Posts Tagged ‘low interest rates’

Wall Street Uses Your Money To Lobby Against You. What.

Wall Street Uses Your Money To Lobby Against You. What.

Courtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker 

You know how, like, your grandparents have no choice but to buy the convertible bonds of casino companies and trade Chinese penny stocks because the rate on their money market fund is basically 2 basis points?

Yeah.

So, the reason for the seemingly endless drought in responsible yield options for savers is that banks needed to "reflate" themselves and "rebuild their balance sheets" for the good of the system.  Yeah "The System", that’s the ticket.  So rates were brought down to effectively zero in an effort to stabilize housing and ensure liquidity for businesses who wanted to borrow or hire.

And since the part about stabilizing housing and helping business owners to hire people was a scam and was demonstrably unsuccessful, we can really only point to the reflating banks part and say that something has been accomplished.

Except the banks are doing a lot more than shoring up balance sheets with the zero-cost dollars they have been gorging on over the last 18 months – in addition to reporting record profitability and almost record compensation levels, they’ve also been attempting to buy both sides of the aisle, lobbying like there’s no tomorrow in our nation’s capital.

Get a load of this (from CNN Money):

The financial industry has spent $251 million on lobbying so far this year as lawmakers hammered out new rules of the road for Wall Street, according to the latest lobbying reports compiled by a watchdog group.

The financial sector spent more than any other special interest group from April through the end of June — a whopping $126 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ latest estimates. Wall Street banks, as well as insurance and real estate firms, hiked the amount they spent on lobbying by 12% in the second quarter compared to the same period last year.

And really, what are you going to do about it?  Probably nothing, because this has been going on for almost 2 years and you are busy DVRing True Blood and downloading apps that map out the closest Chipotle locations.

Lobbying is what industries do when pending legislation threatens their future profitability.  This is perfectly normal, except in the case of the banks they are using your money to lobby against protections that may save you from the next Frenzy-Depression combo that is surely around the corner.

And it is Your…
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BERNANKE’S GREAT MONETARIST GAFFE

BERNANKE’S GREAT MONETARIST GAFFE

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist 

I had to chuckle at the headline on Yahoo Finance throughout much of Monday’s trading session:

rateshead BERNANKES GREAT MONETARIST GAFFE

It’s an accurate headline.  Mortgage rates have declined in recent weeks as U.S. government bonds have surged.  But the actual article was filled with very dramatic certainties (most of which were inaccurate and/or misleading).  For instance, the excellent Mark Zandi of Moody’s was quoted saying that we are seeing a once in a generation buying opportunity in real estate:

“It’s the best time in our generation to buy.  It may be the best time in any generation. Mortgage rates are so low and with homes prices down and lots of inventory, you couldn’t pick a better time to buy or re-finance.”

Wow, sounds like we should all go out and buy houses, right?  It gets rosier though.  The article details why we should all run out and buy houses immediately:

But the decline in rates probably won’t last long, analysts say. So homeowners need to move fast.

“I think they won’t last much longer than a month or two at the best,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors. “I can see them going up to 5.5 percent by the end of June if not sooner.”

Move fast, huh?  Prices are low.  Rates are going back up.  That sounds pretty convincing.  If interest rates (and home prices) are only going to be low for a brief period then we should capitalize on that opportunity.  Right?   But then the article takes a dramatic turn for the worst when they try to explain the actual fundamentals behind the rising interest rate argument:

“The US is fortunate now that there’s no pressure on interest rates,” Yun goes on to say. “But going forward, higher rates will be needed for financing the debt.”

