Pending Home Sales Up 61% In The Midwest? You Can Not Be Serious…

In his latest commentary on the National Association of Realtors’ Existing Home Sales reports, John Williams of Shadowstats.com had this comment: ‘the quality of data underlying this series remains questionable, as seen in erratic reporting over the years’ (Shadowstats.com). This speaks to my recurring assertion that the National of Association of Realtors’ existing home sales reports have become just as questionable as the Government-generated new home sales reports.
More fascinating to watch is the NAR’s chief clown, Larry Yun, vacillate between his justifications for worse than expected reports and his glowing promotion of better than expected reports. The volatility of both the NAR’s report and Yun’s commentary on these reports is become more unstable and erratic in the past 12-18 months. I have previously written several commentaries on this issue with detailed source-references supporting my assertions.
In this context, the latest ‘Pending Homes Sales’ report is hardly worth commenting on. Perhaps the Zerohedge title of their announcement of the report sums it up succinctly: ‘February Pending Home Sales Surge By Most on Record Amid Midwest Miracle’ LINK.

This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on March 28, 2016.

Is This Fed President An Idiot? Read These Two Headlines And Decide

As if The Federal Reserve’s credibility was not already circling the drain faster than Kanye West’s, San Francisco Federal Reserve President John Williams just dropped the ultimate tape-bomb of ignorance and flip-flopping.
In January, as the market begain to accelerate to the downside, a confident Fed explains why it is “not too concerned” about China’s collapse: “We’ve built in a weakening path for China. I don’t see that as a significant risk to the forecast” for the U. S. economy, China doesn’t affect the US market that much at all.“

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/28/2016.

Bid To Cover Plunges, Foreign Central Banks Flee From 2 Year Auction

On the surface, today’s 2Y auction was not too bad: pricing at a 0.877% high yield, this stopped 0.5 bps through the 0.882% When Issued.
That was as good as it got, because the internals were a disaster: the Bid to Cover plunged from 2.907 to just 2.578, the lowest BTC since Dec 2008 and clearly well below the 12TTM average of 3.17. Almost as if investors are no longer too sure in the short end… which makes sense: neither is the Fed, at least until it too unleashes NIRP.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/28/2016.

US Economy Showing Off Its Dad Bod

Earlier this month, I hit my 19-year work anniversary at Briefing.com. It was yet another reminder of how fast time flies when you’re doing something you love. So much has happened in that time for me, both personally and professionally.
I started here as a 25-year old bachelor. Today, I am 44 years old, married, and have four children. I began my career here as an entry-level analyst writing the Stock Market Update page. Today, I am the Chief Market Analyst, responsible for covering the Page One, The Big Picture, Market View, and Fed Brief columns in addition to providing Story Stocks coverage, market insight for the In Play page, and the analysis of all economic releases.
Read CFOs Say China, US Political Turmoil Pose Greatest Risk to Economic Outlook
Rest assured, this little trip down memory lane is not without direction nor is it intended to be self-aggrandizing. On the contrary, it’s a setup for this week’s column, which is going to look at the condition of the US economy by intersecting the personal with the professional to make that situation easier to understand.
Meaning Please
I think we can all agree that there has been a lot of momentous change in the world over the last 19 years. Part of that change has included a US economy that has said goodbye to its six-pack abs and hello to its “dad bod.”
Some readers may be familiar with the term “dad bod,” but many others may not. It is a term that took off last year courtesy of Clemson University sophomore Mackenzie Pearson, who penned an essay, which ultimately went viral, explaining the essence of that term of endearment.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 03/28/2016.

It’s Official: The Oil Surge Was Driven By The Biggest Short-Squeeze Ever

Two months ago, just before crude dropped to 13 year lows, we warned oil traders that there is “a constant short squeeze threat” because “oil shorts are at all-time highs“, adding that “we have seen extreme short positioning building up in the oil futures market. The quantity of short positions opened is at an all-time high for Brent, and still high for WTI futures.”
We also warned that “a positive surprise could happen quite sharply, as short positions are likely to be squeezed by a profit-taking move. On WTI, the in-the-money short positions are really dominating at the front end of the curve while out-of-the-money long positions are dominating at the long end of the curve:the front end of oil curve could thus be more exposed to some profit-taking.”
It was, and just a few days later, the algos took this warning to heart and, courtesy of the most recurring headline (that of a “farcical” oil production freeze) as a recurring catalyst, unleashed an historic short squeeze. Actually make that a record short squeeze.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/28/2016.

