Posts Tagged ‘Ponzi’

PIMCO’s Bill Gross’ December Letter – We’re All Living in Allentown, PA

Courtesy of TraderMark of Fund My Mutual Fund

PIMCO’s Bill Gross’ monthly letter for December is out and it speaks to a lot of themes FMMF has been touching on for years – a very nice read for those of you not familiar with his work.  I also embedded a video of an appearance of his yesterday on CNBC.

Full letter below – hit fullscreen to make it easy to read

Some key points:

  • The global economy is suffering from a lack of aggregate demand. With insufficient demand, nations compete furiously for their share of the diminishing growth pie.
  • In the U.S. and Euroland, many policies only temporarily bolster consumption while failing to address the fundamental problem of developed economies: Job growth is moving inexorably to developing economies because they are more competitive.
  • Unless developed economies learn to compete the old-fashioned way – by making more goods and making them better – the smart money will continue to move offshore to Asia, Brazil and their developing economy counterparts, both in asset and in currency space. 

Two ways the U.S. can address this – the hard (but long term healthy) way or the easy (but long term unhealthy) way.  You can guess which way we will ultimately go….

The right way:

  • The constructive way is to stop making paper and start making things. Replace subprimes, and yes, Treasury bonds with American cars, steel, iPads, airplanes, corn – whatever the world wants that


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Thursday Thrust – Just Buy the F’ing Dips!

It's very sad when you can get your best financial advice from cartoon characters.

I apologize for the language but  this video pretty much says it all.  As the man in green says:  "Buy the f'ing dip, you f'ing idiot."  That's the entirety of the market strategy we are being trained like Pavlov's dogs to follow.  Also as the man says "Now, don't forget this only works if you go out and tell all your friends and family to do the same.  That way, when they are buying more expensively than you, you can sell back to them and collect your money."  

Of course it's a Ponzi scheme but it's a gigantic, legal one and the best thing about it is that the Government FORCES everyone to play so you never run out of suckers.  When there is a lack of actual new sucker/investors to put money in, the Government steps in with stimulus or buys equities (QE1) or buy Treasuries from the banks so they can have free capital to buy equities with (QE2).  They debase the currency and drive inflation higher while talking it up even more so and virtually penalizing people for saving money and not shopping.  In this way, the US Government places a tax on every single citizen through a systemic devaluation of their lifetime accumulation of wealth as well as unfavorable savings and inflation conditions that are aimed to force money into equities and commodities.  

What is the logic to this?  Well, none if you are a government that actually cares about the long-term benefit of 310M people but we haven't had a government that was "for the people" since they put two in the back of Kennedy's neck so why complain about it now? What we should be doing is celebrating the sheer stupidity of the situation and enjoying the ride as this stock market roller coaster clacks up the tracks – towards a drop that is certain to have investors screaming all the way down but, for now, let's listen to what the Bernanke Bears have to say in their latest cartoon about the Bank America crisis with WikiLeaks as well as their advice on NFLX and CRM:

Now, what could be more simple than that?  Just take all…
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Naked Capitalism and My Scary Minsky Model

Naked Capitalism and My Scary Minsky Model

Courtesy of Steve Keen at Debtwatch

I met with Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism on the weekend, at a superb Japanese restaurant that only New York locals could find (and I’ll keep its location quiet for their benefit–too much publicity could spoil a spectacular thing). Yves was kind enough to post details of my latest academic paper at her site in a post she entitled “Steve Keen’s scary Minsky model“.

Yves found the model scary, not because it revealed anything about the economy that she didn’t already know, but because it so easily reproduced the Ponzi features of the economy she knows so well.

I have yet to attempt to fit the model to data–and given its nonlinearity, that won’t be easy–but its qualitative behavior is very close to what we’ve experienced. As in the real world, a series of booms and busts give the superficial appearance of an economy entering a “Great Moderation”–just before it collapses.

The motive force driving the crash is the ratio of debt to GDP–a key feature of the real world that the mainstream economists who dominate the world’s academic university departments, Central Banks and Treasuries ignore. In the model, as in the real world, this ratio rises in a boom as businesses take on debt to finance investment and speculation, and then falls in a slump when things don’t work out in line with the euphoric expectations that developed during the boom. Cash flows during the slump don’t allow borrowers to reduce the debt to GDP ratio to the pre-boom level, but the period of relative stability after the crisis leads to expectations–and debt–taking off once more.

Ultimately, such an extreme level of debt is accumulated that debt servicing exceeds available cash flows, and a permanent slump ensues–a Depression.

