Scorpion Stings Passenger On United Flight

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for United Airlines, this happens.
According to Travel and Leisure, Richard and Linda Bell were on a United Airlines flight home from Houston to Calgary on Sunday, after spending two weeks on vacation in Mexico. And while they were not violently deplaned out of yet another overbooked airplane, a just as traumatic ordeal took place when a scorpion fell from the overhead compartment and on to Richard.
They didn’t immediately recognize the honey-colored, 1.5-inch animal until a passenger sitting next to them pointed out that it was probably a scorpion.
That’s when things got even more confusing: according to T&L instead of promptly discarding the toxic animal, Richard took the scorpion from his hair and dropped it onto his tray. Then, predictably when he picked it up again, the animal stung him. Bell told Global News Canada that it ‘felt like a wasp sting.’ Luckily, someone showed some common sense when another passenger took the scorpion, stomped it on the ground and then threw the remains in the toilet.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 13, 2017.

Here’s Italy’s Latest Plan B Where Desperation Meets Insanity

Selling securities backed by defaulted loans to NIRP refugees.
Nerves are beginning to fray in Italy’s banking sector, as pressure rises on the worst hit banks to remove the most noxious elements off their books – most likely at big discounts that will further impair their balance sheets. On Saturday Italy’s finance minister, Pier Carlo Padoan, begged the ECB for more time for the banks to clean up their act.
‘We cannot demand that suddenly banks offload their NPLs, because this could be potentially destabilizing, especially if the problem involves several banks in the same banking system,’ Padoan told a news conference.
By ‘several banks,’ Padoan means perhaps the 114 banks, of the close to 500 banks in Italy, that have ‘Texas Ratios’ of over 100%. The Texas Ratio, or TR, is calculated by dividing the total value of a bank’s non-performing loans by its tangible book value plus reserves – or as money manager Steve Eisman put it, ‘all the bad stuff divided by the money you have to pay for all the bad stuff.’

This post was published at Wolf Street by Don Quijones – Apr 13, 2017.

BofA Finds Surging Consumer Confidence Does Not Result In Higher Spending

While markets are closed tomorrow for Good Friday, the Census Bureau will release both CPI and Retail Sales data at their regularly scheduled times. And since it will be impossible to trade these numbers as they are released, here is a courtesy advance look from Bank of America which as usual has released its internal debt and credit card data in advance of the government report. What it found is that while there has been a slight improvement to the surprisingly poor data from recent months, it is nowhere near what one would expect based on near record consumer confidence surveys.
As BofA’s Michelle Meyer writes, according to the BAC internal card data, consumer spending improved in March relative to the weak pace in February. The bank’s estimate of retail sales ex-autos, derived from the aggregated credit and debit card data, increased at a 0.4% mom seasonally adjusted pace in March – the highest print in nearly a year – even as gasoline prices declined on a seasonally adjusted basis in March. While Meyer notes that this points to “healthy growth in core control retail sales released by the Census Bureau on Friday”, she cautions that “the gain may not be quite as strong given that the BAC data had been trending below the Census and was therefore due for a bounce higher.”
Furthermore, the monthly pattern has been particularly noisy of late – sales fell sharply in December (-0.9%), rebounded in January (1.6%) but slipped lower in February (-0.1%). There gave been a number of ‘special factors’ which influenced retail sales, including the timing of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and the delay in tax refunds which likely delayed spending from February to March. Therefore
it is prudent to smooth through the wiggles – on a three-month moving basis, retail sales ex-autos are up 0.6% mom, while retail sales ex-autos are up 4.5%

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 13, 2017.

The Illusion Of Liquidity

I thought the following quote from Janet Yellen’s Q&A at the University Of Michigan this week was interesting regarding the lessons I thought were learned from the financial crisis.
‘First, we supervise banking organizations and some other financial enterprises to make sure that they operate in a safe and sound fashion. Second, we monitor potential threats to financial stability. We certainly don’t want to have another financial crisis and we want to redress threats in the environment that could lead to one. We had a system in which banking organizations were not monitoring and controlling risk appropriately. They had too much capital and were overleveraged.’
Silly me.
While talk is cheap, the reality is the Federal Reserve fostered another surge in leverage by promoting and maintaining ‘accommodative’ policies for far too long. The chart below is the aggregate of corporate, consumer, margin and banking debt in billions. I have excluded governmental debt so we can focus on the leverage in the economy. I have added GDP for comparative purposes.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 13, 2017.

