Archive for September, 2014

RX For Revisionist Bunkum: A Lehman Bailout Wouldn’t Have Saved The Economy

Courtesy of David Stockman via Contra Corner

Here come the revisionists with new malarkey about the 2008 financial crisis. No less august a forum than the New York Times today carries a front page piece by journeyman financial reporter James Stewart suggesting that Lehman Brothers was solvent; could and should have been bailed out; and that the entire trauma of the financial crisis and Great Recession might have been avoided or substantially mitigated:

What happened that September was the culmination of circumstances reaching back years – of ordinary people too eager to borrow, of banks too eager to lend and of Wall Street financial engineers reaping multimillion-dollar bonuses. Even so, saving Lehman from complete collapse might have shielded the economy from what turned out to be a crippling blow.

That is not just meretricious nonsense; its a measure of how thoroughly corrupted public discourse about the fundamental financial and economic realities of the present era has become owing to the cult of central banking. For crying out loud, yes, there would have been a Great Recession – even had Lehman been pawned off to Barclays with a taxpayer guarantee or if it had been bailed-out in some other manner.

In fact, the Barclay’s logo did end up on Lehman’s 7th Avenue glass tower shortly after the September 15th screen shot below. Yet the decision to allow Lehman’s stock and bondholders to take a severe haircut first did not cause the thundering collapse of the housing and credit markets, nor the loss of the artificially bloated level of consumption spending, jobs and income that had accompanied the giant financial bubble that finally burst in September 2008.

The villain is the Greenspan Fed and the rampage of debt and speculation its cheap money and “wealth effects” coddling of Wall Street had engendered over the previous two decades. When Greenspan took office in 1987, total credit market debt outstanding was $10.5 trillion, but by the time of the Lehman event it was nearly $53 trillion. This means that the debt burden on the US economy had soared by 5X during a period when nominal GDP grew by only 2.9X. That’s called leveraging up big time—–and it fueled a party of consumption and speculation like the nation had not experienced since the…
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Recovery? 60% Of Greeks Live At Or Below Poverty Levels

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

While Greek government yields (and political leaders) proclaim the troubled peripheral European nation is ‘recovering’, the risk of major political upheaval in Greece has not gone away ahead of next year’s presidential vote next year. As Reuters notes, under growing pressure from anti-bailout leftists, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras desperately needs a new narrative to get the backing of lawmakers and rally Greeks fed up with four years of austerity. We wish him luck as Keep Talking Greece notes, it is high time that the real data of the economic situation of the Greek society come to the surface and so it did this week. A report from Greece’s State Budget Office found that three in every five Greeks, or some 6.3 million people, were living in poverty or under the threat of poverty in 2013 due to material deprivation and unemployment.

As we noted previously, poverty rates are disturbing in Greece

 

As Reuters reports,

Four years after a messy descent into emergency funding to stave off bankruptcy, Greece’s government is trying to pull the plug on a deeply unpopular bailout program to secure its own survival.

Under growing pressure from anti-bailout leftists, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras desperately needs a new narrative to get the backing of lawmakers in a crucial presidential vote next year and rally Greeks fed up with four years of austerity.

It is a gamble with high stakes for the Greek economy and Athens’ relations with its euro zone peers. Failure by Samaras to get his presidential nominee elected would trigger new polls that his anti-austerity rivals would almost certainly win.

He better try hard as the situation is dismal… (as ekathimerini reports,)

Three in every five Greeks, or some 6.3 million people, were living in poverty or under the threat of poverty in 2013 due to material deprivation and unemployment, a report by Parliament’s State Budget Office showed on Thursday.

 

Using data on household incomes and living conditions, the report – titled “Minimum Income Policies in the European Union and Greece: A Comparative Analysis” – found that “some 2.5 million people are below the threshold of relative poverty, which is set at 60 percent of the average household


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Draghi Pressures ECB to Buy “Junk-Rated” Loan Bundles of Greece and Cyprus

Courtesy of Mish.

On September 4, ECB President pulled out a financial bazooka including a pledge to build up the ECB’s balance sheet by another €1 trillion.

