Trump moves to Revise Rule of Retirement Advice

ELIZABETH WARREN blasts Trump saying ‘Wall Street bankers and lobbyists … may be toasting each other with Champagne’ after he ordered the Department of Labor to review the rule that was to go into effect come April. Warren is really clueless. She fails to comprehend that sometimes government regulation is very bad. Indeed, I have argued for years that the SEC and CFTC should be merged into a single agency for that is the source of all bad advice.
The average individual has to have the expertise of a hedge fund manager to sort out all the offering from funds. Hedge funds are offshore because they cannot exist domestically complying with conflicting regulations from the SEC and CFTC. Domestically, you have specialized funds NOT because that is best for individuals, but because of too much conflicting regulation.
If Warren cares so much about people, privatize social security. Stop robbing the lower classes claiming they government is investing for them when all they do is stuff it with their own bonds. The rich get richer because of investments. Yet Warren will not look at excess government regulation that prevents citizens from investing for their future.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Feb 5, 2017.

Meet Mexico’s Fiery, Trump-Like Populist Who Looks Increasingly Likely To Win The Presidency In 2018

Last week brought fresh deterioration in diplomatic relations between the US and Mexico after Trump threatened to cancel a White House meeting with Mexican President Pena Nieto, saying if ‘Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting’. And while Pena Nieto tried to save face by officially cancelling the meeting over twitter, Mexicans are growing increasingly frustrated with a candidate that they see as too soft in combatting an aggressive Trump Presidency. All of which has caused Pena Nieto’s approval ratings to plunge to historic lows of just 12%.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 3, 2017.

Consumer Bankruptcies Rise for the First Time since 2010

A red flag that’ll be highlighted only afterwards as a turning point. US bankruptcy filings by consumers rose 5.4% in January, compared to January last year, to 52,421 according to the American Bankruptcy Institute. In December, they’d already risen 4.5% from a year earlier. This was the first time that consumer bankruptcies increased back-to-back since 2010.
However, business bankruptcies began to surge in November 2015 and continued surging on a year-over-year basis in 2016, to reach a full-year total of 37,823 filings, up 26% from the prior year and the highest since 2014. Retailers and companies affiliated with the energy sector, in particular, were sinking deeper into the mire.
Throughout that time, consumer bankruptcy filings continued to decline year-over-year until November 2016. And that was the low point. Then credit stress began to exert its pressure and became apparent in the official channels, when arising number of consumers started throwing in the towel over the past two months to seek protection from creditors in bankruptcy court.
Total bankruptcy filings by consumers and businesses have now also risen year-over-year for two months in a row, for the first time since 2010.

This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ Feb 5, 2017.

A New Front in the War on Payday Lenders

‘Big Corporation helps government regulators crush poor people.’
This is a headline fit for a series on the current war against making loans to low-income borrowers – although we’ll never see it framed this way by The Washington Post or The New York Times.
But this is exactly what’s happened with payday loans as Google has joined government regulators in an effort to get rid of the payday loan industry and keep low-income working individuals from having access to cash lenders. After all, it seems evil capitalists in the payday lending industry are offering loans at higher interest rates – loans the poor would otherwise have no access to at all.
According to Zero Hedge, Google has been working around the clock to combat ‘fake news,’ a new category of information big media and established politicians have invented to attack news organizations that fail to spread the official narrative. As part of this war on ‘fake news,’ Google banned ‘predatory’ ads as well, disabling five million payday loan ads in the last months of 2016. This new policy of course helps both government regulators and established bankers who now are subject to less competition from small payday loan firms.
As someone who has used payday loans in my days of struggling with little income in Hollywood – and when no bank would help – I find it incredible that, in 2017, people don’t know better.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Jan 4, 2017.

