American credit-card debt hits a post-recession high

U.S. consumers may be relying too heavily on their plastic.
Americans added $28.2 billion to their credit cards in the second quarter of 2014, the largest amount in the last six years and nearly 200% more than in the second quarter of 2009, when the economy emerged from the depths of the Great Recession, according to new research from personal finance website After paying off $32.5 billion owed during the first quarter of 2014, consumers ran up roughly 86% more debt during the following quarter.
The average household’s credit-card balance now stands at $6,802, up slightly from $6,628 in the first quarter, but still down from $8,431 at the end of 2008. By the end of the year, this figure is expected to exceed $7,000, reaching levels not seen since the end of 2010. U.S. consumers will be roughly $1,300 away from the credit card debt “tipping point,” where minimum payments become unsustainable and delinquencies skyrocket, the report says.

This post was published at Market Watch

Why the Safe Gains in US Stocks Are Behind Us

Looking at the Big Picture Step back. Look at the big picture. Stocks are near record highs. Investor sentiment has never been more bullish. The VIX, which shows the options market’s expectation of 30-day volatility in stocks, is near record lows.
But the US stock market – broadly measured by the S&P 500 – is ‘above the line’ of our Simplified Trading System (STS). It’s trading above 20 times reported earnings. The index could go much higher. But our simple approach tells us that the safe gains are behind us. It is better to be out than in.

Yesterday, we imagined a man who had lived and invested throughout the entire 20th century. Today, we meet a man, in the flesh, who almost did that … a man 42 years older than we are. He makes 66 seem like childhood …
Irving Kahn is 108, to be exact. Born in 1906, he began investing before the 1929 Crash. He spotted the anomaly… and decided to take advantage of it. He sold US stocks short.
‘I borrowed money from an in-law who was certain I would lose it but was still kind enough to lend it. He said only a fool would bet against the bull market.’

This post was published at Acting-Man on September 11, 2014.

Futures Flat On Russia Sanctions Round 3 Day

While today’s key news event will be the preannounced latest, third, round of anti-Russian sanctions and the Russian retaliation, the reality as DB notes, is that the market seems to be seeing “some fatigue” in this story with the ECB, Scotland and next week’s Fed meeting taking center stage. As a result, and ahead of expectations of change in Fed language which should carry a more hawkish tone, the dollar has been bid up some more overnight, leading to fresh multi-year highs in the USDJPY, and the now-paired TSY trade, with 10Y yields up to 2.57%, although this may now be in short-term oversold territory. The latest Scottish poll appears to have dented some of the “Yes” momentum, with 52% of the polled saying they would vote No in the referendum, although right now neither side has a clear majority when factoring in the undecideds: which means it will come down to the wire next week, with clear implications for Europe’s secessionist movements if the Yes vote still manages to prevail, not to mention massive ramifications for the UK.
Overnight in Asia, China’s latest lending data was released. China’s credit growth rebounded sharply in August following a weak July. New loans in August came in at RMB702.5bn up from RMB385.2bn in July and was around market consensus. M2 was up 12.8pct yoy, lower than the 13.5yoy growth in July (and consensus) but this was previewed by Premier Li’s speech earlier this week. Markets are range bound in the Asia with the Nikkei up 0.4% and the Shanghai Composite up 0.2% although the Hang Seng is down -0.3%. MSCI Asia Pacific down 0.2% to 146. Nikkei 225 up 0.2%, Hang Seng down 0.3%, Kospi up 0.4%, Shanghai Composite up 0.9%, ASX down 0.3%, Sensex up 0%
European equities trade mixed, with minor outperformance in both the FTSE-100 and the IBEX-35 as recent independence campaigns from Scotland and Catalonia lose some steam. Yesterday’s YouGov poll showed Salmond’s Independence bid only briefly holding the lead over the ‘No’ vote, as unionists reclaimed the top spot just six days away from referendum polling. Nonetheless, Spain’s IBEX-35 has suffered throughout the week on Catalonia’s break-up bid, with today’s upside only trimming the weekly losses to 2.2%. 14 out of 19 Stoxx 600 sectors rise. 55.7% of Stoxx 600 members gain, 41.2% decline. Eurostoxx 50 -0.1%, FTSE 100 0.2%, CAC 40 -0.2%, DAX -0.3%, IBEX 0.3%, FTSEMIB 0%, SMI -0.3%.
Looking to the day ahead, in Europe we have the Spanish August inflation read (expected in at 0.1% MoM), Italian and euro area July Industrial Production (expected in at -0.2% and 0.7% MoM). In the US we have August Retail Sales reads with the advanced MoM expected in at 0.6%, the September UoM Confidence read (expected at 83.3) and July Business Inventories data (expected in at 0.4%). In geopolitics, today sees the strengthened EU sanctions on Russia take effect. Implementation had been delayed in light of the ceasefire announcements last week but yesterday leaders and diplomats agreed to now bring them in. The US looks set to follow suit and President Obama yesterday said he would provide more details today. We seem to be seeing some fatigue in this story with the ECB, Scotland and next week’s Fed meeting taking center stage. However the regions problems are clearly yet to be resolved and the aim of bringing in the new sanctions today is to keep up pressure on Russia (BBC). Russia has said it is preparing its own sanctions in response.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/12/2014.

