• Tag Archives Augur
  • Finland’s Largest Pension Funds Dumps US Stocks Because “There Is No President In The US”

    As President Donald Trump prepares to meet with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in the White House on Monday, a portfolio manager at the Baltic state’s largest pension fund has told Bloomberg that he will be trimming exposure to US stocks. The reason? ‘It seems as if there is no president in the US.’
    Risto Murto, chief executive officer of Varma Mutual Pension Insurance complained that Trump’s response to the attack in Charlottesville Va. demonstrated that he is incapable of governing the world’s largest economy, and that it appears the US is more or less running on autopilot.
    ***
    The reason for Murto’s concern: as the financial crisis showed us, when there is trouble in the US, it runs the risk of spreading to the rest of the world. Musto also cited Trump’s seeming inability to work with Congress as ‘particularly worrying,’ given that it threatens to disrupt the implementation of the Trump economic agenda. Hoped-for tax cuts and infrastructure spending helped push US stocks to record highs in the wake of Trump’s inauguration.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 28, 2017.


  • Greeks Rejoice – Government Scraps Controversial Wine Consumption Tax

    While austerity still reigns supreme over Greek society, amid resurgent refugee arrivals, still near-record high youth unemployment, record-high suicide rates, and a constant brain-drain exodus of young talent, this weekend saw a brief silver lining as the government decided to scrap the controversial special consumption tax on wine.
    The measure, which not only did not meet revenue targets, but actually boosted illegal trade in wine and grapes, will be halted by the end of the year.
    ***
    As KeepTalkingGreece reports, inaugurating the Wine Days of Nemea 2017 in one of wine producing regions of Greece, Minister for Rural Development, Vaggelis Apostolou said that the ministry is working on the legislation to scrap the special consumption tax on wine and it is expected to be ready before the end of the year.’It is a commitment by prime minister Alexis Tsipras that the tax will not exist in the new year,’ Apostolou stressed.
    Finance Ministry sources told daily Efimerida Ton Syntakton that the special consumption tax on wine caused more damage to the sector of wine producers than it brought revenues to the state.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 28, 2017.


  • “Controlled Demolition” Or Carnage?

    Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,
    This is the week-of-weeks when the official grand viziers of finance gather at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to confab and interpret the lay of animal neck-bones and other auguries scattered in the sand, with the hope of steering the awesome powers of the universe this was or that as they affect the operations of money. The exercise is hardly different in function from the sort of rude ceremonials that took place on top of Sumerian ziggurats and Aztec temples – to reassure the masses that effective spells for favor of the Gods have been cast – except that in our civilization money is God.
    Or ‘money,’ we should say, because the old definitions don’t fit so well anymore. It used to have a straightforward relationship with the work required to produce actual things of value, but those days are gone. ‘Money’ nowadays is a byproduct of wishful analytics and computer legerdemain seasoned with generous measures of fraud and larceny. This is a big problem when everything is measured in money and it becomes quite impossible to state with assurance what the value of money actually is. Obviously, you end up not knowing the value of anything.
    That’s the perilous situation the world faces. And since the USA is the straw the stirs the world’s drink – at least for now – the utterances emanating from Jackson Hole may determine which way that situation turns. We should suppose that the officers of the Federal Reserve are upright, well-intentioned, patriotic people. No doubt they think they are. But the perilous situation is largely one of their own making, and seems to be veering out of their control, and reputations are at stake. Their task at this year’s Jackson Hole confab is to maintain the appearance of confidence in their own rituals. But with a kicker.
    That kicker is named T-r-u-m-p. This modern Balaam, riding the ass of the Deep State into wickedness, must be stopped, perhaps at all costs. On his way to the oval office last fall, Trump prophesied that the stock markets represented ‘one big, fat, ugly bubble.’ That was an offense to the grand viziers, for whom the elevated stock market valuations stood as the main testament to their power and wisdom. In fact, it was the only testament, and a rather flimsy one. More recently, though, the wicked Trump changed his tune and declared that the tower of stock market exaltation was his own doing, setting himself up for the revenge of the grand viziers.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 25, 2017.


