe it. There is however, a link in the story that is so weak, that it raises extensive questions about either the credibility of the entire narrative, or the complete worthlessness of Goldman’s IT security and VPN firewall, two possibilities that demand further inquiry.

Here is the relevant extract from the NYT article:

In their Oct. 10 response to the S.E.C., Mr. Tourre’s lawyers, including Pamela Chepiga of Allen & Overy, made an argument that they have not emphasized publicly. They contended that “singling Mr. Tourre out for criticism regarding the content of this clearly collaborative effort is unreasonable.”

So far so good. But here is where it gets downright ridiculous: 

These legal replies, which are not public, were provided to The New York Times by Nancy Cohen, an artist and filmmaker in New York also known as Nancy Koan, who says she found the materials in a laptop she had been given by a friend in 2006.

The friend told her he had happened upon the laptop discarded in a garbage area in a downtown apartment building. E-mail messages for Mr. Tourre continued streaming into the device, but Ms. Cohen said she had ignored them until she heard Mr. Tourre’s name in news reports about the S.E.C. case.  She then provided the material to The Times. Mr. Tourre’s lawyer did not respond to an inquiry for comment.

So let’s get this straight: someone, i.e., Ms. Cohen’s friend, found one (supposedly corporate) notebook belonging to Tourre, back in 2006, "discarded in a garbage area in a downtown apartment building." Not only was this notebook…
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Big Trouble In Little Goldman's VPN Firewall?

Courtesy of Tyler Durden

This evening’s latest NYT Story-Morgenson Joint Venture story about Goldman beats a well-beaten drum: the question, which has been discussed extensively on Zero Hedge and elsewhere before, of just how ridiculous and ludicrous is the notion, used by Goldman in both Congress and before the SEC, that Fabrice Tourre, then a midlevel 28 year old whose story has been told millions of times, worked completely and entirely alone when perpetrating the Abacus CDO “transgression” (for which Goldman neither admitted nor denied guilt). Obviously this is such BS that nobody but an entity as entitled (and for the implications of perceived infinite self-entitlement look no further than DSK or David Sokol) as Goldman (and hence the SEC which needs Goldman for future employment prospects) could possibly believe it. There is however, a link in the story that is so weak, that it raises extensive questions about either the credibility of the entire narrative, or the complete worthlessness of Goldman’s IT security and VPN firewall, two possibilities that demand further inquiry.

Here is the relevant extract from the NYT article:

In their Oct. 10 response to the S.E.C., Mr. Tourre’s lawyers, including Pamela Chepiga of Allen & Overy, made an argument that they have not emphasized publicly. They contended that “singling Mr. Tourre out for criticism regarding the content of this clearly collaborative effort is unreasonable.”

So far so good. But here is where it gets downright ridiculous:

These legal replies, which are not public, were provided to The New York Times by Nancy Cohen, an artist and filmmaker in New York also known as Nancy Koan, who says she found the materials in a laptop she had been given by a friend in 2006.

The friend told her he had happened upon the laptop discarded in a garbage area in a downtown apartment building. E-mail messages for Mr. Tourre continued streaming into the device, but Ms. Cohen said she had ignored them until she heard Mr. Tourre’s name in news reports about the S.E.C. case.  She then provided the material to The Times. Mr. Tourre’s lawyer did not respond to an inquiry for comment.

So let’s get this straight: someone, i.e., Ms. Cohen’s friend, found one (supposedly corporate) notebook belonging to Tourre, back in 2006, “discarded in a…
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[Belated] Memorial Day: Enter Hitler, Release 2.0

Courtesy of James Howard Kunstler 

     As the sage Robert Crumb once remarked about our homeland: "You can’t make this shit up." 

    Sarah Palin entered the race for president this week (without stating it in so many words) with a national bus tour, itself kicked off with a motorcycle parade through Washington.

By PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press – Sun May 29, 5:57 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Sarah Palin rumbled through Washington on the back of a Harley as she and her family began an East Coast tour Sunday, renewing speculation that the former Alaska governor would join the still unsettled Republican presidential contest.