Ed Would Say, ‘Enjoy The Big Shoe!’ …Are You Choosing To?

Here is a graph showing the price of gold FINALLY reaching GOLD’s ‘Long-Term Line of Support’ for London PM Gold! One would expect that gold would begin its upward climb but usually the ‘Masters of Manipulation’ step in to quell gold’s direction. Now we will just have to sit back, watch the ‘big shoe’and continue stacking at these prices!

If you have NOT already divested of your accumulation of this quarter’s worthless paper by locking in with SPOT at $18.69 and Silver Eagles at $20.99 or Silver Buffalo’s at $19.54 be sure to lock in A. S. AP. Rule of thumb is to pay as little as you can over SPOT and with ratio’s at 66:1 silver is by far the favorite to increase in value!
Also check your current dealers BBB rating and scroll down to read any complaints, most customers see the rating and fail to do so. Customers have reported to me that more than a handful of big name dealers whom they have dealt with in the past have had their BBB ratings revoked for a myriad of reasons such as baiting and switching to numismatics of questionable value, non-shipment or shipping that has taken several months. Some are being sued for conflict of interests, closing, filing for bankruptcy or they have been reported to ‘Rip-Off Reports’ for their misdeeds. Bigger isn’t necessarily better and besides they usually require a booklet of information on you their customers.

This post was published at Gold-Eagle on September 11, 2014.

How to Make Goods More Expensive: Target Truckers

Enduring the bureaucratic and regulation-ridden work environment, US truckers work tooth-and-nail to keep supply chains moving and on schedule. Because of regulatory interference, US trucking outfits are among the few remaining industries that are still largely run and/or owned by mom-and-pop operations. According to theAmerican Trucking Association, nearly 70 percent of all goods moved in the US are transported on trucks. That comes to almost $670 billion in real, physical goods, from durable and manufactured goods, to finished parts for assembly, to consumer goods.
There are about 3.5 million truck drivers in the US, and of those, 1 in 9 are owner-operators. Trucking represents 84 percent of all commercial transport revenue, and 68 percent of all freight tonnage in America. Rail, on the other hand, makes up less than 6 percent of freight tonnage transport.
In 2009, $33.1 billion was paid by commercial trucks for federal and state highway taxes. It makes up roughly 5 percent of GDP, and 1 out of 13 private sector employees are involved in the trucking industry, not just drivers but office staff, warehouse, and engine and truck manufacturers. Go one step more and include accountants, attorneys, insurance companies, and other related services.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Friday, September 12, 2014.