Draghi confirmed the asset purchases would “include the real estate, the RMBS, real estate ABS. It would also include a fairly wide range of ABS containing loans to the real economy,” but only “the senior tranches, and the mezzanine tranches only if there is a guarantee.

Now, just three weeks later, he wants to buy outright junk, presumably without guarantees.

Please consider Mario Draghi pushes for ECB to accept Greek and Cypriot ‘junk’ loan bundles.

Mario Draghi is to push the European Central Bank to buy bundles of Greek and Cypriot bank loans with “junk” ratings, in a move that is set to exacerbate tensions between Germany and the bank.

The ECB’s executive board will propose that existing requirements on the quality of assets accepted by the bank are relaxed to allow the eurozone’s monetary guardian to buy the safer slices of Greek and Cypriot asset backed securities, or ABS, say people familiar with the matter.

However, the idea is likely to face staunch opposition in Germany, straining already tense relations between the ECB and officials in the eurozone’s largest economy.

Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann, who also sits on the ECB’s policy making governing council, has already objected to the plan to buy ABS, which he says leaves the central bank’s balance sheet too exposed to risks.

Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister, has also voiced his opposition, saying purchases would heighten concerns about potential conflicts of interest between the ECB’s role as monetary policy maker and bank supervisor.

While the safer slices – or senior tranches – of Greek and Cypriot ABS only make up a tiny proportion of Europe’s securitisation market, it would free up billions in liquidity for banks in two of the eurozone’s weakest economies, and potentially boost lending to credit-starved smaller businesses in the currency area’s periphery.

Free Up Liquidity?

The idea that swapping money for junk will free up liquidity is as ridiculous as moving a rotting fish from your pantry to the living room in hopes the stench will go away.

In this case, the stench on Greek bank balance sheets will not go away. Instead, stench will also appear on the balance sheet of the ECB….



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These Are The Warships Attacking Syrian Militants From Afar

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Two classes of warships kicked off the U.S.-led attacks on Islamic State and the al Qaeda-linked Khorasan group.

 

WSJ’s Jason Bellini explains what are these ships’ capabilities?

 

Source: WSJ Video





“If Something Rattles This Ponzi Scheme, Life In America Will Change Overnight”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

I know that headline sounds completely outrageous.  But it is actually true.  The U.S. government is borrowing about 8 trillion dollars a year, and you are about to see the hard numbers that prove this.  When discussing the national debt, most people tend to only focus on the amount that it increases each 12 months.  And as I wrote about recently, the U.S. national debt has increased by more than a trillion dollars in fiscal year 2014.  But that does not count the huge amounts of U.S. Treasury securities that the federal government must redeem each year.  When these debt instruments hit their maturity date, the U.S. government must pay them off.  This is done by borrowing more money to pay off the previous debts.  In fiscal year 2013, redemptions of U.S. Treasury securities totaled $7,546,726,000,000 and new debt totaling $8,323,949,000,000 was issued.  The final numbers for fiscal year 2014 are likely to be significantly higher than that.

So why does so much government debt come due each year?

Well, in recent years government officials figured out that they could save a lot of money on interest payments by borrowing over shorter time frames.  For example, it costs the government far more to borrow money for 10 years than it does for 1 year.  So a strategy was hatched to borrow money for very short periods of time and to keep "rolling it over" again and again and again.

This strategy has indeed saved the federal government hundreds of billions of dollars in interest payments, but it has also created a situation where the federal government must borrow about 8 trillion dollars a year just to keep up with the game.

So what happens when the rest of the world decides that it does not want to loan us 8 trillion dollars a year at ultra-low interest rates?

Well, the game will be over and we will be in a massive amount of trouble.

I am about to share with you some numbers that were originally reported by CNS News.  As you can see, far more debt is being redeemed and issued today than back during the middle part of the last decade…

2013

Redeemed: $7,546,726,000,000…
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The U.S. Government Is Borrowing About 8 Trillion Dollars A Year

Courtesy of Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse

The U.S. government is borrowing about 8 trillion dollars a year, and you are about to see the hard numbers that prove this.  When discussing the national debt, most people tend to only focus on the amount that it increases each 12 months.  And as I wrote about recently, the U.S. national debt has increased by more than a trillion dollars in fiscal year 2014.  But that does not count the huge amounts of U.S. Treasury securities that the federal government must redeem each year.  When these debt instruments hit their maturity date, the U.S. government must pay them off.  This is done by borrowing more money to pay off the previous debts.  In fiscal year 2013, redemptions of U.S. Treasury securities totaled $7,546,726,000,000 and new debt totaling $8,323,949,000,000 was issued.  The final numbers for fiscal year 2014 are likely to be significantly higher than that.