There are 4 behavioural functions in the model that mimic the behaviour of the major private actors in the economy–workers, capitalists and bankers. Workers wage rises are related to the level of employment and the rate of inflation; capitalists investment and debt repayment plans are related to the rate of profit; and the willingness of banks to lend is also a function of the rate of profit.…
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The Perversity Of Bank-Driven Policy Response

The Perversity Of Bank-Driven Policy Response

Courtesy of Karl Denninger, The Market Ticker 

If you’re wondering why the big banks have "captured" the political environment in every nation of the world, you need only look at the Goldman results through a somewhat-different lens.

See, it wasn’t just Goldman - it was also Bank of America, Citibank and JP Morgan who scored "perfect quarters."

Aliens selling spaceship in outer space

Now if Goldman’s record was predicated on the outcome of a game of chance set of odds and had an 8.67 x 10-19 probability of occurring, for four of these institutions to do so would be that to the 4th power, or something approaching 5.65 x 10-73.

As pointed out in the forum by Tsberts, there are fewer than this many particles (atoms, etc) in the known universe.

Now it is certainly true that trading activities are not a pure game of chance, and that most of the trading profits are generated from "market making" (that is, earning a spread.)

But that makes the performance even more outrageous, because these "market making" activities are claimed to be something that provides net benefit to market participants and thus the economy as a whole.

That claim looks awfully hard to sustain when the book-maker never loses – not even once on a daily aggregate basis.

Indeed, this puts into stark relief the nature of "banking" these days in the Wall Street context, which is increasingly nothing more than an activity intended and executed to skim off profits for the banksters at the expense of literally everyone else in the economy.

They seem to be doing a good job of it too, if these results are any indication.

Here’s the problem with this, assuming you’re not a bank executive:…
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Cut the Partisan Crap … BOTH the Private Sector AND the Government are to Blame for the Financial Crisis

Cut the Partisan Crap … BOTH the Private Sector AND the Government are to Blame for the Financial Crisis

Courtesy of Washington’s Blog

Partisan GOP hacks say the financial crisis was caused by too much regulation, and government interference in the markets.

But Glass-Steagall was repealed, derivatives were left unregulated, and the regulators were watching porn instead of preventing fraud. Giant banks, hedge funds and other fat cat private players knowingly gamed the market and committed fraud in more ways than can be listed in a single post.

And remember, even the "father of economics" – Adam Smith – didn’t believe in completely unfettered free markets.

On the other hand, partisan Democratic party hacks say that bad corporations caused the crisis, and that if more power is given to Summers, Bernanke, Geithner and the other governmental honchos, they’ll fix everything.

But Summers, Bernanke, Geithner and the other meatheads largely caused the crisis through their actions. And as Simon Johnson points out, the government created the mega-giants, and they are not the product of free market competition.

As I pointed out in February 2009, government fraud is pervasive:

In case you believe that there are only "a couple of bad apples" in the United States, here is an off-the-top-of-my-head list of corruption by leading pillars of American society:

  • Senior military officials stole approximately $125 billion dollars out of Iraq reconstruction funds, dwarfing Madoff’s $50 billion Ponzi scheme (in turn, the looting which is now occurring under the bailout/stimulus programs will far surpass $150 billion)
  • The government-endorsed ratings agencies which were supposed to accurately rate the credit-worthiness of companies and nations committed massive fraud

There are hundreds of similar stories of corruption which have come out recently.

But surely government employees would have done something to stop such corruption if had known about it, right?

Well, actually:


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“The New Bubble Is In Stimulants…..” Rosenberg

"The New Bubble Is In Stimulants….." Rosenberg

Courtesy of Jan-Martin Feddersen at Immobilienblasen

I want to add that the bubble is also in outright & hidden bailouts…..Nothing really new but hours/days away from the next mega bailout ( FHA ) a sober summary how wasteful the resources are "squandered"..…..

government spending

H/T Gary Varvel

Rosenberg

So the U.S. economy is growing again. But how can it not be growing with all the dramatic stimulus? The question should be “why only 3.5%”?

> If you can stand more details you can read "A Sham GDP For A Sham Economy"……

> Für einen teiferen Einblick was die USA veranstalten müssen um überhaupt ein positives GDP Ergebnis auf die Beine zu stellen kann das in "A Sham GDP For A Sham Economy"…… nachlesen….

Now the U.S. government is going to not just extend but indeed expand the tax credits for homeownership. This is happening at a time when the fiscal deficit is 10% of GDP. Simply amazing. The sector already receives more in the way of government support than any other area, and it adds zero to the capital stock or productivity growth. Oh, but it makes us better citizens. Renting must be for losers.