Italy’s ‘Bad Banks,’ Created to Save the Financial System, Are Themselves on Verge of Collapse

‘The 20 billion the government has set aside is starting to look like small beer.’ By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. Officially dubbed ‘Bad Banks’ – not to be confused with the plain-vanilla bad banks that brought the global financial system to the brink of meltdown – are all the rage these days, particularly in bad-loan-infested Europe. And if the European Central Bank gets its way, their numbers could be set to expand even further. On Friday, ECB Vice President Vitor Constancio called for the creation of a whole new class of government-backed bad banks to help buy some of the 1 trillion in unpaid loans that have weighed on Eurozone banks since the financial crisis.
Here’s how it would work: the already deeply indebted governments in question would issue a load of new debt in order to buy up, supposedly at a heavy discount, billions of euros worth of toxic loans festering on the balance sheets of the banks. In other words, unless you’re a senior banker working for an insolvent bank, or an investor with sizable holdings of slowly putrefying bank shares or bonds, these taxpayer-funded bad banks are by nature a bad idea, as Spanish economist Juan Ramn Rallo warns:
A bad bank is a mechanism for redistributing the wealth of a country from its taxpayers to the shareholders, executives, workers and creditors of financial institutions… The logic is disarmingly simple: if the only party willing to buy the [toxic] assets at the prices [offered by the banks] is the State, the chances are that the assets are not worth what the State is paying for them.

This post was published at Wolf Street by Don Quijones ‘ Feb 4, 2017.

How “Superstar” Companies And Technology Are Killing The American Worker

We’ve frequently written in recent months about the unintended consequences of politicians meddling in labor markets by setting artificially high minimum wage rates (see “State Minimum Wage Hikes Already Passed Into Law Expected To Cost 2.6 Million Jobs, New Study Finds“). Of course, the combination of higher wages and declining technology costs are wreaking havoc on labor markets as they serve to significantly improve the return on invested capital profile of new labor-replacing capital projects. Here are just a few examples:
There’s the Big Mac ATM…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 3, 2017.

Another Travel Ban: IRS Moves To Revoke Passports For Unpaid Taxes

Submitted by Robert Wood via Forbes.com,
President Trump’s executive order on travel may be generating big protests, but an IRS missive on travel and passports may not go down too well either. More than a year ago, in H. R.22, Congress gave the IRS a new weapon to collect taxes. Tax code Section 7345 is labeled, ‘Revocation or Denial of Passport in Case of Certain Tax Delinquencies.’ The law isn’t limited to criminal tax cases, or even cases where the IRS thinks you are trying to flee. The idea of the law is to use travel as a way to enforce tax collections. It was proposed and rejected in 2012. But by late 2015, Congress passed it and President Obama signed it.
Now, over a year later, the IRS has finally released new details on its website.
If you have seriously delinquent tax debt, IRS can notify the State Department. The State Department generally will not issue or renew a passport after receiving certification from the IRS.
The IRS has not yet started certifying tax debt to the State Department.
The IRS says certifications will begin in early 2017, and the IRS website will be updated to indicate when this process has been implemented.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 3, 2017.

Nordstrom Folds To “Grab Your Wallet” Protesters: Dumps Ivanka Trump’s Clothing Line

Despite Macy’s, Saks, and Zappos still carrying Ivanka Trump’s fashion lines, it appears Nordstrom has folded to the liberal intelligentisia’s “Grab Your Wallet” protests, demanding a boycott of retailers carrying Trump merchandise, as the department store stated today that it will no longer sell Ivanka Trump’s eponymous clothing and accessories.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 3, 2017.

Secret Service Is Dealing With Over 12,000 Tweets Calling For Trump’s Assassination

As Silicon Valley’s tech billionaires continue their crack down on “fake news”, “hate speech” and dissenting conservative opinions of all forms (see this from last night: “Reddit Bans Three Alt-Right Forums As Users Blast ‘Leftist Intolerance’“), one thing they don’t seem to be that worried about is death threats to the President of the United States. In fact, just a quick search of Twitter reveals 1,000s of tweets calling for the assassination of Trump.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 3, 2017.