So why does so much government debt come due each year?

Well, in recent years government officials figured out that they could save a lot of money on interest payments by borrowing over shorter time frames.  For example, it costs the government far more to borrow money for 10 years than it does for 1 year.  So a strategy was hatched to borrow money for very short periods of time and to keep "rolling it over" again and again and again.

This strategy has indeed saved the federal government hundreds of billions of dollars in interest payments, but it has also created a situation where the federal government must borrow about 8 trillion dollars a year just to keep up with the game.

So what happens when the rest of the world decides that it does not want to loan us 8 trillion dollars a year at ultra-low interest rates?

Well, the game will be over and we will be in a massive amount of trouble.

I am about to share with you some numbers that were originally reported by CNS News.  As you can see, far more debt is being redeemed and issued today than back during the middle part of the last decade…

2013

Redeemed: $7,546,726,000,000

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Summing Up The ‘Recovery’ In 1 Simple Chart

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

The “confidence” gap between high-income and low-income earners has never been larger… Thank you Ben and Janet…

 

 

Chart: Bloomberg





Does Surging Demand For Gold & Silver Coins Signal A Bottom?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Submitted by John Rubino via DollarCollapse blog,

Reports of individuals snapping up near-record numbers of gold and silver coins are coming in from around the world:

U.S. Mint American Eagle gold coin sales set to rise sharply in Sept

(Reuters) – The U.S. Mint has sold nearly 50,000 ounces of American Eagle gold coins so far in September, almost double its total in August, as a sharp pullback in gold prices and geopolitical tensions boosted interest for physical products from retail investors.

With only six business days left until the end of September, sales of American Eagle bullion gold coins made for investors were 46,000 ounces, up 84 percent from August sales of 25,000 ounces, the latest U.S. Mint data showed on Monday.

 

Record highs in U.S. equities also prompted some retail investors to buy precious metal products to diversify their portfolios, said David Beahm, vice president at New Orleans coin dealer Blanchard & Co.

German Bullion Dealers Report Major Increase in Sales

(Gold Reporter) Bullion dealers from all regions report that gold sales in the German bullion trade market surge since last week. Suppressed prices for gold and silver are obviously considered buying rates by German investors. The German precious metals trade reports a surge in sales.

“For about a week we record considerably increased turnover again, which is now on previous year’s level, so it doubled compared to the recent months.”, Rene Lehman from the internet dealer Münzland in Dresden told Goldreporter.

“We can confirm that customer demand has considerably increased in the recent days.“, said Dominik Kochmann, CEO of ESG Edelmetalle in Rheinstetten.

 

Daniel Marburger, Director of Coininvest GmbH in Frankfurt/Main also stated that “In the past seven working days we have seen an extreme surge in demand.”

 

Christian Brenner, Chief Executive of Philoro Edelmetalle GmbH: “Already in August we noticed an increase on orders compared to the previous months, but September… September beats it all. From a German viewpoint it’s the strongest month of 2014.”

Perth Mint Gold and Silver Bullion Sales Surge in August

(Coin News) Australian sales of bullion gold and silver surged in August after falling to a three-month low in


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More Lies: Watchdog Finds Government “Greatly Exaggerated” Success In Funding Small Businesses Last Year

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

New investigations by the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Inspector General have found SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet’s announcement that small businesses received 23.39% of all federal contracts was greatly exaggerated. As WaPo reports, Federal agencies overstated their success last year in contracting with small businesses that face socio-economic disadvantages finding $400 million worth of contracts that agencies gave to ineligible firms but still counted toward their targets. Rather stunningly, the report found of the top 100 recipients of the highest dollar amount of federal small business contracts, over 75% were actually current large businesses. Trust…

 

 

As The Washington Post reports,

Federal agencies overstated their success last year in contracting with small businesses that face socio-economic disadvantages, according to a watchdog report released Wednesday.