Gold Sentiment Plunges to Summer 2013 Levels

Newsletter Writers Turn Very Bearish This is a little addendum to our recent gold update. Shortly after we had posted it, Mark Hulbert published an article at Marketwatch regarding the recent moves in the Gold Newsletter Writer Sentiment Index (HGNSI). Note here that this sentiment measure must be seen in the context of market action. As we have pointed out previously, there have been a number of very significant ‘misses’ of this indicator, especially in early 2003 and early 2004, when following its message would have been a grave mistake.
However, there is also the fact to consider that today’s gold-focused newsletter writers are probably not the same bunch that was active 10 years ago. Many of those who were active in 2003 had survived a 20 year long bear market, so their collective judgment was at times actually quite good.
To Mr. Hulbert’s credit, we must concede that his indicator has worked better in recent years, and his interpretations of it in the course of this year have largely been on the mark. That’s actually a good thing, as the indicator is currently showing an extreme in negative sentiment.
Here is the chart:

Hulbert Gold Newsletter Writer Sentiment Index – currently it stands at – 40.6%

This post was published at Acting-Man on September 11, 2014.

Bankers Trying to Manipulate Elections in Scotland for Profit

Several of the bankers are threatening to leave Scotland if they vote for separation. These sly bankers said the same shit when the UK did not join the Euro. What these crafty untrustworthy people are really saying is they have UK debt and they fear it will collapse if Scotland leaves. In truth, they are part of the government scare-team and any bank that threatens that should be thrown out of Scotland anyhow. This is not what is good for Britain or Scotland, this is all about the banks not losing money on their bond holdings. Typical abuse of position and any bank taking that position does not deserve a license.
If Scotland stays out of the EU and UK, and it moves away from Marx and toward Adam Smith, it will become the new Switzerland for the 21st century and then watch all the bankers trying to get into to Scotland. I would void any banking license of a bank that puts out this outright propaganda for they are once again trying to manipulate society to line their pockets.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on September 11, 2014.

Same $#!%, Different PIIGS

Desperate governments call for desperate measures.
Unfortunately for us, citizens often end up paying for the mistakes of their governments. That’s not how it should be but, sometimes, that’s how it is. If and a when a government is no longer able to meet its obligations, capital controls, broad wealth confiscation measures, and other extreme burdens are often considered.
Spanish bond yields just fell to their lowest levels in history but does that mean that your money is safe there? Absolutely not. It means that investors are complacent, not that Spain’s political risk has diminished.
Portugal is in the same boat. While its borrowing costs continue to fall, its prospects for economic growth and its financial position continue to worsen. If you’ve got assets in Portugal then now would be a good time to contemplate how safe they really are. Unless you like bail-ins, that is.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/11/2014.

1.8 Million Protest in Spain Demanding Separation Like Scotland

This was the largest demonstration in the history of Barcelona with 1,8 million people showing up exceeding all previous records. Demonstrators were waving independence flags and wearing yellow-and-red shirts with the phrase ‘Now is the time’ shouting’Independencia!’ as they swarmed into the semiautonomous area in northeastern Spain that hails Barcelona as its capital. What is clear, we are seeing the beginning stages of what we have warned about – the rise of civil unrest that leaded to nations dividing or being overthrown in revolutions. What has taken place in Scotland is by no means going unnoticed.
‘Independence, independence’, has been the new cry of the people today in Spain in the center of the Catalan capital. Two main roads that converge at a place filled over a distance of seven miles with people. Here, a ‘V’ for ‘Victoria’ (Victory) was formed.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Sept 11, 2014.

In Venezuela First They Came For The Toilet Paper; Then They Came For The News Paper…

Bidet sales across Venezuela are set to soar as just months after running out of toilet paper, AP reports that Venezuela’s oldest newspaper is shutting down due to falling advertising, mounting inflation and a lack of basic materials. In addition, at least nine Venezuelan regional newspapers have stopped circulation because of the shortages. Of course, this is likely great news for President Maduro who can now manage his people’s minds direct from his Twitter feed… welcome to socialist utopia.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/11/2014.

