Bay Area Economic Outlook Buckles under Strains

Nearly half the millennials ‘likely’ to leave.
Confidence in the economy of the Bay Area has plunged, according to the annual Bay Area Council Poll of voters in the nine-county area.
The respondents would be considered privileged based on their income in most parts of the country: 54% made over $75,000 a year; 26% made over $150,000; another 17% refused to give income data. Only 18% made less than $50,000. And 3% were unemployed.
But in the Bay Area, they’re fairly typical, struggling with the three top issues: costs of living, housing, and infernal traffic. And they’re getting ‘dour’ about the economy and antsy about bailing out.
Even though the Bay Area economy has been booming for years, the people are seeing a chilling reality. Looking back, only 31% said the economy was doing ‘somewhat’ or ‘much better’ than six months ago, down from 53% in 2014:

This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ Apr 4, 2017.

Debt Endgame And Gold Bull Era

The spectacular price action of gold within what I’ve dubbed the ‘Uptrend of Champions’ continues to be impressive. I’ve suggested that the rally is poised to accelerate, and that’s clearly in play. Please click here now. Double-click to enlarge. Gold is poised to surge through the minor $1270 area highs and race to my $1315 target. All lights are green for gold, and for silver the lights are even greener. Please click here now. Double-click to enlarge. I think the caption on that chart says all that any silver investor needs to know right now. There’s a beautiful symmetrical triangle pattern in play. While the bears are probably sleeping this morning, silver is attempting an upside breakout! I would ask the entire Western precious metals community to think hard about how positive most institutional analysts are about gold right now. There’s a reason for their confidence, and for their very positive liquidity flows into the precious metals sector: Fundamentally, gold is being powered higher by excellent demand in India (the world’s biggest wedding season is in play), institutional investor concerns about the US debt ceiling (the next deadline is April 28), strong growth in China, and by the populism wave that is sweeping through most of the Western world. That wave of populism is lead by the charismatic leader of America, Donald ‘The Golden Trumpster’ Trump. The Golden Trumpster has differentiated himself from other politicians by attempting to do things he said he would do…after being elected.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 4 April 2017.

“No One Knows How This Is Going To Work” Trader Warns

“Somebody had better give this all a lot more thought before starting to put potential time parameters on when we might be setting off on this treacherous trek.”
The journey that Bloomberg’s Richard Breslow is referring to is ending the reinvestment of maturing securities held on the Federal Reserve’s bloated balance sheet.
All of a sudden, we’re not hearing it’s a noble goal, deserves study and should start after considerable progress has been made in raising the Fed Funds level toward the neutral rate — the argument upon which the Fed’s dot plots are supposedly based. We’ve just had three Fed speakers, including NY President Bill Dudley, mention the latter part of this year as potentially appropriate. This is a big change and a very big deal.
With all due respect to everyone with an opinion on this subject, no one knows how this is going to work in practice, let alone what it will do to markets.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 4, 2017.

Being a Good Financial Steward: A Lesson from the Parable of Talents

Like the tale of the Good Samaritan or the Unfruitful Fig Tree, the Parable of Talents is one Christ’s teachings to his disciples to instruct them of God’s will for Man’s life. Traditional Christian interpretation of the ‘Parable of Talents’ sees it as a didactic and cautionary tale told by Christ to his disciples illustrating the importance of taking risks for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Christ warns his followers to use their personal gifts or ‘talents’ to further God’s work. Failure to do so appropriately would result in severe judgment.

Others interpret the tale as illustrating good investment advice. As such, the ‘Parable of Talents’ is still applicable today with respect to being a good financial steward of your wealth. Even though many biblical scholars interpret the parable as being applicable to both money and human talent, this article will focus exclusively on the stewardship of money.
The Story
While I’ve included the actual verses from Mathew Chapter 25 in my analysis below, I’ve also included a synopsis:
A master leaves his house to travel abroad for an extended period of time. Just before leaving, he gives his three servants different amounts of precious metals (i.e. money) or ‘talents’ to oversee. He gives each servant according to his ability: one servant receives five talents, the second receives two, and the third receives only one talent, for a total of eight talents.
After returning, the master then asks each servant for an account of their stewardship of his property. The first and second servants report they put their talents to work, doubling the value of the master’s property. However, the third servant reports he buried the metal to keep it safe. The master admonishes the servant, calling him ‘wicked and slothful’, and explaining that he should have put the money in the bank where it would have drawn interest. In short, the third servant was a bad steward of his master’s property.