(Screeching sound).   Uh oh.  Here we go again with the hyperinflation, the USA is dying, the dollar is finished, higher interest rates will be needed to “finance our debt”, argument.  The dots are easy to connect in this article.  In essence, the article implies that interest rates are at record lows because investors have sought the safety of government bonds and mortgage rates have subsequently declined.  What they fail to expand on is why interest rates have been declining in recent weeks when, according to…
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Capitalism Without Capital

This is an excellent article by Mike about the causes of the financial meltdown. – Ilene

Capitalism Without Capital

Statues of lions, Terrace of the Lions, Delos, Greece

Courtesy of MIKE WHITNEY writing at CounterPunch 

Volatility is back and stocks have started zigzagging wildly again. This time the catalyst is Greece, but tomorrow it could be something else. The problem is there’s too much leverage in the system, and that’s generating uncertainty about the true condition of the economy. For a long time, leverage wasn’t an issue, because there was enough liquidity to keep things bobbing along smoothly.  But that changed when Lehman Bros. filed for bankruptcy and non-bank funding began to shut down. When the so-called "shadow banking" system crashed, liquidity dried up and the markets went into a nosedive.  That’s why Fed Chair Ben Bernanke stepped in and provided short-term loans to under-capitalized financial institutions. Bernanke’s rescue operation revived the system, but it also transferred $1.7 trillion of illiquid assets and non-performing loans onto the Fed’s balance sheet. So the problem really hasn’t been fixed after all; the debts have just been moved from one balance sheet to another.

Last Thursday, troubles in Greece triggered a selloff on all the main indexes. At one point, shares on the Dow plunged 998 points before regaining 600 points by the end of the session. Some of losses were due to High-Frequency Trading (HFT), which is computer-driven program-trading that executes millions of buy and sell orders in the blink of an eye. HFT now accounts for more than 60 percent of all trading activity on the NYSE. Paul Kedrosky explains what happened in greater detail in his article, "The Run on the Shadow Liquidity System". Here’s an excerpt:

"As most will know, liquidity is, like so many things in financial life, something you can choke on as long as you don’t want any….Liquidity is a function of various things working fairly smoothly together, including other investors, market-makers, and, yes, technical algorithms scraping fractions of pennies as things change hands. Together, all these actors create that liquidity that everyone wants, and, for the most part, that everyone takes for granted…..

“Largely unnoticed, however, at least among non-professional investors, the provision of liquidity has changed immensely in recent years. It is more fickle, less predictable, and more prone to disappearing suddenly, like snow sublimating straight to vapor during a spring heat wave. Why? Because traditional providers of liquidity,


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Maestro no more

Given the name of his blog, it’s not surprising that Tim has thoughts on the Maestro’s latest return to explain (again) why the mess was not his fault. – Ilene 

Maestro no more

Courtesy of Tim Iacono at The Mess That Greenspan Made

The defense of monetary policy during the gestation years of the housing bubble was reiterated (yet again) yesterday by former Fed chief Alan Greenspan in a paper(.pdf) titled "The Crisis" that is being presented today at the Brookings Institution.

While the 48 pages of text and the 18 page appendix await attention that they are unlikely to receive from me on this Friday, the contents are quite clearly based on reports in the mainstream financial media and the two central points appear to be:

1. Low rates are not to blame

2. See number 1

The Wall Street Journal carries a story in the public area of their website today where Jon Hilsenrath restores some order to the recent reporting on the former Fed chairman, inserting the once-mandatory caveats that all post-2008 Greenspan stories used to carry before an image re-building campaign apparently met with some success over the last year or so:

Mr. Greenspan’s reputation has been tarnished by the crisis. Widely hailed when he left office in January 2006 as one of


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Taylor, NY Times, Dean Baker Call Out Bernanke

Taylor, NY Times, Dean Baker Call Out Bernanke

Courtesy of Mish

Oil being poured into water, studio shot

Bernanke’s hubris, inability to admit mistakes, and his blaming everyone but himself for his mistakes is increasingly starting to touch on nerves.

On Tuesday, the New York Times asked the right question: If Fed Missed This Bubble, Will It See a New One?

In 2005, Mr. Bernanke — then a Bush administration official — said a housing bubble was “a pretty unlikely possibility.” As late as May 2007, he said that Fed officials “do not expect significant spillovers from the subprime market to the rest of the economy.”