  • Bannon: “The Trump Presidency That We Fought For Is Over”

    / Aug 19, 2017 12:51 PM
    In his first interview shortly after the White House announced that it was parting ways with Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon told the Weekly Standard on Friday afternoon that “the Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over.” After confirming his departure Bannon said that ‘we still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else. And there’ll be all kinds of fights, and there’ll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over.’
    In his interview with the conservative publication, Bannon predicted that in the wake of his departure, Trump’s administration would “be much more conventional” as his absence from the White House would make it ‘much harder’ for Trump to pave a way forward on issues like ‘economic nationalism and immigration.’ He also predicted that republicans would “moderate” Trump:
    ‘I think they’re going to try to moderate him,’ he says. ‘I think he’ll sign a clean debt ceiling, I think you’ll see all this stuff. His natural tendency – and I think you saw it this week on Charlottesville – his actual default position is the position of his base, the position that got him elected. I think you’re going to see a lot of constraints on that. I think it’ll be much more conventional.’
    In Bannon’s view, his departure is not a defeat for him personally but for the ideology he’d urged upon the president, as reflected in Trump’s provocative inaugural address in which he spoke of self-dealing Washington politicians, and their policies that led to the shuttered factories and broken lives of what he called ‘American carnage.’ Bannon co-authored that speech (and privately complained that it had been toned down by West Wing moderates like Ivanka and Jared).

    This post was published at Zero Hedge by Tyler Durden.


  • Small Cap Rout Is Flashing Red Flag For US Economy

    The post-election small cap bounce in US stocks has now been completely erased as it seems tax-reforms have now been entirely priced-out of markets. However, as BofAML notes, the demise of small cap stocks relative to the broad market augurs badly for forward-looking economic growth…
    The Russell 2000 is now the worst performing major index this year, up just 1% YTD…
    Via BofAML,

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 11, 2017.


  • The Imperial City’s Fiscal Waterloo — David Stockman

    ‘It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world.’ That was George Washington’s Farewell Address to us.
    The inaugural pledge of Thomas Jefferson was no less clear in stating, ‘Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none.’
    So when Woodrow Wilson embarked the nation on the route of Empire in April 1917 and FDR launched the domestic interventionism of the New Deal in March 1933, the die was cast. It was only a matter of time before the disconnect between a robust Big Government and the structural infirmities of Madison’s republican contraption resulted in a deadly impasse.
    The Fed has now backed itself into a corner and is out of dry powder. Even its Keynesian managers are determined to normalize and shrink a hideously bloated balance sheet. The current account has no basis in sustainable or sound finance.
    The time of fiscal reckoning has come. With the financial sedative of monetization on hold, bond vigilantes will soon awaken from their 30-year slumber.

    This post was published at Daily Reckoning


  • Our Disneyland Economy

    Disneyland is known as a place ‘where dreams come true’ and where every story always has a happy ending. But there is going to be no happy ending for the U. S. economy. Wishful thinking has resulted in one of the greatest stock market rallies in history in recent months, but like all childhood fantasies, it won’t last. The real economy continues to deteriorate, and we can see this even right outside of the gates of Disneyland. Every night growing numbers of homeless people sleep on the pavement just steps away from ‘the happiest place on Earth’. It can be fun to ‘play make believe’ for a while, but eventually reality always catches up with us.
    Without a doubt, the stock market has been on a tremendous run. Since Donald Trump’s stunning election victory in November, the market has been setting record high after record high, and it is now up a total of 17 percent…
    The Dow Jones Industrial Average recorded its 23rd all time high of 2017 yesterday closing at 21,532. There have been a total of 120 days where the markets have closed since President Trump’s inauguration on January 20th. The ‘DOW’ has closed at all time highs 23 of those days for nearly 20% or one-fifth of the days the market has been open. The market is up 9% since the inauguration.
    Since the election on November 8th the DOW has closed at record highs an amazing 40 times! Nearly one-fourth or 24% of the 168 days the markets have closed have been record highs since the November 8th election. The market is up 17% since the election!
    If this surge was supported by hard economic data, that would be something to greatly celebrate, but that has not been the case at all.
    Instead, stock prices have become completely disconnected from economic reality, and now we are facing one of the greatest stock bubbles of all time. As Graham Summers has pointed out, stocks are now trading at price to sales ratios that we haven’t seen since the very height of the dotcom bubble…

