Bill Blain: “Trying To Explain Trump Does Not Make Me A Bad Person”

Over weekend drinks, dinners, very good lunches and rugby banter I was repeatedly told by my chums with real jobs in Industry, Services and Government how terrible this Trump fellow is turning out. It’s terribly liberal of us all to be illiberal about him.
A couple of times I tried to respond in rational terms about the limits to Trump’s power, the political balance behind him, the quality of his advisors, and the potential upside from real Washington reform and a re-write of the tax code. That’s when the crowd turned on me – apparently free-speech in the Western Democracies means anyone who tries to be vaguely objective about Trump is definitionally a proto-fascist woman-hating racist. It’s not just luvely-dovey actors that want to show off just how politically correct they are in their contempt of the duly elected US president.
Trying to explain Trump does not make me a bad person.
And to be frank… we worry too much. We act like we are unfamiliar with the concept of having a numpty as the most powerful man on the planet. Actually, it’s hardly a new thing – up until comparatively recently power was hereditary or seized by the strongest – which meant inbred bellicose numptys leading powerful countries was the norm – hence human history.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 13, 2017.

Weekly S&P 500 #ChartStorm

Those that follow my personal account on Twitter will be familiar with my weekly S&P 500 #ChartStorm in which I pick out 10 charts on the S&P 500 to tweet. Typically I’ll pick a couple of themes and hammer them home with the charts, but sometimes it’s just a selection of charts that will add to your perspective and help inform your own view – whether it’s bearish, bullish, or something else!
The purpose of this note is to add some extra context beyond the 140 characters of Twitter. It’s worth noting that the aim of the #ChartStorm isn’t necessarily to arrive at a certain view but to highlight charts and themes worth paying attention to.
So here’s the another S&P 500 #ChartStorm write-up!

This post was published at FinancialSense on 02/13/2017.

‘Red’ Vs ‘Blue’ Are Playing “Capture The Flag” On The Deck Of The Titanic

Don’t be fooled by the idiotic exertions of the Red team and the Blue team. They’re just playing a game of ‘Capture the Flag’ on the deck of the Titanic. The ship is the techno-industrial economy. It’s going down because it has taken on too much water (debt), and the bilge pump (the oil industry) is losing its mojo.
Neither faction understands what is happening, though they each have an elaborate delusional narrative to spin in the absence of any credible plan for adapting the life of our nation to the precipitating realities. The Blues and Reds are mirrors of each other’s illusions, and rage follows when illusions die, so watch out. Both factions are ready to blow up the country before they come to terms with what is coming down.
What’s coming down is the fruit of the gross mismanagement of our society since it became clear in the 1970s that we couldn’t keep living the way we do indefinitely – that is, in a 24/7 blue-light-special demolition derby. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with accounting fraud, but in the end it is an affront to reality, and reality has a way of dealing with punks like us. Reality has a magic trick of its own: it can make the mirage of false prosperity evaporate.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 13, 2017.

The Most Expensive Office Market in the US Fizzles

A few ‘success stories’ overshadow ‘very anemic activity.’
Companies needing to lease office space in New York City get this piece of advice by global real-estate service provider Savills Studley in its Q4 report:
‘Companies need to drown out the noise and ignore real estate’s own version of fake news – the threat that demand is as strong as ever and rent will always rise.’
Turns out, despite the hype of the industry, the vaunted and ludicrously expensive office space market in New York City peaked somewhere between the end of 2014 and mid-2016, both in terms of sales and leasing.
The number of sales of office buildings in 2016 valued at over $5 million plunged 16% from a year earlier to just 128 buildings, the lowest since 2013, according to a report by CommercialCaf, a sister company of Property Shark (transactions recorded up until Jan. 25, 2017):

This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ Feb 13, 2017.

Germany Receives Gold Bars From The Fed, But The Bars Have Different Labels – Episode 1203a

The following video was published by X22Report on Feb 13, 2017
Consumer spending will dip in February because the delay in refunds from the IRS. Baltic Dry Index has now fallen back to 688 pts. Bloomberg comes out with article that fake news drives markets. China, Japan, Russia and many other countries are dumping Treasuries. The corporate media is blaming it on Trump. Germany received its full allotment of gold but they notice they labels were different on certain bars. Fed says they are lost at the moment. IMF says Trumps economic policies will help but there is a danger that the global economy might deteriorate.