     Wearing a black leather jacket and surrounded by a throng of cheering fans, Palin and family members jumped on bikes and joined thousands of other motorcyclists on the Memorial Day weekend ride from the Pentagon to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial…. 

     "How do you wear all this leather and stay cool?" she asked one woman. Palin asked others to show off their tattoos as she took off her own leather jacket and worked her way through a crush of fans, photographers and reporters. 

 
Palin 2.jpg

     Adolf Hitler liked leather and crypto-military costumes, too, and the build-up to the Third Reich was all about colorful pageantry. Make no mistake – to borrow a favored presidential locution, if I may – Sarah Palin’s campaign is all about shame, about being a nation of losers and feeling bad about it. Adolf Hitler’s career was all about him feeling like a loser at a peculiar moment in history when his whole country felt like a loser nation. His feelings resonated with the crowd’s. Germany had just lost the First World War. The victors (England, France, The USA) had imposed a harsh peace, including massive cash reparations. Germany was broke, demoralized, and humiliated. Hitler had fled to Germany from his own loser homeland, the fading empire of Austria, after a shiftless decade in Vienna of living in rented rooms and homeless men’s shelters, having failed twice to get into the national arts college.

 
Palin - Hitler - Leather.jpg

     Hitler loved the First World War. It energized him. The German army was the first club he was comfortable being in. When the war was over, he stayed on the army’s payroll as long as possible, even as he became active in Munich’s post-war


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Weekly Gasoline Update: A Second Week of Price Declines

Courtesy of Doug Short

Here is my weekly gasoline chart update from Department of Energy data with an overlay of West Texas Crude (WTIC). Gasoline at the pump declined for the second consecutive week: regular and premium are both down 1.4%. Year-to-date, the average price for regular has risen 74 cents, down 17 cents from the interim high three weeks ago. Meanwhile, WTIC is 9.6% off its interim high of 113.94 on April 29th.

As I write this, GasBuddy.com shows 6 states (and DC) with the average price of regular above $4. That’s the same number as last week.

The price increases in crude oil and gasoline were reflected in the latest Consumer Price Index data for February and more recently in Personal Consumption Expenditures. For additional perspective on how energy prices are factored into the Consumer Price Index, see What Inflation Means to You: Inside the Consumer Price Index.

The chart below offers a comparison of the broader aggregate category of energy inflation since 2000, based on categories within Consumer Price Index (commentary here).







Stock Market Bulls and Bears Face Off This Week

Courtesy of John Nyaradi

Stock Market Bad News

Stock Market News Was Terrible!

Major markets shook off bad news to rally into resistance but finish May down for the month.

Major stock indexes and ETFs (NYSE: DIA) (NYSE: SPY) shook off bad economic news to rally into resistance but the DJIA finished May -1.9% while the S&P 500 finished the month down -1.4%. To see  how this fits into the “big picture,” go here:  DShort.com

On the financial news front, it was a three strikes and you’re out kind of day:

May Chicago PMI takes a huge tumble from 67.6 to 56.6

Consumer Confidence falls to 60.8 from 65.4

Case/Shiller Housing Index down 5% year over year, confirming a double dip in housing.

However, markets rallied based on the hope that the Greece problem would be solved later this month.  Amazing times in which we live.

In tonight’s overnight market, China reported further slowing in their economy as their PMI dropped to 51.6, barely above recessionary levels and at lows not seen for nearly a year.

ETF Technical indicators are not convinced that there is any kind of rally in the offing, and neither is the bond market as Treasuries were flat to higher. As the old saying goes, “neutral is not positive.”

Read more from Wall Street Sector Selector here

 

Disclosure: Wall Street Sector Selector actively trades a wide range of ETFs and positions can change at any time.

Click here to learn more about John’s book and for a free membership to Wall Street Sector Selector





Stock Markets Rally On Bad Economic News

Courtesy of John Nyaradi

Stock Market Bad News

Stock Market News Was Terrible!