The fact that Mr. Bernanke and other regulators still have not explained why they failed to recognize the last bubble is the weakest link in the Fed’s push for more power. It raises the question: Why should Congress, or anyone else, have faith that future Fed officials will recognize the next bubble?

Just this week, Mr. Bernanke went to the annual meeting of academic economists in Atlanta to offer his own history of Fed policy during the bubble. Most of his speech, though, was a spirited defense of the Fed’s interest rate policy, complete with slides and formulas, like (pt – pt*) > 0. Only in the last few minutes did he discuss lax regulation. The solution, he said, was “better and smarter” regulation. He never acknowledged that the Fed simply missed the bubble.

“We’ve never had a decline in house prices on a nationwide basis,” Mr. Bernanke said on CNBC in 2005.

“The Federal Reserve has unparalleled expertise,” Mr. Bernanke told Congress last month. “We have a great group of economists, financial market experts and others who are unique in Washington in their ability to address these issues.”

Fair enough. At some point, though, it sure would be nice to hear those experts explain how they missed the biggest bubble of our time.

Useless Expertise

All that "expertise" was less than useless. It is amazing how hopeless Bernanke was about housing, about jobs, about the recession, about everything.

Bernanke did not get a single thing right.

Taylor Disputes Bernanke

Please consider Taylor Disputes Bernanke on Bubble, Says Low Rates Played Role.

John Taylor, creator of the so-called Taylor rule for guiding monetary policy, disputed Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s argument that low interest rates didn’t


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GOLD REPRESENTS THE MASSIVE RISKS IN THIS MARKET

Is gold risky?  At least Pragcap thinks so, in contrast to many other’s predicting much higher prices.  Here’s why. – Ilene

GOLD REPRESENTS THE MASSIVE RISKS IN THIS MARKET

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

Goldbeater producing

There is no doubt a bubble forming in gold prices. In my opinion, the price of gold perfectly reflects the irrationality across many major markets, most notably, the equity markets. Despite no signs of inflation gold is up over 70% in the last year.  As we’ve long opined, this is nothing more than the irrational money chasing that the Federal Reserve has once again created via their magically destructive printing press

The Fed is effectively forcing investors into risky assets as they give investors no other choice to support their retirement/income needs via their ZIRP.  The price of gold has gone nearly parabolic in recent weeks and I would now classify gold as the riskiest of risky assets to own.  This move down in the dollar and up in gold has come to epitomize the failure of Fed policy to reflate markets back to normality.   As we’ve said before, there are only two outcomes from the Fed printing policy: more bubbles or utter failure.  For now, it looks like we’re in store for the former and that means there are more busts in our future.   I think monetary and fiscal policy are currently making our macro problems even worse, but how bad these problems become has yet to be seen.

 GOLD REPRESENTS THE MASSIVE RISKS IN THIS MARKET

 


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Phil's Favorites

Super-App

 

Super-App

Courtesy of Scott Galloway, No Mercy/No Malice, @profgalloway

Finally.

Two years ago I wrote a letter to the chairman of Twitter calling for Jack Dorsey to be replaced as CEO. Or, more to the point, for the board to appoint a full-time CEO. An executive who spends 90% of his time running another company and plans to spend half the year on a ...



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Zero Hedge

FDA Expedites Review Process For Omicron Vaccines And Drugs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

It's been one week since the omicron variant first rattled markets and prompted the Federal Reserve's latest rethink of its plans for rolling back its monetary stimulus. And in that time, vaccine-makers have talked their book by sharing plans to produce new omicron-targeted vaccines, while others claim that there are no data suggesting the Pfizer-BioNTech jab is less effective against omicron.

Assuming the world still does care about omicron three months from now (the first cases of the variant have only just been confirmed in the US in recent days), the FDA and its advisors are reportedly working on an expedited approval pro...



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Chart School

Gold and Silver stock cycle bottom near

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

There are some regular cycles at play with the Gold and Silver stock leaders.