Stocks Shrug Off Dismal Data, Shootings, Bomb Alerts, And Viruses To Close Unchanged

Well that was a busy (no volume) day…But first some Easter Bunny fun…
Overnight JPY selling juiced stocks up but as soon as reality slapped them in the face – with housing data that everyone ignored for its idiocy and spending data that crushed hopes and dreams for Q1 GDP. However, the afternoon saw shootings at The Capitol, Times Square bomb alerts, and FBI investigating a major virus… stocks did not care.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/28/2016.

Russia Continues Gold Accumulation as the West Sells

Russia knows the game that the Western financial elites are playing. They know about the fiat Ponzi scheme that the US government is involved in and in control of through their entitlement as the reserve currency of the world. They know this, which is exactly why they continue to invest in precious metals, predominately gold.
Russia and China are two countries that know about Western financial manipulation and are not playing “nice” with the rest of the world. While they are not alone, they are the key players in the opposition to the control structure that currently dominates the global financial market. Although its power is waning, the West is still a formidable force that will be a major financial contender right until its self-destruction.
Therefore, it is no surprise to learn that Russia has once again announced that it has increased its total reserves of gold. Unlike Canada, who foolishly just dumped the last of their precious metals, Russia is thinking ahead and planning for the days when the US dollar will be supplanted by a more stable and honest form of money.
The future that Russia sees is undoubtedly one that involves gold in some way. One possibility, as many have alluded to before, is a basket of currencies and commodities, which will include precious metals.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 28 March 2016.

Q1 GDP Crashes To 0.6%: Latest Atlanta Fed Estimate

Earlier today we said that following the abysmal January spending data revision as shown in the chart below:
… that “the Atlanta Fed will have no choice but to revise its Q1 “nowcast” to 1.0% or even lower, which would make the first quarter the lowest quarter since the “polar vortex” impacted Q1 of 2015, and the third worst GDP quarter since Q4 2012. It means one-third of already low Q1 GDP growth has just been wiped away.”
It was “even lower.”
Moments ago the Atlanta Fed which models concurrent GDP, slashed its Q1 GDP from 1.4% (and 1.9% last week) to a number not even we expected: a paltry 0.6%, which would match the “polar vortexed” GDP print from Q1 2015.
Should the number drop even more, will be the lowest since Q1 of 2014 when the US economy suffered its most recent contraction of nearly -1%.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/28/2016.

Don’t Blame It All On Donald Trump

The other week, feeling sick, I spent a day on my couch with the TV on and was reminded of an odd fact of American life. More than seven months before Election Day, you can watch the 2016 campaign for the presidency at any moment of your choosing, and that’s been true since at least late last year. There is essentially never a time when some network or news channel isn’t reporting on, discussing, debating, analyzing, speculating about, or simply drooling over some aspect of the primary campaign, of Hillary, Bernie, Ted, and above all — a million times above all — The Donald (from the violence at his rallies to the size of his hands). In case you’re young and think this is more or less the American norm, it isn’t. Or wasn’t.
Truly, there is something new under the sun. Of course, in 1994 with O. J. Simpson’s white Ford Bronco chase (95 million viewers!), the 24/7 media event arrived full blown in American life and something changed when it came to the way we focused on our world and the media focused on us. But you can be sure of one thing: never in the history of television, or any other form of media, has a single figure garnered the amount of attention — hour after hour, day after day, week after week — as Donald Trump. If he’s the O. J. Simpson of twenty-first-century American politics and his run for the presidency is the eternal white Ford Bronco chase of our moment, then we’re in a truly strange world.
Or let me put it another way: this is not an election. I know the word ‘election’ is being used every five seconds and somewhere along the line significant numbers of Americans (particularly, this season, Republicans) continue to enter voting booths or in the case of primary caucuses, school gyms and the like, to choose among various candidates, so it’s all still election-like. But take my word for it as a 71-year-old guy who’s been watching our politics for decades: this is not an election of the kind the textbooks once taught us was so crucial to American democracy. If, however, you’re sitting there waiting for me to tell you what it is, take a breath and don’t be too disappointed. I have no idea, though it’s certainly part bread-and-circuses spectacle, part celebrity obsession, and part media money machine.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/28/2016.