    This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on July 16th, 2017.


  • Technical Scoop – Weekend Update July 16

    The stock market yawned, and then moved to new highs! We know that is probably not what most people would have expected from the latest revelations of the ongoing saga of President Trump and his family. But that is exactly what happened as the Dow Jones Industrials (DJI) moved to new all-time highs. The revelation was the botched attempt by Donald Trump Jr., the son of President Donald Trump to get dirt on Hillary Clinton by meeting up with a woman described as ‘the Russian government attorney.’
    The meeting was apparently attended by Donald Trump Jr., the President’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, the former campaign advisor Paul Manafort who himself has been revealed as having deep financial ties to Russian interests, the Russian government lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, and most recently reported, a Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin. The meeting is being viewed by some as the most tangible evidence of a connection between the Trump campaign and Russia, a connection that had been denied previously by both the President and Donald Trump Jr. The investigation is the subject of an investigation by a federal special counsel.
    The President praised his son’s transparency for revealing the emails that said, ‘I love it’ to what he had been told was an attempt by the Russian government to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential election campaign. What all of this does, however, is give fuel to a fire that has been burning since Donald Trump officially became President in January 2017. The DJI is up 8.8% since the inauguration. Gold is up roughly 2%, but the US$ Index has fallen 5.4%.

    This post was published at GoldSeek on 16 July 2017.


  • Peak Bull: Fake Economy, and Fake News

    This is a syndicated repost courtesy of The Daily Reckoning. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
    The American economy has been mangled by decades of assault on capitalist prosperity.
    Growth is now dying because the Federal Reserve’s hit on corporate America that has strip-mined its balance sheets to feed the halls of Wall Street. Trillions of dollars have been thrown into financial engineering (stock buybacks, M&A deals and leveraged recaps) while neglecting real investment and productivity in Flyover America.
    ***
    The single most important thing that speculators and bulls on Wall Street should be looking at now is where we came from. If Wall Street understood this, they wouldn’t continue to expect the ‘born again’ Reagan stimulus that has been imagined since Trump’s inauguration.

    This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on July 15, 2017.


  • Fueled by Global Investors, Home Prices Go Nuts in Barcelona

    A few blocks from where I live in the solidly middle class (but gentrifying) Eixample Dreta district of Barcelona, a newly renovated modernist building is about to be inaugurated. Outside the building is a huge billboard displaying some of the lavish charms offered by the refurbished apartments inside, including Jacuzzis, spacious roof terraces, a swimming pool, and an elegantly attired concierge. The images are headed with cheesy aspirational slogans like ‘Art, Prestige, Life’ and ‘A Dream to Live In.’
    Not a single word of the ad is in Catalan or Spanish, the two official local languages. Everything is in English.
    These properties are not meant for local people – that’s not where the money is. The money is in the international market, whose insatiable demand for real estate in this increasingly popular global city has propelled property prices to bubblicious levels.
    In the last 12 months in Barcelona, the median home price (half are higher and half are lower) has soared 21.7%, to 3,094 per square meter (ca. $350 per square foot), with double-digit increases across all of the city’s districts, according to data compiled by the property appraiser Tinsa. The biggest movements were seen in the city’s old town, which is ground zero for the city’s tourist industry. There the median price have skyrocketed 35% in just one year.

    This post was published at Wolf Street by Don Quijones – Jul 12, 2017.