• Category Archives Alternative Media
  • A Plurality Of Voters Want Special Counsel To Investigate Clinton And Trump

    Despite Jeff Sessions’ surprising insistence during his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee earlier this week that there’s ‘no factual basis’ to appoint a special counsel to investigate actions by Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey, a plurality of voters believe special prosecutors should be investigating both the Clinton and Trump campaigns, according to a recent study that was shared with the Hill.
    The latest Harvard CAPS/Harris survey found that 44 percent of voters surveyed said a special counsel is needed to investigate both campaigns, meanwhile twenty-seven percent said only Trump needs to be investigated, while 21 percent said only Clinton needs to be investigated and nine percent said neither should be investigated.
    The poll’s findings also showed that the number of voters who believe Special Counsel Mueller has found hard evidence of collusion is a paltry 38 percent, while 36 percent say there is no hard evidence yet and 27 percent saying they don’t know.
    Unsurprisingly, the survey concluded that the public believes the Mueller investigation is hurting American democracy more than it is helping by implying that powerful, politically-connected Democrats who have the implicit support of the FBI and Deep State intelligence apparatus are immune to prosecution, while an outsider like Trump is not.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.


  • How Uncle Sam Inflates Away Your Life

    ‘Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon,’ once remarked economist and Nobel Prize recipient Milton Friedman. He likely meant that inflation is the more rapid increase in the supply of money relative to the output of goods and services which money is traded for.
    As more and more money is issued relative to the output of goods and services in an economy, the money’s watered down and loses value.
    By this account, price inflation is not in itself rising prices. Rather, it’s the loss of purchasing power resulting from an inflating money supply.
    Indeed, Friedman offered a shrewd insight. However, he also accompanied it with an opportunist mindset. Friedman saw promise in the phenomenon of monetary inflation. Moreover, he saw it as a means to improve human productivity and economic growth.
    You see, a stable money supply was not good enough for Friedman. He advocated for moderate levels of monetary growth, and inflation, to perpetually stimulate the economy. By hardwiring consumers with the expectation of higher prices, policy makers could compel a relentless consumer demand.
    This desire to harness and control the inflation phenomenon has infected practically every government economist’s brain since the early 1970s.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.


  • “This Just Feels Like Death”: Analysts Flee Research Positions Amid MiFID II Changes

    For the past couple of months, we’ve frequently shared our views that Europe’s MiFID II regulations, which force investment banks to charge for equity research instead of “giving it away” in return for trading commissions, could be a wake up call for 1,000’s of highly paid research analysts who were about to have their true ‘value add’ subjected to a market bidding test. Here are just a couple of examples:
    Deutsche Bank Forced To Slash Fixed-Income Research Price By Half On Lackluster Demand New European Regulations Set To Crush Equity Research Budgets By $300 Million Macquarie Identifies The Winners And Losers Of MiFID II Sticker Shock: Small Hedge Funds Seen Ditching I-Banking Research Under MiFID Now, per a note from Reuters, it seems that a growing number of equity research analysts are finally waking up to the fact that hedge funds don’t really have a burning desire to drop $400,000 per year on reports drafted by a 23-year-old recent college grad that do little more than summarize free SEC filings. Who could have known?

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.


  • “Did Mike Pence Buy A Diet Dr.Pepper For A Woman That Was Not His Wife?”

    Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,
    If only abortion were retroactive, we could suitably deal with monsters like Senator Al Franken (D – MN), who apparently ventured to apply a breast adjustment to a female colleague asleep on the military airplane winging them home from USO duty in Afghanistan. This was back in the day when Senator Franken was a professional entertainer, a clown to be precise, but his career shift to politics has rendered all his prior clowning anathema.
    Will he slink out of the senate in disgrace with (ahem) his tail between his legs? Or will he bunker in and wait until the mega-storm of sexual accusation roars on to strand some bigger, flashier fish on the shoals of ignominy?
    Perhaps we’ll soon learn that Warren Buffet repeatedly shagged his notoriously over-taxed secretary in the Berkshire Hathaway janitor’s closet.
    Or that Mike Pence once bought a diet Dr. Pepper for a woman who was not his wife!
    Seems to me this storm could roar and roil on until ninety-plus percent of the men in America are exposed as sex monsters and expelled from every workplace in the land. And then America can feel good about itself again. At least until the bond market blows up, or Kim Jung Fatboy sends a rocket over Rancho Cuckamonga.
    But in the meantime, this scourging of male wickedness raises some interesting questions about human dynamics vis-a-vis workplace dynamics.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.