RBC’s Story Of The Day: “Reflation Trade Back On With A Vengeance”

As noted this morning, there are three drivers to today’s action: i) last week’s Trump promise of “phenomenal” tax cuts, ii) tomorrow’s Janet Yellen testimony before Congress in which she is expected to sound hawkish, and iii) the overnight end of China’s reverse repo drought which injected CNY100 billion in liquidity in the banking system after a 6 week pause. It is these three that prompted a return with a vengeance to the “Trump Trade” euphoria, which as RBC’s Charlie McElliggott writes in his intraday note, is why the “reflation trade is back with a vengeance.”
Here is the head of RBC’s cross asset desk explaining why after a few weeks of radiosilence on “Trumflation, the reflation trade is back on.
REFLATION BACK WITH A VENGEANCE AS POSITIONING-EXCESS REMOVED
From an ‘event risk’ perspective, the double of Tuesday’s Janet Yellen’s Humphrey Hawkins testimony commencement and Wednesday’s US CPI release I believe should set the table for another weekly grind higher in US rates. It seems to me that the risk into HH is that due to data supporting the case to reach the Fed’s Congressionally-set mandates, Yellen will lean ‘hawkish’ and keep ‘3 hikes in 2017′ on the table – especially in light of ‘pivots’ towards the tighter end-of-spectrum from other Fed members. The market’s current ~20% OIS-implied probability for March should likely be closer to a coin-flip as well (and is now ticking-higher as we speak).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 13, 2017.

Expert: What You Need To Know About The Oroville Dam Crisis

The following video was published by ChrisMartensondotcom on Feb 13, 2017
To make sense of the fast-developing situation at California’s Oroville Dam, Chris spoke today with Scott Cahill, an expert with 40 years of experience on large construction and development projects on hundreds of dams, many of them earthen embankment ones like the dam at Oroville. Scott has authored numerous white papers on dam management, he’s a FEMA trainer for dam safety, and is the current owner of Watershed Services of Ohio which specializes in dam projects across the eastern US. Suffice it to say, he knows his “dam” stuff.
Scott and Chris talk about the physics behind the failing spillways at Oroville, as well as the probability of a wider-scale failure from here as days of rain return to California.

FEB 13/GOLD AND SILVER WHACKED AS OPEN INTEREST IN SILVER CLIMBS TO 195,000 CONTRACTS/GLD ADDS ANOTHER 4.15 TONNES TO ITS INVENTORY/NORTH KOREA LAUNCHES A MEDIUM RANGE BALLISTIC MISSILE/ NOW IT I…

Gold at (1:30 am est) $1224.40 DOWN 410.00
silver was : $17.80: DOWN 11 CENTS
Access market prices:
Gold: $1225.50
Silver: $17.83
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:
MONDAY gold fix Shanghai
Shanghai FIRST morning fix Feb 13/17 (10:15 pm est last night): $ 1239.63
NY ACCESS PRICE: $1230.25 (AT THE EXACT SAME TIME)/premium $9.38
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Shanghai SECOND afternoon fix: 2: 15 am est (second fix/early morning):$ 1240.33
NY ACCESS PRICE: $1230.55 (AT THE EXACT SAME TIME/2:15 am)
SPREAD/ 2ND FIX TODAY!!: 9.78
China rejects NY pricing of gold as a fraud/arbitrage will now commence fully
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
London FIRST Fix: Feb 13/2017: 5:30 am est: $1229.90 (NY: same time: $1230.25 (5:30AM)
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
London Second fix Feb 13.2017: 10 am est: $1222.25 (NY same time: $1222.60
(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.

This post was published at Harvey Organ Blog on February 13, 2017.