And then we see that the Fed’s TALF (Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility) program that began in March just broke the $90 billion mark. This has basically supported 75% of the growth in the asset-backed market, almost evenly split between auto credit and credit cards because at over a 130% household liability-to-disposable income ratio, the government seems to believe we don’t have enough debt on our balance sheets. Honestly — you can’t make this stuff up.

But here is the real kicker. The Federal Housing Authority (FHA). If you’re wondering how it is that the U.S. housing market has managed to rise from the ashes, well, consider that the government-insured FHA program moved into high gear this year and has basically filled the gap vacated by the private sector. (where default rates are really becoming a problem) should not go unnoticed (and they weren’t by the staff at the WSJ that uncovered the growing problems in yesterday’s edition — FHA Digging Out After Loans Sour on page A2).

[No Easy Exit for Government as Housing Market's Savior]

The efforts to allow practically anyone to secure a mortgage not just


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The Shell Game – How the Federal Reserve is Monetizing Debt

Fascinating!  H/t to Zero Hedge for finding this excellent article by Chris Martenson. (See also Tyler Durden’s "Is The Fed Enabling Foreign Central Banks To Swap Out Their Agency Debt Into Treasuries?")  And welcome to Chris Martenson of ChrisMartenson.com!

The Shell Game – How the Federal Reserve is Monetizing Debt 

Courtesy of Chris Martenson

Executive Summary

  • The Federal Reserve and the federal government are attempting to "plug the gap" caused by a slowdown of private credit/debt creation.
  • Non-US demand for the dollar must remain high, or the dollar will fall.
  • Demand for US assets is in negative territory for 2009
  • The TIC report and Federal Reserve Custody Account are reviewed and compared
  • The Federal Reserve has effectively been monetizing US government debt by cleverly enabling foreign central banks to swap their Agency debt for Treasury debt.
  • The shell game that the Fed is currently playing obscures the fact that money is being printed out of thin air and used to buy US government debt.

The Federal Reserve is monetizing US Treasury debt and is doing so openly, both through its $300 billion commitment to buy Treasuries and by engaging in a sleight of hand maneuver that would make a street hustler from Brooklyn blush. 

This report will wade through some technical details in order to illuminate a complicated issue, but you should take the time to learn about this because it is essential to understanding what the future may hold. 

One of the most important questions of the day concerns how the dollar will fare in the coming months and years. If you are working for a wage, it is essential to know whether you should save or spend that money.  If you have assets to protect, where you place those monies is vitally important and could make the difference between a relatively pleasant future and a difficult one.  If you have any interest at all in where interest rates are headed, you’ll want to understand this story.

There are three major tripwires strung across our landscape, any of which could rather suddenly change the game, if triggered.  One is a sudden rush into material goods and commodities, that might occur if (or when) the truly wealthy ever catch on that paper wealth is a doomed concept.  A second would occur if (or when) the largest


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This just in: Bernie Madoff was a crook!

Courtesy of Christopher at For What It’s Worth

This just in: Bernie Madoff was a crook!

He passed out investors’ money to all his family and spent most of it on himself. No sign yet of the Madoff boys’ houses on Tomac or Cherry Valley being put up for sale, but my guess is that they’ll be just behind Walt’s Round Hill cottage. Maybe a “Madoff real estate tour” should be organized for this fall?

Mr. Madoff listed family members, boat captains, housekeepers and others as employees of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, even though they never actually worked for the firm, newly released documents show. Mr. Madoff also used his firm’s money to pay for real estate, yachts, private planes and country club memberships, according to court filings by the trustee charged with liquidating the Madoff firm and recovering money for victims of Mr. Madoff’s multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

The documents back up a previous assertion by lawyers for the trustee, Irving H. Picard, that Mr. Madoff used his business as a personal “piggy bank.”

[snip]

In January, Mr. Madoff, his wife, Ruth, and other family members spent more than $100,000 on his firm’s American Express Corporate Card. Among the charges were $1,564 at Bistro Chez Jean-Pierre in Palm Beach, Fla.; $2,000 at Georgio Armani in Paris; and $2,813 at the Apple computer store in New York.

Mr. Madoff, the mastermind of the world’s biggest Ponzi scheme, doled out more than $7 million to various companies owned by his wife, Ruth, his two sons and his niece Shana. Peter Madoff’s wife, Marion, was paid a salary of $163,500 by the Madoff firm last year, even though investigators found no evidence that she actually worked there.

Mr. Madoff also paid out $471,000 to a marina in Long Island and nearly $1 million to a number of exclusive country clubs including the Breakers, the Atlantic Country Club on Long Island, the Palm Beach Country Club and the Trump International Golf Club.

If the IRS never audited this guy, who were they auditing? Just asking.