The Great Nausea

Historians of the future, roasting rat kabobs over their campfires will look back at the year 2016 and marvel at the death throes of the zombie republic that died eating its own brains. This grotesque Deep State lumbers from one misadventure of governance to the next consuming its prospects for a plausible future in a fugue of autophagy, inducing the great nausea that now settles over the land.
President Trump – really? We would be lucky of it only resulted in a revolt of the generals, and there goes 200-plus years of institutional heritage. Yet it cannot be denied that the Deep State needs to be kicked to the curb, stomped, water-boarded, and hung out to dry. The sad part is that the job might have been done by men of character, but incredibly the long-vaunted baby boomer generation did not manage to produce any, nor the so-called Gen-X now coming into its own power. And if such hypothetical figures do exist, why are they hiding in the thickets of public life?
Well, there is Bernie, after all. Credit must be given to this lone crusader for at least opposing the avatar of the Deep State, she whose ‘turn’ must not be denied in the rotating management of rackets-and-grift that our politics have sunk to. He thrashed her roundly in the three primary contests over the weekend – so badly in the vote count that she may be suffering an existential hangover as I write.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on March 28, 2016.

Oh Look, They’re Declaring War

What do you do when someone declares war on you?
Mexicans celebrating an Easter ritual late on Saturday burnt effigies of U. S. Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, whose anti-immigrant views have sparked outrage south of the American border.
In Mexico City’s poor La Merced neighborhood, hundreds of cheering residents yelled “death” and various insults as they watched the explosion of the grinning papier-mch mock-up of the real estate tycoon, replete with blue blazer, red tie and his trademark tuft of blond hair.
Well, here we are.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2016-03-28.

China boasts most billionaires in the world & makes for a great long term investment

An ounce of patience is worth a pound of brains.
Dutch Proverb
Our Asian edge Index and trend indicator clearly stated back in 2005, that China would lead the way in economic growth and eventually overtake the US in many areas. China now boasts the World’s Largest Middle Class, and it is growing much faster than our Middle-Class.
According to Credit Suisse109 million, Chinese have savings network that ranges from $50,000 to $500,000. The momentum gained traction in 2000; since that time, China’s Middle Class has grown at twice the U. S rate. To avoid changes such as unemployment, Credit Suisse, measured wealth rather than income. Hence, these numbers are quite shocking when you consider that the average worker in the U. S does not even have $5,000 in savings. Makes you wonder which country is 3rd world and which one is 1st world.
China accounts for a fifth of the World Population but accounts for 10% of the Global Wealth. In the years to come the pace will continue to increase, eventually propelling China to the number one place.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 28 March 2016.

One Third Of Q1 Economic Growth Was Just “Revised” Away

On Friday, the US government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis had some good and some not so good news: the good news was that the final estimate of Q4 GDP was revised higher from 1.0% to 1.4% (driven by an odd rebound in spending on Transportation and Recreational services). The bad news was that pre-tax earnings tumbled 7.8%, the most since the first quarter of 2011, after a 1.6 percent decrease in the previous three months, suggesting that with corporate profitability crashing, it is only the “strong” US consumer that is keeping the US economy afloat.
Unfortunately moments ago we got a revised glimpse of the true state of the US consumer, and it was anything but strong.
As we reported moments ago, while the February personal consumption expenditures (aka personal spending) – that all important data about the well-being of the US consumer – was in line with expectations rising 0.1%, it was the January revision that was striking. From a 0.5% increase reported a month ago, it was now revised to a paltry 0.1%. In nominal dollar terms, this means that instead of US consumer spending a whopping $67.5 billion more in January, the increase was a paltry $14.7 billion, a delta of $52.8 billion!

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/28/2016.