Trump Comes Out Swinging

No ‘rope-a-dope’ for Donald Trump. He’s come out of the corner swinging. So far he has signed six controversial bills in only the first few days, and you can be sure more are to come. The only problem with fighters like this is they burn out fast however, where all too often they effectively punch themselves out in the early going. In this regard, it could be argued that’s what happened to him with his Atlantic City Casinos. One casino wasn’t enough for The Donald. Then they all got in trouble because of his huge ego – and needed a bailout.
The question then arises, ‘is the US of today going to turn out like his ‘new toy’ at the time – his Atlantic City casinos?’
Looks like a repeat here style wise, with the only question how long it lasts – his first 100 days? Trump is very cognizant of the fact the world is watching, looking for him to fall on his face, so you can bet he keep punching as hard as he can these first 100 days. The big question then, is what will things look like after those 100 days – does the economy appear like it’s on a sustainable path? And you could go further – does this path look self-generating, ‘organic’ if you will, which is the idea behind creating (bringing back) manufacturing jobs in America. In doing so, Trump is attempting to give the appearance he is a ‘true conservative’, and purveyor of Austrian economic principles.
There’s only one problem with all this, that being the debt – the rising debt – the debt that is already to high to ignore. This debt would need to be unwound before the US can return to the 50’s, which is not in the cards with the Fed still in charge of issuing its debt-based currency, and the Treasury Secretary still taking his orders from these people. What does this mean? It means that while Trump may create a few manufacturing jobs with all he is doing, but in order to do so, a great deal more debt-based money (debt) will need to be brought into the formula, which when added to the existing debt, and higher interest rates all this new spending will create, means his success will eventually backfire on him – and America – and the economy – and the stock market.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 13 February 2017.

Random Mar-A-Lago Guest Posts Selfie With “Nuclear Football” Briefcase

Richard DeAgazio, a 72-year-old Palm Beach businessman, Trump supporter and actor, raised some eyebrows over the weekend after he essentially live blogged Trump’s Mar-A-Lago golf outing with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Among other misguided posts, DeAgazio thought it would be a really good idea to pose with, and publicly identify, “Rick”, the service man responsible for carrying the “nuclear football.”
DeAgazio has since deleted his Facebook account, but as parents have been warning their teenagers for nearly a decade now, it’s almost impossible to erase something from the internet once it hits social media. Unfortunately for Richard, this was no exception:


This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 13, 2017.

“Stealth Recession” – The Mystery Of The Teleporting Commuter

The game is afoot: call it the ‘Mystery of the Teleporting Commuter’. Starting in October 2016, the amount of gasoline supplied to the US market started to decline on a year over year basis. This negative trend accelerated in January, leaving both energy analysts and macroeconomic pundits to wonder if the US has entered a stealth recession.
We regularly look at US gasoline production in relation to the Department of Transportation’s ‘Miles Driven’ data, and when you add that variable to the mix the mystery starts to clear. Even though gasoline supplied was down 1.6% in October and -0.3% in November, the DOT data (November last month available) shows miles driven up 1.6% and 4.3%, respectively. By this math, imputed fuel efficiency for the US fleet is improving noticeably compared to historical trends that date back to the 1970s – a trend that is worth watching in 2017.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 13, 2017.

Trader Warns “US Markets Are Playing Global Pied Piper”

Markets have started this week feeling much relieved, notes Bloomberg’s Richard Breslow, as the understandable fears that U. S.-Asia strategy might continue their lurch toward direct economic confrontation were given a respite.
The phone call with Chinese President Xi went better than feared. And once the picture of the Japanese Prime Minister and American President high-fiving on the golf course was passed around, the sighs of relief were palpable.
Investors are taking comfort from the hope that, while the world may all be crazy, it hasn’t completely forgotten the realities of Mutually Assured Destruction.
Asian equities have had a good day. But it feels like more of a relief rally letting them play catch-up to the U. S. And will need the U. S. side of the equation to continue providing support with both favorable prices and policies. Where you set the height of that bar is an important question to ask yourself.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 13, 2017.

This Is Why You Don’t Own A Lot Of Stocks

You’d think that by now every relevant measure of stock market overvaluation would have been converted into a chart and circulated throughout the blogosphere. But Zero Hedge has come up with a new one depicting how long the typical wage slave has to work to buy the typical stock. And – surprise – it shows historic, egregious overvaluation which, if history is any guide, implies a crash is close at hand.

How did workers come to be priced out of their slice of the American capitalist pie?
First, an ever-rising share of the new wealth being created – in the form of corporate profits – is being siphoned off by said corporations, leaving less for the people depicted in the above chart.

This post was published at DollarCollapse on FEBRUARY 13, 2017.