 

The Small Business Administration’s inspector general’s office said it identified $400 million worth of contracts that agencies gave to ineligible firms but still counted toward their targets.

 

The findings are significant because 2013 was the first year that the Obama administration claimed to have met the federal government’s small-business contracting goals. The flawed numbers led to inaccurate reports to Congress and the American people, according to the report.

And as MarketWatch adds,

The most recent data from the Federal Procurement Data System indicates of the top 100 recipients of the highest dollar amount of federal small business contracts, over 75% were actually current large businesses.

 

 

The first SBA Inspector General investigation that uncovered fraud in federal small business contracting was released in 1995. In 2003 an investigation by the Government Accountability Office found over 5,000 large businesses were receiving federal small business contracts.

 

The American Small Business League (ASBL) has launched a national campaign to secure a Government Accountability Office (GAO) and FBI investigation to uncover the specific individuals that were responsible for the two decades of fraud that have been uncovered at the SBA.

*  *  *
So much for caring about the middle-class and small business… but we assume this won’t be mentioned on the mainstream media platforms that need access to The White House.





Caught On Tape: HFT Algo Manipulating GOOGL 1000 Times Per Second

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by Tyler Durden.

Via Nanex,

It is very common to find examples of stock quotes changing rapidly – hundreds and sometimes thousands of times per second in a single stock. At the extreme, we've seen in excess of 25,000 quote changes in a single stock in one second of time or less (this page has a chart that documents every extreme example). Often there are no trades during these events. Sometimes a simple pattern evolves from the quote price changes, such as in the case of a certain High Frequency Trading (HFT) algorithm that we've recently seen run every day in Google stock.

This particular algorithm starts with a bid (or offer) several dollars away from the bids (offers) from one of the other 10 exchanges trading Google Class A stock (symbol GOOGL). We've also seen this algo running in other higher priced stocks. The algo in this example only appears to run from the Nasdaq-Boston (BOST) exchange. In the chart below, we show bids and offers color coded by reporting exchange (there are 10 exchanges in GOOGL). Note that these are "top of book" quotes – that is, they are the highest bid price and lowest ask price from that exchange. The best top-of-book bid and ask become the National Best Bid/Offer (NBBO) and  is shown as light gray shading in these charts. Note, this algo only affects the NBBO when it gets near the end of its price stepping loop.

The algo starts with an order to buy 100 shares at $581.87. This is replaced, sometimes only milliseconds later, with an order to buy 100 shares at $581.88 (1 penny higher). Over the course of 1.5 seconds, this process repeats another 253 times, ending with a order to buy at $584.41. Within less than a second, the $584.41 order is canceled and replaced with an order several dollars lower, and the cycle repeats.

In the case below, the number of quote changes from this HFT algo is averaging 175 per second, but during some periods the rate approaches 1000 per second (1 per millisecond).

1. GOOGL bids and asks color coded by reporting exchange over a 5 second period of time.



Now, some folks (particularly the math/physics challenged) will say:

"So what? HFT


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Zero Hedge

Belgian F-16 Pilot Ejects Before Fiery Crash, Gets Caught In High Voltage Power Lines

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

A Belgian F-16 fighter jet crashed in Northwestern France on Thursday, leaving one of its pilots hanging by his parachute from high voltage electricity lines, according to the BBC

Both pilots had minor injuries after they ejected from the plane, which clipped the roof of a house and crashed in a field near Pluvinger. The pilot stuck in the 250,000 volt power lines was brought down after a two hour rescue operation by French emergency ser...



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Phil's Favorites

Buyer beware: How Libra differs from Bitcoin

 

Buyer beware: How Libra differs from Bitcoin

Recent revelations about the lack of privacy protections in place at the companies involved in Facebook’s new Libra crytocurrency raise concerns about how much trust users can place in Libra. (Shutterstock)

Courtesy of Alfred Lehar, University of Calgary

Facebook, the largest social network in the world, stunned the world earlier this year with the announcement of its own cryptocurrency, Libra.

The launch has raised questions about the difference between Libra and existing cryptocurrencies, as well as the implications of private companies competing with s...