Doug Noland: The Wrath

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Credit Bubble Bulletin. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
It’s not the first time that a non-farm payrolls rally wiped away inklings of market anxiety. Coming early in the month – and on Fridays – the jobs report typically makes for interesting trading dynamics. By the end of another interesting week, the timely reemergence of ‘goldilocks’ along with Trump The Deregulator were propelling stocks higher. Long forgotten were Monday’s ‘Stocks Fall Most in Month…’ and ‘Trump Rally Hits Speed Bump on Immigration Concern.’ Indeed, markets were grateful to let a number of developments slip from memory.
It’s still worth mentioning a few indicators that were beginning to lean away from ‘Risk On’. Prior to Friday’s jump, the powerful bank stock rally had stalled. The BKX was down almost 2% from Thursday to Thursday (Italian banks down 3.4% this week and Japanese banks 2.9%). Small cap stocks have underperformed, with the Russell 2000 down slightly y-t-d as of Thursday’s close. Many ‘Trump Rally’ stocks and trades have recently underperform. Equity fund flows were negative for three straight weeks. In high-yield debt, the rally had similarly lost momentum. Also noteworthy, Treasuries rallied only tepidly on Monday’s equity market selloff. European bonds continue to trade poorly (Greek yields up 33 bps; French spreads to bunds widened another 10bps). This week saw bullion jump $29. The dollar Index is now down 2.5% y-t-d.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Doug Noland ‘ February 4, 2017.

Week in Review: February 4, 2017

The Federal Reserve opted to stay the course this week after meeting for the first time since Trump took office. The real question is whether 2017 will be the year they begin to normalize their balance sheet. While the Dow jumped over the 20,000 mark again on Friday, the Fed’s continued inaction and continually unimpressive GDP numbers paint a bleaker picture than the narrative we’re being sold. Meanwhile, the attempts to prop up America’s housing market continue to fail as homeownership numbers are the lowest they’ve been since 1965.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on February 4, 2017.

Japan Preparing “Package” To Create 700,000 US Jobs Ahead Of Trump Meeting

We were skeptical when two days ago we reported that Japan was contemplating investing some of the hundreds of billions of pension savings held in its massive, $1 trillion GPIF pension fund into US infrastructure projects, a story which the GPIF itself quickly denied. However, we were all too clear about the motives behind this proposal trial ballooned by Prime Minister Abe: appease Trump in any way possible during next week’s, Feb. 10 meeting between Japan and the US, to avoid being labeled a currency manipulator (which Japan certainly is with a central bank balance sheet roughly the same size as its GDP) so that Japan’s QE, the backbone of Abenomics, can continue. If that included make ridiculously impossible promises, so be it.
Which is why we were not surprised to read today that as the latest incarnation of the “Appease Trump” proposal, Japan is putting together a package it says could generate 700,000 U. S. jobs and help create a $450-billion market, to present to U. S. President Donald Trump next week, Reuters reports.
The focus is, once again, on US infrastructure investment only this time the GPIF does not feature among the sources of funds. The five-part package, to be unveiled when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits Trump on Feb. 10 in Washington, envisage investments in infrastructure projects such as high-speed trains and cybersecurity. Reuters cites sources “who declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak to the media.” Said sources could well be Abe himself, who is leaking random “plans” just to make sure Trump doesn’t blow up at Japan again as he did earlier this week when he accused it of devaluing its currency, sending the Yen, and JGB yields, higher.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 3, 2017.

ABOUT FEB 3/FOR 3RD STRAIGHT DAY , BOTH GOLD AND SILVER AMOUNTS STANDING INCREASE PER DAY/GOLD AND SILVER ADVANCE TODAY WITH AN UPSIDE OUTSIDE DAY REVERSAL/DEUTSCHE BANK TO SLASH MORE JOBS AS TRA…