  • Manhattan Retail: The New Rust Belt

    Via Global Macro Monitor,
    Bleecker Street, said Faith Hope Consolo, the chairwoman of the retail group for the real estate firm Douglas Elliman, ‘had a real European panache. People associated it with something special, something different.’ Ms. Consolo, who has negotiated several deals on the street, added: ‘We had visitors from all over that said, ‘We’ve got to get to Bleecker Street.’ It became a must-see, a must-go.’
    Early on, Ms. Consolo said, rents on the street were around $75 per square foot. By the mid-to-late 2000s, they had risen to $300. Those rates were unaffordable for many shop owners like Mr. Nusraty, who was forced out in 2008 when, he said, his lease was up and his monthly rent skyrocketed to $45,000, from $7,000.
    – NY Times
    Retail is not just being Amazoned in Manhattan, retailers are being priced out of business by exorbitant rents.
    Note to commercial landlords: Lower your rents! But, God forbid, that would be deflationary!

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.


  • Muddy Waters Proved Right As Huishan Dairy Prepares For Liquidation

    On March 2017, we discussed the sudden 90% drop in the share price of China’s largest dairy farm operator, the Hong Kong-listed China Huishan Dairy Holdings. The collapse occurred the day after its creditors convened an emergency meeting to discuss the company’s cash shortage and was three months after Muddy Waters’ Carson Block questioned its profitability and said the company was ‘worth close to zero.’ After the collapse in the share price we joked that ‘it suddenly almost is.’ Now we have confirmation that Block was correct, as Huishan is entering provisional liquidation, citing liabilities of $1.6 billion. From Bloomberg.
    China Huishan Dairy Holdings Co., the Hong Kong-listed company targeted by short sellers including Muddy Waters Capital LLC, is preparing for provisional liquidation in a move that could protect its assets as it negotiates with creditors. The firm had told its Cayman legal advisers to make the preparations, it said in a Hong Kong stock exchange filing Thursday.
    Huishan’s board earlier found that the net liabilities of its units in China ‘could have been’ 10.5 billion yuan ($1.58 billion) as of March 31, the company said. A provisional liquidation generally is used to safeguard a company’s assets before a court rules what action to take.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.


  • How Tax Reform Can Still Blow Up: A Side-By-Side Comparison Of The House And Senate Tax Plans

    To much fanfare, mostly out of president Trump, on Thursday the House passed their version of the tax bill 227-205 along party lines, with 13 Republicans opposing. The passage of the House bill was met with muted market reaction. The Senate version of the tax reform is currently going through the Senate Finance Committee for additional amendments and should be ready for a full floor debate in a few weeks. While some, like Goldman, give corporate tax cuts (if not broad tax reform), an 80% chance of eventually becoming law in the first quarter of 2018, others like UBS and various prominent skeptics, do not see the House and Senate plans coherently merging into a survivable proposal.
    Indeed, while momentum seemingly is building for the tax plan, some prominent analysts believe there are several issues down the road that could trip up or even stall a comprehensive tax plan from passing the Congress, the chief of which is how to combine the House and Senate plans into one viable bill.
    How are the two plans different?
    Below we present a side by side comparison of the two plans from Bank of America, which notes that the House and the Senate are likely to pass different tax plans with areas of disagreement (see table below). This means that the two chambers will need to form a conference committee to hash out the differences. There are three major friction points:
    the repeal of the state and local tax deductions (SALT), capping mortgage interest deductions and the delay in the corporate tax cut. The House seems strongly opposed to fully repealing SALT and delaying the corporate tax cuts and the Senate could push back on changing the mortgage interest deductions. Finding compromise on these issues without disturbing other parts of the plan while keeping the price tag under the $1.5tn over 10 years could be challenging.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.


  • This Michigan Bank Just Brought Back The Zero-Down Mortgage; They’ll Even Cover Your Closing Costs

    A small savings bank in Michigan, Flagstar Bank, has come up with a genius, innovative new mortgage product that they believe is going to be great for their investors and low-income housing buyers: the “zero-down mortgage.” What’s better, Flagstar is even offering to pay the closing costs of their low-income future mortgage debtors. Here’s more from HousingWire:
    Under the program, Flagstar will gift the required 3% down payment to the borrower, plus up to $3,500 to be used for closing costs.
    According to the bank, there is no obligation for borrowers who qualify to repay the down payment gift.
    The program is available to only certain low- to moderate-income borrowers and borrowers in low- to moderate-income areas throughout Michigan.
    Borrowers would not have to repay the down payment or closing costs. But a 1099 form to report the income would be issued to the Internal Revenue Service by the bank. So the gifts could be taxable, depending on the borrower’s financial picture.
    Flagstar said borrowers who might qualify for its new program typically would have an annual income in the range of $35,000 to $62,000. The sales price of the home — which must be in qualifying areas — would tend to be in the range of $80,000 to $175,000.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.