Meet Donald Trump’s Money Men: Big Wall Street Banks in the Shadows

As with the current occupant of the White House, the narrative of fierce independence from Wall Street during the campaign season typically fails under deeper scrutiny. In 2008 wepulled back the curtain on Obama’s claim that he wasn’t taking money from Wall Street lobbyists and found quite a different set of facts. Today, the claim that Donald Trump is not connected to Wall Street and is actually frightening the mega banks is also totally dislodged from the facts on the ground.
Five days ago, the Washington Post ran an article that was headlined ‘Why the rise of Donald Trump has even Wall Street worried.’ It quoted an anonymous source who stated that ‘I can’t find connective tissue between the financial sector and Trump.’
Similarly, eight days ago the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump’s creditors ‘mostly are small firms, from New Jersey-based Amboy Bank to specialized real-estate firm Ladder Capital Finance LLC.’ The article noted that Deutsche Bank, a German bank, ‘is the only bank with a big Wall Street presence that continues to lend to him.’
On July 15 of last year, Donald Trump filed a 92-page financial disclosure report with the Federal Election Commission. (He has thus far refused to disclose his IRS tax returns, stating that he is being audited.) On page 47 of his disclosure document, Trumps lists to whom his businesses owe money. Ladder Capital is listed as holding a mortgage of more than $50 million. With no dollar range shown, as is typical, it could be $50 million or $250 million for all we know. Ladder Capital is also listed as holding an additional mortgage on another property in the range of $5 million to $25 million.
The opportunity to find out what Ladder Capital is all about came on February 6, 2014 when the company began trading publicly on the New York Stock Exchange after raising $225 million in an Initial Public Offering (IPO). An IPO requires the public filing of a detailed prospectus with the SEC, which can shed a great deal of light into otherwise dark corners.

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade By Pam Martens and Russ Marte.

California Says To Hell With Economics, Will Hike Minimum Wage To $15/Hour

Over the past 12 months, America has had front row seats for a real-life experiment with across-the-board wage hikes.
In January of last year, a grinning Doug McMillon appeared in a video message posted to Wal-Mart’s website to announce that the world’s biggest retailer was set to implement one of the ‘largest single-day, private-sector pay increases ever.’
Now first of all, McMillon and the rest of the executive suite probably should have reread the statement in quotes above and asked themselves whether that sounded like something that was likely to turn out well. Wal-Mart employs a whole lot of people, and giving everyone a raise is the kind of thing that can end up having unintended consequences – especially when your business runs on the thinnest of margins.
But Wal-Mart pressed ahead anyway and almost immediately, things started to unravel. First, Bentonville moved to squeeze suppliers by forcing them to plow their excess cash into savings rather than in-store advertising. Next came storage fees and eventually, Wal-Mart even tried to compel vendors to pass along any savings they might have recognized from the yuan devaluation.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/28/2016.

SWOT Analysis: By 2020 Germany Wants Half Its Gold Reserves Back

Strengths
The best performing precious metal for the week was platinum, however still down -2.35 percent. Price action was driven by increased auto demand in the European Union, reports Market Realist, which rose 14 percent in February. Platinum and palladium is used in the production of catalytic converters. Germany announced this week that it wants half of its gold reserves back by the year 2020, reports Bloomberg. Bundesbank, the country’s central bank (which has gold in London and New York), has repatriated 1,400 metric tons, or 41.5 percent, of Germany’s gold reserves to Frankfurt. Even though gold prices haven’t done much this month, investors are still pouring cash into gold exchange-traded funds, reports Bloomberg. Gold ETF assets continue to increase, with holdings currently near a two-year high. Weaknesses
The worst performing precious metal for the week was silver, down -3.96 percent. The precious metal plunged on Wednesday, and remains low today, mainly driven by a stronger U. S. dollar. The U. S. dollar gained this week against all major peers, causing gold traders and analysts to turn bearish for the third time in four weeks, according to Bloomberg. The dollar was boosted on prospects for higher U. S. interest rates, in turn cutting the precious metal’s appeal as an alternative investment. This week gold headed for its biggest weekly slump since November.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 28 March 2016.