Here Are The Best Hedges Against A Le Pen Victory

On Friday, after it emerged that as part of Marine Le Pen’s strategic vision for France, should she win, is a return to the French franc as well as redenomination of some 1.7 billion in French (non-international law) bonds, both rating agencies and economists sounded the alarm, warning it would “amount to the largest sovereign default on record, nearly 10 times larger than the 200bn Greek debt restructuring in 2012, threatening chaos to the world financial system on top of the collapse of the single currency.”
This morning, Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau doubled down on the warning and cautioned French voters about the costs of withdrawing from the euro, noting that local interest rates are already rising on concerns about this year’s presidential election. ‘The recent increase in French rates – which I believe is temporary – corresponds to a certain worry about the exit from the euro,’ Villeroy de Galhau said Monday on France Inter radio.
As of Monday, Le Pen has the support of about 26% of the electorate for the first round of voting in April, compared with 20.5% for independent Emmanuel Macron and 17.5 percent for Republican Francois Fillon, according to the latest Ifop daily rolling poll. Yet while according to polls, both Macron and Fillon would defeat Le Pen in the second round vote, nervousness about poll accuracy – especially after Brexit and Trump – persists.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 13, 2017.

New York Office Sector Not in Collapse But ‘Gradual’ Decline

A few ‘success stories’ overshadow ‘very anemic activity.’
Companies needing to lease office space in New York City get this piece of advice by global real-estate service provider Savills Studley in its Q4 report:
‘Companies need to drown out the noise and ignore real estate’s own version of fake news – the threat that demand is as strong as ever and rent will always rise.’
Turns out, despite the hype of the industry, the vaunted and ludicrously expensive office space market in New York City peaked somewhere between the end of 2014 and mid-2016, both in terms of sales and leasing.
The number of sales of office buildings in 2016 valued at over $5 million plunged 16% from a year earlier to just 128 buildings, the lowest since 2013, according to a report by CommercialCaf, a sister company of Property Shark (transactions recorded up until Jan. 25, 2017):

This post was published at Wolf Street on Feb 13, 2017.

Apple Stock Soars Above Record Closing High

Despite declining earnings expectations, AAPL’s share price just broke above its record closing high (from Feb 2015).
As WSJ notes, the tech giant’s shares – among the most widely held and actively traded in the world – hit $133.42 moments ago, trading above their record close of $133 from February 2015. And they’re inches away from their all-time intraday high of $134.54, set in April 2015.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 13, 2017.

Goldman Had 600 Cash Equity Traders In 2000; It Now Has 2

For the dramatic impact of technology, and specifically trade automation from algo, quant and robotic trading on today’s capital markets, look no further than Goldman’s cash equities trading floor at the firm’s headquarters which, according to the MIT Tech Review, employed 600 traders its height back in 2000, buying and selling stocks for Goldman’s institutional client clients. Today there are just two equity traders left.
Complex trading algorithms, some with machine-learning capabilities, first replaced trades where the price of what’s being sold was easy to determine on the market, including the stocks traded by Goldman’s old 600.
Call it the rise of the machines which we warned about over 8 years ago back in 2009, just after the peak of the financial crisis, which have led to the extinction of the cash equity trader job.
“Automated trading programs have taken over the rest of the work, supported by 200 computer engineers. Marty Chavez, the company’s deputy chief financial officer and former chief information officer, explained all this to attendees at a symposium on computing’s impact on economic activity held by Harvard’s Institute for Applied Computational Science last month.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Feb 13, 2017.

Gold and Silver Market Morning: Feb 13 2017 – Gold recovering but moving with the euro at the moment!

Gold Today – New York closed at $1,234.00 on the 10th Februaryafter closing at $1,231.50 on the 9th February. London openedat $1,230.00 today.
Overall the dollar was weaker against global currencies early today. Before London’s opening:
– The $: was weaker at $1.0653: 1 from $1.0639: 1 on Friday.
– The Dollar index was weaker at 100.67 from 100.87 on Friday.
– The Yen was almost unchanged at 113.61:$1 from Friday’s 113.64 against the dollar.
– The Yuan was stronger at 6.8804: $1, from 6.8862: $1, Friday.
– The Pound Sterling was stronger at $1.2520: 1 from Friday’s $1.2498: 1.
Yuan Gold Fix
Shanghai was trading in gold at 274.40 Yuan during today’s session before London opened. This equates to $1,240.45. This shows Shanghai is trading in line with New York’s close and $5 higher than London at its opening.
LBMA price setting: The LBMA gold price was set today at$1,229.40 up from Friday’s $1,225.75.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 13 February 2017.