Gold Daily and Silver Weekly Charts – Like a Land War In Asia

There was the usual London-New York hit applied to the precious metals earlier this morning. Nothing new in that.
There was a bit of a bounce into the close for gold, and some action in the mining stocks as well.
Shown below are the Comex reports for both gold and silver for yesterday. I thought it was funny that more gold contracts were stopped than for silver. But this is the active month for silver and not for gold!
Not that even that factoid means anything. Watching the Comex these days is like watching the magicians beautiful assistant move the boxes around on stage, while the magician executives his sleight of hand undetected.
The real markets for precious metals have moved overseas. The West is fighting a holding action in a currency war of attrition. It must be like fighting a land war in Asia. You roll out your best shock and awe, complete with media fanfare, over and over. But they are gaining ground little by little.
I know, let’s flatten our own markets and their economic integrity back to the stone age of rigged prices and perpetual fraud, executed by and for the very few while the domestic public staggers. That will show them who’s in charge: until exhaustion of lies, or the collapse of force.

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 11 SEPTEMBER 2014.

Illusioned by the Economic ‘Recovery’

This is an excerpt from the latest Global Gold Outlook Report (full paper). Take a free subscription to receive similar updates in the future via e-mail:
Europe’s economy is at a standstill. This summer was full of critical developments in the Eurozone: In June, the European Central Bank (ECB) decided to move into the territory of negative real interest rates! The deposit rate, which already was at 0%, was cut to minus 0.10%. Additionally, its refinancing rate was cut from 0.25% to 0.15%, and its marginal lending facility dropped to 0.4%. This was one of a package of measures the ECB said it was considering to combat disinflation in the Eurozone and give the economy a push. Due to the continued dim outlook of the economy, the ECB further reduced the deposit rate to minus 0.20% and the refinancing rate to 0.05% in early September.
In our first Outlook back in December 2012 we discussed measures of financial repression in our financial markets. The first one we listed was that of negative real interest rates and we expressed our concern of it continuing for some time. That the ECB resorts to this option comes as no surprise, the economy has been close to a standstill in the past two years and European debt levels remain alarmingly high. What better way to reduce the cost of debt? And as a bonus, banks are charged to pay the central banks for their deposits. Of course, these costs will shift to deposit holders who, as we stressed before, will not only lose money in real terms, but potentially in nominal terms as well.
Asset-backed securities… again? To further encourage credit supply in the continent, the ECB also mentioned it will launch its targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTROs), an enhanced and improved bank lending mechanism (excluding mortgage lending). Auctions are scheduled for September and December this year. An initial USD400 billion will be up for grabs! But the biggest revelation was that the ECB would start a US-style bond-buying facility by purchasing asset-backed securities (ABS) from banks.

This post was published at GoldSilverWorlds on September 11, 2014.

Gold Seeker Closing Report: Gold and Silver Fall Again

The Metals:
Gold fell $14.86 to $1235.16 at about 10:20AM EST before it rallied back higher into the close, but it still ended with a loss of 0.63%. Silver slipped to as low as $18.586 and ended with a loss of 1.42%.
Euro gold fell to about 961, platinum lost $11 to $1368, and copper dropped a couple of cents to about $3.09.
Gold and silver equities fell about 1% by midmorning, but they then rallied back higher in the last couple of hours of trade and ended with almost 1% gains.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 11 September 2014.

sept 11/Slight decrease in GLD inventory of .32 tonnes to pay for storage and insurance fees/no change in silver inventory at the SLV/ Gold and silver fall quite bit but gold shares gain in the a…

Gold closed down $6.100 at $1237.40 (comex to comex closing time ). Silver was down 53 cents at $18.53
In the access market tonight at 5:15 pm
gold: $1241.00
silver: $18.68
GLD : finally we had a slight withdrawal in gold to the tune of .32 tonnes of gold at the GLD (inventory now at 788.40 tonnes)
SLV : today we had no change in silver inventory at the SLV/inventory rests at 334.646
As far as gold and silver is concerned, we had another raid today right after both London first and second fixing of gold. It seems they are relentless in their attacks. Strangely for the third straight day, gold and silver jumped in the access market as soon as the comex closed.
Today we have commentaries concerning the sanctions placed on Russia and their retaliation. The separatists reached the Sea of Azov and its major port Mariupol. If they conquer Mariupol then Russia could have a land bridge between its territories and the Crimea.
We will discuss these and other stories
So without further ado………………
Let’s head immediately to see the data has in store for us today.
First: GOFO rates/
All months basically moved towards the positive needle as they must have found a few bars to lease. On the 22nd of September the LBMA will not publish GOFO rates. ( I guess the manipulation is getting to them)
London good delivery bars are still quite scarce.
Sept 11 2014
1 Month Rate: 2 Month Rate 3 Month Rate 6 month rate 1 yr rate
.11000% .1180000% .12800% .14600% .24000%
Sept 10 .2014:
1 Month Rate 2 Month Rate 3 Month Rate 6 month Rate 1 yr rate
1100% .118000% .128000% .14600% .24000%
Let us now head over to the comex and assess trading over there today,