This post was published at Schiffgold on APRIL 4, 2017.

Brazil Reports 14.6% Jump In February Oil Output, Exports Almost Double

Brazilian oil output in February was 14.6 percent higher year-over-year, according to the latest data released by ANP, the South American country’s petroleum regulator.
February production touched 2.676 million barrels per day, an ANP statement said, adding that natural gas output also rose 9.2 percent compared to the same month last year.
Figures released earlier in March from the nation’s Trade Ministry said that oil exports had jumped 94 percent year-over-year in February at 45.7 million barrels – a figure that topped the January 2017 record by 12 percent.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 4, 2017.

Companies Have Begun Implanting Microchips In Workers

Craving more of a science fiction-style existence? Perhaps you should seek a job with one of the companies at Epicenter, an employment hub in Sweden.
The Associated Press reported Monday that companies there have begun implanting microchips in their employees, marking the first time the practice has been used on a broad scale.
‘What could pass for a dystopian vision of the workplace is almost routine at the Swedish start-up hub Epicenter,’ AP reports. ‘
The company offers to implant its workers and start-up members with microchips the size of grains of rice that function as swipe cards: to open doors, operate printers or buy smoothies with a wave of the hand.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 4, 2017.

APRIL 4/WE NOW HAVE THE MECHANISM USED BY THE CROOKS WHEN THEY CASH SETTLE AND THEN ROLL TO A FUTURE MONTH: IT IS AN OBSCURE OFF COMEX CONTRACT WHICH ALLOWS THEY TO ROLL AS WELL AS GETTING A FIAT…

Gold: $1255.00 UP $4.20
Silver: $18.30 UP 11 cents
Closing access prices:
Gold $1256.60
silver: $18.32!!!
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: FIRST FIX 10 15 PM EST (2:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)
SECOND FIX: 2:15 AM EST (6:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)
SHANGHAI FIRST GOLD FIX: holiday DOLLARS PER OZ
NY PRICE OF GOLD AT EXACT SAME TIME: xxxxx
PREMIUM FIRST FIX: $xxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
SECOND SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: holiday
NY GOLD PRICE AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: xxx
Premium of Shanghai 2nd fix/NY:$xxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
LONDON FIRST GOLD FIX: 5:30 am est 1258.65
NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: 1258.65
LONDON SECOND GOLD FIX 10 AM: 1257.65
NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME. 1257.70
For comex gold:
APRIL/
NOTICES FILINGS TODAY FOR APRIL CONTRACT MONTH: 134 NOTICE(S) FOR 13400 OZ. TOTAL NOTICES SO FAR: 355 FOR 35,500 OZ (1.104 TONNES)
For silver:
For silver: APRIL
62 NOTICES FILED TODAY FOR 310,000 OZ/
Total number of notices filed so far this month: 333 for 1,665,000 oz
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF NEW YORK EARMARKED GOLD MOVEMENT:
The FRBNY just released its March report on Gold movement at the FRBNY:
In February’s report: 7841 billion dollars worth of gold was in inventory valued at $42.22 per oz
In the March report: 78.41 billion dollars worth of gold was in inventory valued at $42.22 per oz
No of gold oz moved: zero

This post was published at Harvey Organ Blog on April 4, 2017.

Jamie Dimon Warns “Something Is Wrong” With The US

While Jamie Dimon tried to maintain his traditionally optimistic outlook in his annual letter to shareholders, there was a distinct undertone of pessimism in the latest 45 page letter released earlier today, in which he writes that while the U. S. is “truly an exceptional country,” probably stronger than ever before, he cautions that “something is wrong – and it’s holding us back.”
Here are the highlights from the gloomy passage reposted below in its entirety.
Dimon’s letter notes that the economy has been growing much more slowly in last decade or two than in the 50 years before then, with real median household incomes in 2015 2.5% lower than they were in 1999 and the percentage of middle class households shrinking, yet not even someone as intelligent as Dimon can bring himself to fully admit that much if not all of it has to do with America’s relentless debt binge, and the gargantuan debt load accumulated and carried by Americans, whether in the form of personal, student, auto debt, be it corporate debt which is at a record high, or, naturally, the sovereign debt which is on the distrubing side of 100% as a percentage of GDP.
Among other things, Dimon observes:
Over last 16 years, U. S. has spent trillions on wars when it could have been investing that money productively. Since 2010, when the government took over student lending, direct government lending to students has gone from ~$200b to >$900b, creating dramatically increased student defaults, population that’s “rightfully angry” about how much money they owe, particularly since it reduces ability to get other credit.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 4, 2017.