Major markets shook off bad news to rally into resistance but finish May down for the month.

Major stock indexes and ETFs (NYSE: DIA) (NYSE: SPY) shook off bad economic news to rally into resistance but the DJIA finished May -1.9% while the S&P 500 finished the month down -1.4%. To see  how this fits into the “big picture,” go here:  DShort.com

On the financial news front, it was a three strikes and you’re out kind of day:

May Chicago PMI takes a huge tumble from 67.6 to 56.6

Consumer Confidence falls to 60.8 from 65.4

Case/Shiller Housing Index down 5% year over year, confirming a double dip in housing.

However, markets rallied based on the hope that the Greece problem would be solved later this month.  Amazing times in which we live.

In tonight’s overnight market, China reported further slowing in their economy as their PMI dropped to 51.6, barely above recessionary levels and at lows not seen for nearly a year.

ETF Technical indicators are not convinced that there is any kind of rally in the offing, and neither is the bond market as Treasuries were flat to higher. As the old saying goes, “neutral is not positive.”

Click here to learn more about John’s book and for a free membership to Wall Street Sector Selector





Réal Desrochers to Head CalPERS Private Equity

Courtesy of Leo Kolivakis

Via Pension Pulse.

Marc Lifsher of the LA Times reports, CalPERS names new private equity investment executive:

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the country’s largest public pension fund, has named an investment executive to run its $49-billion private equity investment portfolio.

 

Real Desrochers, who spent a decade doing a similar job for the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, replaces Leon Shahinian, who resigned in August after being caught in a spreading CalPERS corruption scandal.

 

Private equity generated annual returns of more than 17% for the teachers’ fund under Desrochers’ leadership in the decade before 2009, CalPERS Chief Investment Officer Joseph Dear said.

 

Earlier in his career, Desrochers worked for Canada’s largest pension fund, Caisse de Depot of Quebec. After leaving CalSTRS, he advised a number of investors, including Blackstone Capital, J.H. Whitney, Texas Pacific Group, Permira and China Renaissance Industries. He also was chief investment officer for the Saudi Arabian Investment Co.

 

Desrochers joins CalPERS as the country’s largest public pension fund, with $236 billion in assets, is clawing its way back from losing $100 billion between late 2007 and early 2009. The fund reached an all-time high of $260 billion in October 2007 before the Great Recession hit.

 

CalPERS currently faces more than financial difficulties. The 2,300-person agency, which serves 1.6 million state and local workers, their families and retirees, also is facing a morale crisis as it seeks to deal with a so-called pay-to-play scandal that has touched three former board members, a former chief executive and a number of outside investment consultants and managers.

 

Shahinian was mentioned in a 2010 state attorney general’s lawsuit for taking gifts of luxury travel to New York City to attend a charitable dinner honoring the chairman of Apollo Global Management, Leon Black.

 

Alfred J.R. Villalobos, a former CalPERS board member turned middleman dealmaker, picked up most of Shahinian’s tab on behalf of his client, Apollo. The gifts to Shahinian were not reported as required by state law.

 

Shahinian later recommended that CalPERS purchase a 9% stake in Apollo.

Neither Shahinian nor Black have been charged with any wrongdoing.

Let me take this opportunity to publicly congratulate Réal. I had the immense pleasure of meeting him in 2005 when I
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MERS ACTION ALERT!!! | Oregon Fraudclosure “Fix” Postponed but Effort Appears in Jeopardy

Courtesy of 4closureFraud

 

Okay all. You need to get on the phones and send emails on this one ASAP.

This can not be passed. This can not be the framework for things to come.

Spread the word! Email it, facebook it, digg it, stumble it, tweet it, repost it, etc.

If you live in Oregon, get over to the hearing and make some noise.

This is absolutely unacceptable!

MERS foreclosure fix postponed but effort appears in jeopardy, legislator says

A bid by major financial institutions to retroactively waive Oregon recording requirements blocking foreclosure sales appears in jeopardy but will get at least one more day, a legislative leader says.