The metal stocks cycles in Australia lead the rest of world metal stocks. This is because you can make gains on the stock prices as well as the currency price (AUDUSD), this is the worlds first go to gold stock.

The US FED has just announced inflation is not transitory but is structural. This opens the door for inflation hedging strategies, and gold and silver stocks will be part of this play.

Chart 1 - This shows ASX Newcrest Mining near cycle lows, this is important as Wyckoff logic investors will be watching for 'whale' buying and accumulation swings up and down. Yes we may see a few more weeks of price moving along range bound lows but the cycle does ...

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Biotech/COVID-19

Omicron and market sell-off: don't be surprised if there's more turbulence to come

 

Omicron and market sell-off: don’t be surprised if there’s more turbulence to come

shutterstock.

Courtesy of Arturo Bris, International Institute for Management Development (IMD)

Until the Omicron variant hit the headlines, the signs were that 2021 was going to close with a stellar stock-market performance. Most markets have been on the rise since the beginning of the year, with the S&P500 up about 25% and the FTSE All Share index up by about 10%.

There had ...



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Politics

The first Thanksgiving is a key chapter in America's origin story - but what happened in Virginia four months later mattered much more

 

The first Thanksgiving is a key chapter in America’s origin story – but what happened in Virginia four months later mattered much more

In the 19th century, there was a campaign to link the Thanksgiving holiday to the Pilgrims. Bettman/Getty Images

Courtesy of Peter C. Mancall, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving in New England. Remembered and retold as an allegory for perseverance and cooper...



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Digital Currencies

Stablecoins: these cryptocurrencies threaten the financial system, but no one is getting to grips with them

 

Stablecoins: these cryptocurrencies threaten the financial system, but no one is getting to grips with them

Safe as houses? iQoncept

Courtesy of Jean-Philippe Serbera, Sheffield Hallam University

Cryptocurrencies have had an exceptional year, reaching a combined value of more than US$3 trillion (£2.2 trillion) for the first time in November. The market seems to have benefited from the public having tim...



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Promotions

Phil's Interview on Options Trading with TD Bank

TD Bank's host Bryan Rogers interviewed Phil on June 10 as part of TD's Options Education Month. If you missed the program, be sure to watch the video below. It should be required viewing for anyone trading or thinking about trading using options. 

Watch here:

TD's webinar with Phil (link) or right here at PSW

Screenshots of TD's slides illustrating Phil's examples:

 

 

&n...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Crude Oil Cleared For Blast Off On This Dual Breakout?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Is Crude Oil about to blast off and hit much higher prices? It might be worth being aware of what could be taking place this month in this important commodity!

Crude Oil has created lower highs over the past 13-years, since peaking back in 2008, along line (1).

It created a “Double Top at (2), then it proceeded to decline more than 60% in four months.

The countertrend rally in Crude Oil has it attempting to break above its 13-year falling resistance as well as its double top at (3).

A successful breakout at (3) would suggest Crude Oil is about to mo...



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ValueWalk

Managing Investments As A Charity Or Nonprofit

By Anna Peel. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Maintaining financial viability is a constant challenge for charities and nonprofit organizations.

Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

The past year has underscored that challenge. The pandemic has not just affected investment returns – it’s also had serious implications for charitable activities and the ability to fundraise. For some organizations, it’s even raised doubts about whether they can continue to operate.

Finding ways to generate long-term, sustainable returns for ...



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Mapping The Market

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

 

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

Courtesy of Marcus Lu, Visual Capitalist

The Suez Canal: A Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

On March 23, 2021, a massive ship named Ever Given became lodged in the Suez Canal, completely blocking traffic in both directions. According to the Suez Canal Authority, the 1,312 foot long (400 m) container ship ran aground during a sandstorm that caused low visibility, impacting the ship’s navigation. The vessel is owned by Taiwanese shipping firm, Evergreen Marine.

With over 2...



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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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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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