Why the ‘Trump Rally’ Is Nothing But a Bunch of Fake News

Many of us in the US have been swept up by what’s come to be known as the ‘Trump Rally.’ The guise for this massive rise in stock prices over the past few months has been the promise of business-friendly tax reform, deregulation and infrastructure spending, among other ‘shareholder-friendly’ initiatives.
The main theme has been one of ‘America First,’ which has elicited concerns about how far protectionist policies may go, and what the impact to our trading partners will be. Still, others wonder how far asset prices will fall if and when the Trump administration runs into problems implementing their agenda – as we’re starting to see.
But I have a question.
If this Trump rally really is predicated on domestic policy changes that will enhance the US economy (almost assuredly at the cost of our trading partners), then why is the rest of world also enjoying this ‘Trump Rally?’ Shouldn’t they be in ‘Trump Correction?’
Take a look at the chart below to see what I mean. This chart shows ACWI, the ETF that tracks the All Country World Index – an index comprised of equity returns in 23 developed countries and 23 emerging markets.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 04/04/2017.

Manhattan Apartment Prices Tumble In Q1 As Sellers Fret Over Rising Rates

At the end of 4Q 2016, we noted that NYC real estate sales volumes were collapsing as sellers seemed to be having a difficult time accepting the fact that clearing prices had dropped below their exorbitant asking prices…here was our conclusion then (see “More Bad News For NYC Real Estate As Luxury Co-Op Contracts Collapse 25%“):
“The lesson seems to be that the marginal New York City buyer has been priced out of the market while sellers have not yet accepted that the bubble has burst deciding instead to maintain listing prices while letting their apartments sit on the market longer amid growing inventory levels…that should work out well…”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 4, 2017.

Retail Slaughter Continues: Ralph Lauren To Cut Jobs and Close Flagship NYC Store

The retail slaughter continues. Now its Ralph Lauren’s turn after Sears, JC Penney, and other retailers have announced store closings.
NEW YORK – April 4, 2017 – Ralph Lauren Corporation (NYSE: RL) today announced several key actions as part of the continued execution of its Way Forward Plan to return the company to sustainable, profitable growth and continue to move its business and iconic brand forward.
First, the Company will move to a more cost-effective, flexible e-commerce platform through a new collaboration with Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud (formerly Demandware). The new solution is expected to deliver a more consistent customer experience across the global digital ecosystem, with an advantaged total operating cost.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on April 4, 2017.

The Elite Admit That Something Is Wrong With The Economy, But It’s Not Their Fault – Episode 1246a

The following video was published by X22Report on Apr 4, 2017
Trump keeps promise and donates salary to National Park Service. Ralph Lauren closing store in NY. 2017 Retail bankruptcies are surging this year. The next subprime crisis is here and the corporate media doesn’t want to talk about it. Manhattan apartment prices are tumbling, over a million people left NYC since 2010. US factory order surged, not so fast most of this was based on the military. Richmond Fed Lacker was booted from the Fed because he was leaking information. Jamie Diamond says there is something wrong with the economy, but we just can’t put our finger on it

Spain’s Most Italian Bank Still ‘Solvent,’ Claims Finance Minister

It just doesn’t let up with this bank.
The future continues to look bleak for Spain’s most Italian bank, Banco Popular, which ironically once bore the slogan ‘Our Past and Our Present Guarantee Our Future.’ Things have gotten so bad that when the country’s Minister of Finance Luis de Guindos was asked by a reporter today about the bank’s state of health, he responded: ‘the bank is solvent.’ Which is kind of like a doctor saying, ‘the patient is alive.’ Not exactly reassuring.
Popular just had its worst day of 2017 after seeing its penny stock tumble over 10%, from 0.90 to 0.82. This is a bank that was once ranked among the world’s most profitable by ratings company IBCA and which not so long ago boasted a share price of over 15. That was before its management decided to bet the farm on risky real estate investments at the height of an insane property bubble and then took too long to clean up afterward.
Even now, nine years after the the bubble’s crash, roughly a quarter of Popular’s total loan portfolio is still concentrated in the real estate and construction sectors. In November last year. it had over 30 billion worth of bad loans and non-performing assets on its books, which it continues to struggle to offload without incurring fatal losses. It was also the country’s worst performing bank in the ECB’s last stress test.