This post was published at Harvey Organ on September 11, 2014.

A Brief History of Currency: The Infographic

Judging by the amount of currency destruction, all of it completely voluntary and reminiscent of what happened in the final days of the Roman empire, we urge readers to enjoy whatever fiat paper is around: it won’t be there for much longer. So to help out in that regard, below is an infographic showing a brief history of the world’s major currencies over the ages.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/11/2014.

Far-Right Nationalist Le Pen Takes Lead In French Presidental Poll

It’s not just Scotland… or Catalan. As The Guardian reports, polls out in the past few days in France have shown far-right Front National (FN) leader Marine Le Pen topping a presidential poll for the first time. Alongside this surge in support for FN is the utter collapse in the French people’s faith in Hollande. Less than 20% of voters now approve of the French president and stunningly more than half the nation’s card-holding-socialists have given up on him. An unprecedented 85% of French voters don’t think Hollande should seek a second term.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/11/2014.

SP 500 and NDX Futures Daily Charts – Stick Save In Pigland

Stocks were wobbly for most of the day as the US administration is once again beating the drums of endless war. And it did not help that the economic numbers this morning came in a bit weakly, with initial unemployment claims a bit on the high side. But these daily numbers do not mean all that much. What is of much more concern is the instability in the world, that I would suggest is an artifact of the ‘currency war.’ And of course the currency war is almost beyond a doubt one manifestation of the impulse of the North Atlantic elite political power structure’s attempt to make this ‘the Anglo-American Century.’ The pampered classes have lost their grip on the traditional colonial empire, and seem to be seeking to maintain and recreate it in a broader, more financialized guise. Let’s see how this works itself out.

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 11 SEPTEMBER 2014.

90% Of Hedge Fund Managers Are Overpaid Relative To “True Talent”

With plunging dispersion (across stocks returns) and soaring beta to the market, it appears an increasing number of hedge fund investors believe the masters of the universe aren’t worth the money. As Bloomberg reports, nine out of 10 hedge-fund managers are overpaid as management fees don’t reflect declining interest rates and fund returns, according to Unigestion Holding SA, which invests $2 billion in hedge funds. With The Fed at their back, it is hardly surprising that one fund of funds manager blasts, “the philosophy of the hedge-fund industry, as it should be, is toremunerate true talent; fund managers should be remunerated when they perform. They should not be remunerated for doing nothing.”
It’s not surprising; since, if alpha is all but impossible…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/11/2014.

Crude Oil Rip Sparks BTFD In Stocks But S&P Sub-2,000 3rd Day In A Row

For the 3rd day in a row, the USDollar flatlined as JPY & AUD weakness offset GBP & EUR strength (following Kuroda’s speech this morning). Stocks dipped-and-ripped once again – as they always do into and after the EU close – with the S&P managing to scramble back into the green (but not 2,000 for 3rd day in a row) in a late-day buying panic (after some Draghi headlines saying nothing new). Not everyone was drinking the same bounce-back juice as stocks with HY credit, and JPY-carry not supportive at all. Stocks seemed to track WTI crude most closely today as oil jumped higher (to $93) compressing the Brent-WTI spread to $5. Gold, silver, and copper slipped lower once again. The Treasury curve continued to bear flatten led by 5Y weakness.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/11/2014.