The Oregon House Judiciary Committee today postponed until Wednesday a hearing on Senate Bill 519 which largely deals with publicly subsidized housing in foreclosure. But an amendment to that bill introduced last week would relieve lenders of ensuring a property’s ownership history is properly recorded in public records before foreclosing outside a courtroom.

Committee co-chair Jeff Barker, D-Aloha, said after today’s hearing that the committee supports the bill, which protects affordable housing financing in units under foreclosure. A "dash-six" amendment to the bill, allowing public agencies to buy subsidized housing in foreclosure, also garners support, he said.

But Barker said he did not find support to pass a "dash-seven" amendment put forth Thursday at the financial industry’s request. That would rid the recording requirement that has hung up foreclosures across the nation involving the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS. Federal judges in Oregon have blocked such foreclosures, saying MERS failed to record them properly.

"From the people I’ve talked to, there’s consensus to move the dash six amendments but not the dash sevens," Barker said.

Co-chair Wayne Krieger, R-Gold Beach, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Thursday’s amendment has drawn opposition from the National Association of Independent Title Agents and 90 percent of more than 900 readers voting over the weekend on an OregonLive.com poll.

Representatives of the Oregon Financial Services Association, the Northwest Credit Union Association and the Oregon Land Title Association support the bill, saying the fix is needed to remove a cloud on many foreclosure sales and lift the housing market. The American Land Title…
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Measuring the Performance of the Ivy Portfolio

Courtesy of Doug Short

I’ve been posting a monthly moving average update for the five ETFs in featured in Mebane Faber and Eric Richardson’s Ivy Portfolio since the spring of 2009, when I featured my review of the book.

In addition to the monthly updates, I’ve also made a couple of generic studies of momentum investing with moving averages.

Investing strategies are not the primary focus of my website, and I don’t personally track the performance of the Ivy Portfolio other than to highlight the monthly signals. For ETF performance tracking and backtesting, I use ETFReplay.com, an excellent website for analyzing the performance of individual ETFs and ETF portfolios based on customized moving-average strategies. There are many free tools on ETFReplay.com. However performance backtesting of portfolios does require a paid subscription.

The image below illustrates my research on the Ivy Portfolio since 2007. If you click the image, you’ll open a HUGE version that also shows the monthly performance over the complete range as compared to SPY (SPDR S&P 500 Index). For cash, I’ve used SHY (Barclays Low Duration Treasury (2-yr).

Now, the portfolio in this illustration doesn’t *exactly* match the Ivy five. I picked 2007 as my starting point to show the performance from before the market peak in the Fall of that year. Thus I was forced to make one substitution for the Ivy ETFs — EFA (iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund) in place of VEU (Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF), which was launched in early 2007 and didn’t produce a 10-month signal until December of that year. But the substitution presumably understates the all-Vanguard IVY portfolio: I make this assumption because VEU has outperformed EFA since the March 2009 market low (122.2% versus 103.7% as of May 31).

For anyone interested in researching momentum investing with ETFs, the ETFReplay.com website is an outstanding resource, one that I’m pleased to include in my dshort.com Favorites.





 
 
 

Zero Hedge

Philly Fed Unexpectedly Soars To Second Highest On Record

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Anyone expecting the coronavirus pandemic to hit regional Fed surveys following the recent plunge in the Chicago PMI was in for a disappointment this week, when first the NY Fed's Empire State mfg survey unexpectedly printed at the highest since mid-2018, and then moments ago the Philly Fed blew it out of the ballpark with a massive surge in its business outlook survey, where the current general activity rose nearly 20 points this month to 36.7, smashing expectations of a drop from 17.0 to 11.0, and the highest index reading since February 2017. More importantly, this was th...



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Phil's Favorites

Why Trump's post-impeachment actions are about vengeance, not retribution

 

Why Trump's post-impeachment actions are about vengeance, not retribution

President Trump fired Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman for testifying in his impeachment trial. AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File

Courtesy of Austin Sarat, Amherst College

Since the end of his Senate impeachment trial, President Donald Trump has carried out a concerted campaign against ...