This post was published at Wolf Street on Apr 4, 2017.

Ralph Lauren To Close Flagship Fifth Avenue Store; Cut Jobs

The ongoing retail massacre claimed its latest victim this morning when iconic luxury retailer Ralph Lauren said it would shut its flagship Polo store on Fifth Avenue in New York City, among other office and store locations, and cut jobs as part of a cost-cutting plan. The company also said on Tuesday that it would integrate its products from the Fifth Avenue store into the Ralph Lauren men’s and women’s flagship stores on Madison Avenue and its downtown locations.
From the press release:
As part of Ralph Lauren’s continued commitment to optimizing its store footprint, the Company will close its dedicated Polo store at 711 Fifth Avenue and integrate its product into the Ralph Lauren Men’s and Women’s flagship stores on Madison Avenue and its downtown locations. The Company will continue to operate its seven additional store locations and its flagship Polo Bar Restaurant in New York City.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 4, 2017.

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts – Lack Hawk Down

The Richmond Fed’s noted rate hawk and serial dissenter Jeffrey Lacker resigned today as a result of an investigation into a leak in 2012 of confidential information to an analyst that sells hard to get information to wealthy subscribers.
The guest commentators, talking heads, and spokesmodels were attributing this resignation, or faux pas if you will, to an inadvertent slip by one of their own who is burdened with managing the finances of the US.
They kept mentioning that they do not wish this incident to diminish the public’s confidence in the FED. I guess fomenting serial asset bubbles and enabling historic financial inequality through hare-brained policies is not enough. LOL
Stocks finished largely unchanged.

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 04 APRIL 2017.

Are We in the Final Wave of the Bull Market?

The bull market looks set to continue, but where are we in the business cycle, and what can we expect going forward?
This time on FS Insider, we spoke with Urban Carmel, lead writer at The Fat Pitch about his take on where we are according to Elliott Wave Theory and what he sees as the final leg of the bull market.
Final Stages of the Bull
Elliott Wave tells us that markets trade in a five-wave pattern consisting of three expansions and two contractions. We bottomed in 2009 and may now be in the final advance, which began February 2016.
There are three tell-tale signs to know if we are at that stage: macro data peaks and begins to decline, corporate profitability starts to deteriorate, and investor sentiment shows signs of euphoria.
During this phase, most investors go all in, Carmel stated.
‘When all those things come together, we typically see the end of the advance, and we get a more significant retrenchment,’ he said.
This is not an exact science, he noted, but rather is more of a rubric for thinking about the market.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 04/03/2017.

Watch Live: Donald Trump Hosts Town Hall With Business Leaders

On Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump is hosting a town hall meeting at the White House Tuesday to discuss the “American Business Climate”, where dozens of high-profile CEOs will discuss a verity of business-related topics. The one hour and 45 minute-long meeting is an “opportunity to discuss policies to create a pro-business climate with top Partnership CEOs from all industries,” White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters told Reuters.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 4, 2017.

Stock Market Trends; Is the Stock Market Heading for a Crash?

A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
This Bull started off as the most hated bull market in History, and it is now metamorphosing into the most insane of all Bull Markets. By any measure, this Market needs to let out some steam as it is trading in the extreme of the extremely overbought ranges. Historically, the crowd is almost always in the bullish camp at this stage of the game, but that does not appear to be the case. In fact, what stands out is that the masses are as anxious as ever, and yet the markets are trading close to their highs.
When you look at the sentiment data one thing becomes apparent; the masses are uncertain. They do not know whether they should embrace the bullish or bearish camp. Most of the actions seem to be limited to the Neutral camp; in other words, individuals keep moving from the bullish or bearish camps into the Neutral camp. Market Update March 26, 2017
The masses are uncertain, and uncertainty is just a milder form of fear; they do notknow what to expect, so they keep populating the neutral camp. The past five readings below starting from the 17th of March illustrate that the number of individuals in the bullish camp has never traded past the 48% mark; hardly something you would expect at this stage of the game
Sentiment data indicates that the Masses are still nervous
17th of March total number of neutral and bears: 74%
24th of March total number of neutral and bears: 67%

This post was published at GoldSeek on 4 April 2017.