Gold at (1:30 am est) $1218.50 UP $1.80
silver at $17.45: up 5 cents
Access market prices:
Gold: $1220.50
Silver: $17.51
THE DAILY GOLD FIX REPORT FROM SHANGHAI AND LONDON .
The Shanghai fix is at 10:15 pm est last night and 2:15 am est early this morning
The fix for London is at 5:30 am est (first fix) and 10 am est (second fix)
Thus Shanghai’s second fix corresponds to 195 minutes before London’s first fix.
And now the fix recordings:
FRIDAY gold fix Shanghai
Shanghai FIRST morning fix Feb 3/17 (10:15 pm est last night): $ 1216.88
NY ACCESS PRICE: $1214.45 (AT THE EXACT SAME TIME)/premium $2.43
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Shanghai SECOND afternoon fix: 2: 15 am est (second fix/early morning):$ 1216.88
NY ACCESS PRICE: $1213.90 (AT THE EXACT SAME TIME/2:15 am)
SPREAD/ 2ND FIX TODAY!!: $2.98
China rejects NY pricing of gold as a fraud/arbitrage will now commence fully
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
London FIRST Fix: Feb3/2017: 5:30 am est: $1213.05 (NY: same time: $1213.30 (5:30AM)
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
London Second fix Feb 3.2017: 10 am est: $1215.20 (NY same time: $1215.40 (10 AM)
It seems that Shanghai pricing is higher than the other two , (NY and London). The spread has been occurring on a regular basis and thus I expect to see arbitrage happening as investors buy the lower priced NY gold and sell to China at the higher price. This should drain the comex.
Also why would mining companies hand in their gold to the comex and receive constantly lower prices. They would be open to lawsuits if they knowingly continue to supply the comex despite the fact that they could be receiving higher prices in Shanghai.
end

This post was published at Harvey Organ Blog on February 3, 2017.

Market Talk – February 3, 2017

One of the main topics of conversation overnight was the fact that the Shanghai market reopened, after the week long holiday, to a surprise reverse-repo hike (10bp’s to 2.35%) which resulted in a -0.6% decline in the Shanghai Index. The CNH traded back up through the 6.82 mark but in late US trade saw core Asian futures making solid 1% gains also. The Nikkei cash closed almost unchanged ahead of the US NFP’s report but talk surrounded the BOJ’s discussion about JGB’s yields edging higher.
A positive morning for European equity markets ahead of the US data with core up between 0.4% and 0.8%. Spanish bank Banco Popular however was down 7.5% having reported a 3.5bn loss in 2016 (shares are down 54% for the past 12 months). A strong day overall with most core markets closing 0.5% stronger.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Feb 3, 2017.

Stocks and Precious Metal Charts – Unicorns Rampant on a Field of Greed

As I had suggested a couple of weeks ago, the Street would keep stock index prices near these elevated levels while they concocted a few sizzling hot IPOs to squeeze out while the squeezing is good.
And yesterday Snap, the parent of Snapchat, has filed for the biggest new era IPO since Facebook. This one looks like a hot steaming pile of whatever passes for sound business valuations in this era of accounting relativism and asset bubbles, partie trois. But who can judge, when the world of investing has gone to the clicks?
While the jobs came in ‘higher than expected,’ the wage growth portion of that report was disappointing to say the least, with the highly optimistic wage growth from the prior report being cut in half on revision.

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 03 FEBRUARY 2017.

Money Supply Growth Moderated in December

In our last update on money supply – using the “Austrian” measure of money supply developed by Murray Rothbard and Joseph Salerno – we found that money supply growth hit a 46-month high of 11.2 percent in October.
Growth has moderated since then, however, with year-over-year growth in US dollars dropping to 10.3 percent in November and 8.8 percent in December.
This change somewhat follows a change in M2 over the same time period as 1M2 growth hit a multi-year high of 7.5 percent in October, but fell to 7.3 percent and 7.0 percent in November and December, respectively.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on February 4, 2017.

Trump Declares War Against Himself

President Trump has trade in the dock, giving it a good hard grilling.
The indictment reads thus: Leading exporters China, Japan and Germany are fudging their currencies to goose exports – at Uncle Samuel’s expense.
China and Japan are allegedly ‘playing the devaluation market.’ Germany is using a ‘grossly undervalued’ euro to ‘exploit’ the United States.
The accused plead innocent on all counts. The prosecution presses on.
Yet the prosecution finds itself in a bit of a thicket. Trump’s pledges of deregulation, tax reduction and infrastructure spending all spell a stronger dollar. And the dollar rallied post-election on visions of renewed American growth.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on February 3, 2017.