  • Despite Massive Liquidity Injection, Chinese Stocks, Commodities Head For Worst Week Of Year

    The PBOC stepped up cash injections this week, suggesting authorities are trying to shore up financial markets as a selloff in bonds spreads to equities… but it is not working!
    As Bloomberg reports, the central bank has already added a net 510 billion yuan ($77 billion) via open-market operations into the financial system this week, matching the third biggest weekly injection this year.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.


  • BOE Warns Weekly Fund Redemptions Of 1.3% Would Break Corporate Bond Market

    The Bank of England has done some timely and truly eye-opening research into the resilience of corporate bond markets. The research is contained in the Bank of England Financial Stability Paper No.42and is titled ‘Simulating stress across the financial system: the resilience of corporate bond markets and the role of investment funds’ by Yuliya Baranova, Jamie Coen, Pippa Lowe, Joseph Noss and Laura Silvestri.
    The starting point of the analysis is to revisit the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) which saw $300 billion of related to subprime mortgages amplified to well over $2.5 trillion of write-downs across the global financial system as a whole. One of the problems was that the system was structured in a way that did not absorb economic shocks, but amplified them. The amplification came via a feedback loop. As the crisis unfolded, fears about credit worthiness of banks led to the collapse of interbank lending. Weaker banks had their funding withdrawn, which led to a downward spiral of asset sales and the strangling of credit in the broader economy.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.


  • Pentagon “Mistakenly” Retweets Post Calling For Trump To Resign

    The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words. Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 while she sleeps? …..
    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 17, 2017

    Defense Secretary James Mattis will get an earful from his boss this morning, after an ‘authorized user’ of the Pentagon Twitter account retweeted – and then swiftly deleted – a tweet calling for President Donald Trump to resign after the president slammed Sen. Al Franken while remaining silent about Alabama Sen. Candidate Roy Moore.
    Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning said in a statement that an authorized operator of the Defense Department’s official Twitter site ‘erroneously retweeted content that would not be endorsed by the Department of Defense. The operator caught this error and immediately deleted it.’
    Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White posted the same statement on Twitter.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.


  • Housing Starts, Permits Rebound In October After Storm-Soaked September

    Following September’s storm-driven tumble, October has seen a big rebound in Housing Starts (+13.7% MoM) and Permits (+5.9% MoM) both beating expectations, as multi-family starts explode.
    Housing starts printed above all analysts’ guesses (4 standard deviations above expectations) for the biggest monthly jump in a year.
    The surge in starts was driven by a major rebound in multifamily units…

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.


  • After Slamming Bitcoin As A Money Laundering Tool, JPMorgan Busted For Money Laundering

    Score one for the poetic irony pages.
    Two months after JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon lashed out at bitcoin, calling it a “fraud” which is “worse than tulip bulbs, warning it won’t end well”, will “blow up” and “someone is going to get killed” and threatened that “any trader trading bitcoin” will be “fired for being stupid” as it was merely a tool for money-laundering, today Swiss daily Handelszeitung reported that the Swiss subsidiary of JPMorgan was sanctioned by the Swiss regulator, FINMA, over money laundering and “seriously violating supervision laws.”
    As the newspaper adds, the Swiss sanctions relate to breaches of due diligence in connection with money laundering standards. In other words, JPMorgan was actively aiding and abeting criminal money laundering.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.