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Digital Currencies

Buyer beware: How Libra differs from Bitcoin

 

Buyer beware: How Libra differs from Bitcoin

Recent revelations about the lack of privacy protections in place at the companies involved in Facebook’s new Libra crytocurrency raise concerns about how much trust users can place in Libra. (Shutterstock)

Courtesy of Alfred Lehar, University of Calgary

Facebook, the largest social network in the world, stunned the world earlier this year with the announcement of its own cryptocurrency, Libra.

The launch has raised questions about the difference between Libra and existing cryptocurrencies, as well as the implications of private companies competing with s...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Look Out Bears! Fed New QE Now Up to $165 Billion

Courtesy of Lee Adler

I have been warning for months that the Fed would need new QE to counter the impact of massive waves of Treasury supply. I thought that that would come later, rather than sooner. Sorry folks, wrong about that. The NY Fed announced another round of new TOMO (Temporary Open Market Operations) today.

In addition to the $75 billion in overnight repos that the Fed issued and has been rolling over since Tuesday, next week the Fed will issue another $90 billion. They’ll come in the form of three $30 billion, 14 day repos to be offered next week.

That brings the new Fed QE to a total of $165 billion. Even in the worst days of the financial crisis, I can’t remember the Fed ballooning its balance sheet by $165 bi...



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The Technical Traders

Is A Price Revaluation Event About To Happen?

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Skilled technical traders must be aware that price is setting up for a breakout or breakdown event with recent Doji, Hammer
and other narrow range price bars.  These types of Japanese Candlestick patterns are warnings that price is coiling into
a tight range and the more we see them in a series, the more likely price is building up some type of explosive price breakout/breakdown move in the near future.  The ES (S&P 500 E-mini futures) chart is a perfect example of these types of price bars on the Daily chart (see below).

Tri-Star Tops, Three River Evening Star patterns, Hammers/Hangmen and Dojis are all very common near extreme price peaks and troughs.  The rea...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

India About To Experience Major Strength? Possible Says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

If one invested in the India ETF (INDA) back in January of 2012, your total 7-year return would be 24%. During the same time frame, the S&P 500 made 124%. The 7-year spread between the two is a large 100%!

Are things about to improve for the INDA ETF and could it be time for the relative weakness to change? Possible!

This chart looks at the INDA/SPX ratio since early 2012. The ratio continues to be in a major downtrend.

The ratio hit a 7-year low a few months ago and this week it kissed those lows again at (1). The ratio near weeks end is attempting to...



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Insider Scoop

10 Biggest Price Target Changes For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Credit Suisse raised IHS Markit Ltd (NYSE: INFO) price target from $68 to $76. IHS Markit shares closed at $67.75 on Thursday.
  • Wedbush boosted Restoration Hardware Holdings, Inc (NYSE: RH) price target from $170 to $185. RH shares closed at $169.49 on Thursday.
  • Mizuho lifted Seagate Technology PLC (NASDAQ: STX) price target from $46 to $50. Seagate shares closed at $52.94 on Thursday.
  • UBS raised the price target for Weight Watchers Intern...


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Chart School

Crude Oil Cycle Bottom aligns with Saudi Oil Attack

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Do the cycles know? Funny how cycle lows attract the need for higher prices, no matter what the news is!

These are the questions before markets on on Monday 16th Aug 2019:

1) A much higher oil price in quick time can not be tolerated by the consumer, as it gives birth to much higher inflation and a tax on the average Joe disposable income. This is recessionary pressure.

2) With (1) above the real issue will be the higher interest rate and US dollar effect on the SP500 near all time highs.

3) A moderately higher oil price is likely to be absorbed and be bullish as it creates income for struggling energy companies and the inflation shock may be muted. 

We shall see. 

...

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Biotech

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

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

 

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

Courtesy of  , Visual Capitalist

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

As evidence of cannabis’ many benefits mounts, so does the interest from the global pharmaceutical industry, known as Big Pharma. The entrance of such behemoths will radically transform the cannabis industry—once heavily stigmatized, it is now a potentially game-changing source of growth for countless co...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

...

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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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Promotions

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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.

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About Phil:

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