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Biotech & Health

Deep learning AI discovers surprising new antibiotics

 

Deep learning AI discovers surprising new antibiotics

A colored electron microscope image of MRSA. NIH - NIAID/flickr, CC BY

Courtesy of Sriram Chandrasekaran, University of Michigan

Imagine you’re a fossil hunter. You spend months in the heat of Arizona digging up bones only to find that what you’ve uncovered is from a previously discovered dinosaur.

That’s how the search for antibiotics has panned out recently. The relatively few antibiotic hunters out there ...



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The Technical Traders

WATCH THE USD/GOLD RELATIONSHIP

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Chris Vermeulen joins me to share the levels he is watching on the charts. If the USD hits a rough patch and rolls over that could be another driver for the PMs to run much higher. We also touch on the small (for now) bounce in natural gas and the trading opportunity Chris is playing.

Get Chris’ trade alerts complete with price targets, and stop-loss levels.

...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

King Dollar Going To Lose Strength Here? Gold & Silver Hope So!!!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Is King$ and the Euro facing important breakout/breakdown tests at the same time? It looks like it in this chart!

The US$ trend remains up, as it has created a series of higher lows since the start of 2018. The opposite can be said for the Euro, as it has created a series of lower highs since early 2018.

The US$ is currently testing the top of its 18-month rising channel, as the Euro is testing the bottom of its falling channel.

What King$ and...



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Insider Scoop

The Daily Biotech Pulse: Heron Pain Drug Review Extended, Disappointment For Teva In Tourette Syndrome Study

Courtesy of Benzinga

Here's a roundup of top developments in the biotech space over the last 24 hours.

Scaling The Peaks

(Biotech Stocks Hitting 52-week highs on Feb. 19)

  • Adverum Biotechnologies Inc (NASDAQ: ADVM)
  • Akebia Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ: AKBA)
  • Ana...


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Digital Currencies

Altcoin season 2.0: why bitcoin has been outgunned by crypto rivals since new year

 

Altcoin season 2.0: why bitcoin has been outgunned by crypto rivals since new year

‘We have you surrounded!’ Wit Olszewski

Courtesy of Gavin Brown, Manchester Metropolitan University and Richard Whittle, Manchester Metropolitan University

When bitcoin was trading at the dizzying heights of almost US$2...



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ValueWalk

What US companies are saying about coronavirus impact

By Aman Jain. Originally published at ValueWalk.

With the coronavirus outbreak coinciding with the U.S. earnings seasons, it is only normal to expect companies to talk about this deadly virus in their earnings conference calls. In fact, many major U.S. companies not only talked about coronavirus, but also warned about its potential impact on their financial numbers.

Q4 2019 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Coronavirus impact: many US companies unclear

According to ...



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Chart School

RTT browsing latest..

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Please review a collection of WWW browsing results. The information here is delayed by a few months, members get the most recent content.



Date Found: Tuesday, 01 October 2019, 02:18:22 AM

Click for popup. Clear your browser cache if image is not showing.


Comment: Wall of worry, or cliff of despair!



Date Found: Tuesday, 01 October 2019, 06:54:30 AM

Click for popup. Clear your browser cache if image is not showing.


Comment: Interesting.. Hitler good for the German DAX when he was winning! They believed .. until th...



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Members' Corner

How to Stop Bill Barr

 

How to Stop Bill Barr

We must remove this cancer on our democracy.

Courtesy of Greg Olear, at PREVAIL, author of Dirty Rubles: An Introduction to Trump/Russia

...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

 

Why Blaming the Repo Market is Like Blaming the Australian Bush Fires

Courtesy of  

The repo market problem isn’t the problem. It’s a sideshow, a diversion, and a joke. It’s a symptom of the problem.

Today, I got a note from Liquidity Trader subscriber David, a professional investor, and it got me to thinking. Here’s what David wrote:

Lee,

The ‘experts’ I hear from keep saying that once 300B more in reserves have ...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Promotions

Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"

 

 

Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:

 

·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union

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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.