  • Mueller Subpoena Spooks Dollar, Sends European Stocks, US Futures Lower

    Yesterday’s torrid, broad-based rally looked set to continue overnight until early in the Japanese session, when the USD tumbled and dragged down with it the USDJPY, Nikkei, and US futures following a WSJ report that Robert Mueller had issued a subpoena to more than a dozen top Trump administration officials in mid October.
    And as traders sit at their desks on Friday, U. S. index futures point to a lower open as European stocks fall, struggling to follow Asian equities higher as the euro strengthened at the end of a tumultuous week. Chinese stocks dropped while Indian shares and the rupee gain on Moody’s upgrade. The MSCI world equity index was up 0.1% on the day, but was heading for a 0.1% fall on the week. The dollar declined against most major peers, while Treasury yields dropped and oil rose.
    Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index fluctuated before turning lower as much as 0.3% in brisk volumes, dropping towards the 200-DMA, although about 1% above Wednesday’s intraday low; weakness was observed in retail, mining, utilities sectors. In the past two weeks, the basic resources sector index is down 6%, oil & gas down 5.8%, autos down 4.9%, retail down 3.4%; while real estate is the only sector in green, up 0.1%. The Stoxx 600 is on track to record a weekly loss of 1.3%, adding to last week’s sell-off amid sharp rebound in euro, global equity pullback. The Euro climbed for the first time in three days after ECB President Mario Draghi said he was optimistic for wage growth in the region, although stressed the need for patience, speaking in Frankfurt. European bonds were mixed. The pound pared some of its earlier gains after comments from Brexit Secretary David Davis signaling a continued stand-off in negotiations with the European Union.
    In Asia, the Nikkei 225 took its time to catch up to the WSJ report that US Special Counsel Mueller has issued a Subpoena for Russia-related documents from Trump campaign officials, although reports pointing to North Korea conducting ‘aggressive’ work on the construction of a ballistic missile submarine helped the selloff. The Japanese blue-chip index rose as much as 1.8% in early dealing, but the broad-based dollar retreat led to the index unwinding the bulk of its gains; the index finished the session up 0.2% as the yen jumped to the strongest in four-weeks. Australia’s ASX 200 added 0.2% with IT, healthcare and telecoms leading the way, as utilities lagged. Mainland Chinese stocks fell, with the Shanghai Comp down circa 0.5% as the PBoC’s reversel in liquidity injections (overnight net drain of 10bn yuan) did little to boost risk appetite, as Kweichou Moutai (viewed as a bellwether among Chinese blue chips) fell sharply. This left the index facing its biggest weekly loss in 3 months, while the Hang Seng rallied with IT leading the way higher. Indian stocks and the currency advanced after Moody’s Investors Service raised the nation’s credit rating.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.


  • Bill Blain: “Stock Markets Don’t Matter; The Great Crash Of 2018 Will Start In The Bond Market”

    Blain’s Morning Porridge, Submitted by Bill Blain of Mint Partners
    The Great Crash of 2018? Look to the bond markets to trigger Mayhem!
    I had the impression the markets had pretty much battened down for rest of 2017 – keen to protect this year’s gains. Wrong again. It seems there is another up-step. After the People’s Bank of China dropped $47 bln of money into its financial system (where bond yields have risen dramatically amid growing signs of wobble), the game’s afoot once more. The result is global stocks bound upwards. Again. It suggest Central Banks have little to worry about in 2018 – if markets get fraxious, just bung a load of money at them.
    Personally, I’m not convinced how the tau of monetary market distortion is a good thing? Markets have become like Pavlov’s dog: ring the easy money bell, and markets salivate to the upside.
    Of course, stock markets don’t matter.
    The truth is in bond markets. And that’s where I’m looking for the dam to break. The great crash of 2018 is going to start in the deeper, darker depths of the Credit Market.
    I’ve already expressed my doubts about the long-term stability of certain sectors – like how covenants have been compromised in high-yield even as spreads have compressed to record tights over Treasuries, about busted European regions trying to pass themselves off as Sovereign States (no I don’t mean the Catalans, I mean Italy!), and how the bond market became increasingly less discerning on risk in its insatiable hunt for yield. Chuck all of these in a mixing bowl and the result is a massive Kerrang as the gears of finance explode!

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.


  • The Demise of Dissent: Why the Web Is Becoming Homogenized

    In other words, we’ll be left with officially generated and sanctioned fake news and “approved” dissent.
    We’ve all heard that the problem with the web is fake news, i.e. unsubstantiated or erroneous content that’s designed to mislead or sow confusion.
    The problem isn’t just fake news–it’s the homogenization of the web, that is, the elimination or marginalization of independent voices of skepticism and dissent.
    There are four drivers of this homogenization:
    1. The suppression of dissent under the guise of ridding the web of propaganda and fake news–in other words, dissent is labeled fake news as a cover for silencing critics and skeptics.
    2. The sharp decline of advertising revenues flowing to web publishers, both major outlets and small independent publishers like Of Two Minds.
    3. The majority of advert revenues now flow into the coffers of the quasi-monopolies Facebook and Google.
    4. Publishers are increasingly dependent on these quasi-monopolies for readers and visibility: any publisher who runs afoul of Facebook and Google and is sent to Digital Siberia effectively vanishes.