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Phil's Favorites

Identifying a fake picture online is harder than you might think

 

Identifying a fake picture online is harder than you might think

If you know how photo editing works, you might have a leg up at spotting fakes. Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Mona Kasra, University of Virginia

It can be hard to tell whether a picture is real. Consider, as the participants in our recent research did, these two images and see whether you think neither, either or both of them has been doctored.

...



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Zero Hedge

Shocking Before & After Photos Reveal Awful Truth About Widespread US Crop Failures In 2019

Courtesy of Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse

Torrential rains have been hammering the heartland of America for months, and at this point vast stretches of farmland in the middle of the country are nothing but mud.  As a result of the endless rain and unprecedented flooding that we have witnessed, millions of acres of farmland will have nothing planted on them at all in 2019, and that is a major national crisis.  But most farmers were able to get seeds planted in the deplorable conditions, and now they are desperately hoping that something will actually grow.  Unfortunately, on farm after farm what is coming out of the ground looks absolutely terrible.  Even if we get ideal weather conditions for the rest of the summer, there is no way that many of t...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Wilshire 5000 Creating A Triple Top? An Important Breakout Test Is In Play!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

The stock market has been on fire of late, rallying up to the edge of price resistance on several indexes. Today, we look at one of those stock market indexes: the Wilshire 5000.

The Wilshire 5000 tracks all of the stocks in the US market, so it is a broad-based index that carries significant importance when gauging the health of the overall US stock market.

Looking at the long-term “weekly” chart above, it is pretty clear that the index is at an important price juncture.

The Wilshire 5000 spent the last 25 years trading within a rising price channel (1)...



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Insider Scoop

Jefferies Upgrades Deere, Cites 'Significantly Improved Farmer Income Outlook'

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Farmer buying power will remain pressured for 2019, but this will change for the better next year and will help support Deere & Company (NYSE: DE), according to Jefferies.

The Analyst

Jefferies' Stephen Volkmann upgraded Deere from Hold to Buy with a price target lifted from $150 to $190....



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Chart School

Formula for when the Great Stock Market Rally ends

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

When valuations for the boring water company or the boring electric company is trading like your Facebook, Apple, Amazon or Netflix or Google (ie FANG) you know something is wrong.

This is when a seriously over valued market is screaming at you.

Of course the reader must understand in a world where money printing goes super nuts (Zimbabwe style) the stock market may go hyper inflationary and picking a time frame for a top is never a good idea, but we are not there yet. There is no Ben Bernanke helicopter money to the masses yet (ie MMT). 

To see when water company's (and such like) are nearing the crazy FANG like valuations a review of the Dow Jones Utility Index channel shows us how history can repeat. The c...

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ValueWalk

The "Tesla Killer" Car Is Nowhere In Sight

 

The “Tesla Killer” Car Is Nowhere In Sight

By Jacob Wolinsky, ValueWalk

Here’s some catnip for the Tesla bulls on this email list: my analyst, Kevin DeCamp, a longtime TSLA shareholder and car owner, took a test drive of the Jaguar I-PACE and, while it “looks great and is fun to drive… it is lacking in a few areas where Tesla really shines.” He concludes that “Tesla may end up killing itself, but the “Tesla killer” car is nowhere in sight.”

The Tesla Killer Hasn’t Arrived Yet: My Test Drive of the Jaguar I-PACE

By Kevin DeCamp

As a long-time, devoted Tesla...



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Digital Currencies

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream - the battle is on to bring them under global control

 

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream – the battle is on to bring them under global control

The high seas are getting lower. dianemeise

Courtesy of Iwa Salami, University of East London

The 21st-century revolutionaries who have dominated cryptocurrencies are having to move over. Mainstream financial institutions are adopting these assets and the blockchain technology that enables them, in what ...



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Biotech

Consumer genetic testing customers stretch their DNA data further with third-party interpretation websites

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

 

Consumer genetic testing customers stretch their DNA data further with third-party interpretation websites

If you’ve got the raw data, why not mine it for more info? Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com

Courtesy of Sarah Catherine Nelson, University of Washington

Back in 2016, Helen (a pseudonym) took three different direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests: AncestryDNA, 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA. She saw genetic testing as a way...



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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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Mapping The Market

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

A good start from :

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

Excerpt:

The threat to America is this: we have abandoned our core philosophy. Our first principle of this nation as a meritocracy, a free-market economy, where competition drives economic decision-making. In its place, we have allowed a malignancy to fester, a virulent pus-filled bastardized form of economics so corrosive in nature, so dangerously pestilent, that it presents an extinction-level threat to America – both the actual nation and the “idea” of America.

This all-encompassing mutant corruption saps men’s souls, crushes opportunities, and destroys economic mobility. Its a Smash & Grab system of ill-gotten re...



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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

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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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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