    This post was published at Charles Hugh Smith on FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2017.


  • Keep Calm & Carry On

    Authored by 720Global’s Michael Liebowitz via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,
    ‘Before long, we will all begin to find out the extent to which Brexit is a gentle stroll along a smooth path to a land of cake and consumption.’ – Mark Carney, Bank of England Governor.
    In 1939, the British Government, through the Ministry of Information, produced a series of morale-boosting posters which were hung in public places throughout the British Isles. Faced with German air raids and the imminent threat of invasion, the slogans were aimed at helping the British public brave the testing times that lay ahead. The most enduring of these slogans simply read:
    ‘Keep Calm and Carry On.’ Ironically, it was the only one of the series that was never actually displayed in public as it was reserved for a German invasion that never transpired. Today, the British Government may wish to summon a fresh propaganda strategy to address a new threat on the horizon, that of the eventuality of Brexit.
    The Kingdom Divided
    The United Kingdom (UK) is in the process of negotiating out of all policies that, since 1972, formally tied it to the economic dynamics of the broader western European community. Since the unthinkable Brexit vote passage in June 2016, the unthinkable has now become the undoable. The negotiations, policy discussions, logistical considerations and legal wrangling are becoming increasingly problematic as they affect every industry in the UK from trade and finance to hazardous materials, produce, air travel and even Formula 1 racing.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.


  • How Corporate Zombies Are Threatening The Eurozone Economy

    The recovery in Eurozone growth has become part of the synchronised global growth narrative that most investors are relying on to deliver further gains in equities as we head into 2018. However, the ‘Zombification’ of a chunk of the Eurozone’s corporate sector is not only a major unaddressed structural problem, but it’s getting worse, especially in…you guessed it… Italy and Spain. According to the WSJ.
    The Bank for International Settlements, the Basel-based central bank for central banks, defines a zombie as any firm which is at least 10 years old, publicly traded and has interest expenses that exceed the company’s earnings before interest and taxes. Other organizations use different criteria. About 10% of the companies in six eurozone countries, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain are zombies, according to the central bank’s latest data. The percentage is up sharply from 5.5% in 2007. In Italy and Spain, the percentage of zombie companies has tripled since 2007, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimated in January. Italy’s zombies employed about 10% of all workers and gobbled up nearly 20% of all the capital invested in 2013, the latest year for which figures are available. The WSJ explains how the ECB’s negative interest rate policy and corporate bond buying are keeping a chunk of the corporate sector, especially in southern Europe on life support. In some cases, even the life support of low rates and debt restructuring is not preventing further deterioration in their metrics. These are the true ‘Zombie’ companies who will probably never come back from being ‘undead’, i.e. technically dead but still animate. Belatedly, there is some realisation of the risks.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.


  • Business Cycles and Inflation – Part I

    Incrementum Advisory Board Meeting Q4 2017 – Special Guest Ben Hunt, Author and Editor of Epsilon Theory
    The quarterly meeting of the Incrementum Fund’s Advisory Board took place on October 10 and we had the great pleasure to be joined by special guest Ben Hunt this time, who is probably known to many of our readers as the main author and editor of Epsilon Theory. He is also chief risk officer at investment management firm Salient Partners. As always, a transcript of the discussion is available for download below.
    As usual, we will add a few words here to expand a little on the discussion. A wide range of issues relevant to the markets was debated at the conference call, but we want to focus on just one particular point here that we only briefly mentioned in the discussion. In fact, as you will see we are about to go off on quite a tangent (note: Part II will be posted shortly as well).
    Among the things Ben Hunt specializes in are the narratives accompanying economic and financial trends, and not to forget, economic and monetary policy, which inform the ‘Common Knowledge Game’ (in his introductory remarks, Ronald Stoeferle provides this brief definition: ‘It’s not what the crowd believes that’s important; it’s what the crowd believes that the crowd believes’). This reminded us of something George Soros first mentioned in a speech he delivered in the early 1990s:
    Economic history is a never-ending series of episodes based on falsehoods and lies, not truths. It represents the path to big money. The object is to recognize the trend whose premise is false, ride that trend, and step off before it is discredited.

    This post was published at Acting-Man on November 17, 2017.