Stocks and Precious Metals Charts – Risk Off – Maundy Thursday

“Jesus stood up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel round his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped round him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’
Jesus replied, ‘You do not realise now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’
‘No,’ said Peter, ‘you shall never wash my feet.’
Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.’
‘Then, Lord,’ Simon Peter replied, ‘not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!’
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ he asked them. ‘You call me Teacher and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
A new commandment I give you: that you love one another, as I have loved you. By this all will know that you are mine – if you have love for one another.’’
John 13
“What we would like to do is change the world – make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe and shelter themselves as God intended them to do. And to a certain extent, by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, of the poor, of the destitute – the rights of the worthy and the unworthy poor in other words, we can to a certain extent change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever widening circle will reach around the world.”
Dorothy Day, June 1946
Today was a ‘risk off’ day in the markets.

This post was published at Jesses Crossroads Cafe on 13 APRIL 2017.

US May Launch Preemptive Strike On North Korea Ahead Of Nuclear Test

I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea. If they are unable to do so, the U. S., with its allies, will! U. S. A.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 13, 2017

With just two days to go until North Korea’s “Day of the Sun” celebrations, when as reported yesterday it may conduct its 6th nuclear test at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, NBC reports citing multiple senior U. S. intelligence officials that in the latest stepwise escalation, the U. S. is prepared to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea should officials become convinced that Kim Jong-Un’s nation North Korea is about to follow through with a nuclear weapons test. Note: North Korea does not even have to carry out the text: mere conviction on the side of the US that it would, is sufficient.
As first reported yesterday, North Korea warned that a “big event” is near, and U. S. officials say signs point to a nuclear test that could come as early as this weekend. According to multiple sources, the U. S. intelligence community has reported with “moderate confidence” that North Korea is preparing for its sixth underground nuclear test, though the U. S. is also in the dark regarding the specific timing.
The launch of a preemptive attack would naturally threatens a counterattack by Kim: the U. S. is thus “worried” that its strikes could provoke the volatile and unpredictable North Korean regime to launch its own blistering attack on its southern neighbor. “The leadership in North Korea has shown absolutely no sign or interest in diplomacy or dialogue with any of the countries involved in this issue,” said Victor Cha, the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 13, 2017.

The Dow Falls Another 138 Points As Geopolitical Shaking Forces Investors To Race For The Exits

Stock prices just keep on falling, and many analysts are now wondering if a full-blown stock market crash is in our near future. On Thursday, the S&P 500 and the Dow both closed at 2 month lows after Donald Trump dropped ‘the mother of all bombs’ in Afghanistan. It was the first time that one of these bombs has ever been used in live combat, and it is being reported that each of these bombs weighs 22,000 pounds and costs 16 million dollars to make. Of course Trump was trying to send a very clear message to the rest of the world by dropping this bomb, and investors interpreted it as a sign that we are getting even closer to war. The financial markets will be closed on Friday for the long holiday weekend, and with so much uncertainty about what may happen in Syria and in North Korea, many investors wanted to get their money out of the market while they still could. The historic losing streak for S&P 500 tech stocks extended to 10 days in a row on Thursday, and all of the major stock indexes are now below their 50 day moving averages for the first time since the election.
And the VIX closed above 16 to close the week, which many analysts saw as a sign that more market volatility is on the way…

This post was published at The Economic Collapse Blog on April 13th, 2017.


Gold: $1285.90 UP $10.60
Silver: $18.49 UP 21 cents
Closing access prices:
Gold $1287.80
silver: $18.53!!!
Premium of Shanghai 2nd fix/NY:$10.62
LONDON FIRST GOLD FIX: 5:30 am est 1286.10
For comex gold:
For silver:
For silver: APRIL
Total number of notices filed so far this month: 744 for 3,720,000 oz

This post was published at Harvey Organ Blog on April 13, 2017.

Pulling Levers to Steer the Machine

Ticks on a Dog
A brief comment on Fed chief Janet Yellen’s revealing speech at the University of Michigan. Bloomberg:
‘Before, we had to press down on the gas pedal trying to give the economy all of the oomph that we possibly could,’ Yellen said Monday in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Fed is now trying to ‘give it some gas, but not so much that we’re pushing down hard on the accelerator.’ […] ‘The appropriate stance of policy now is closer to, let me call it neutral,’ Yellen said in response to questions during an event at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Yellen said she expected the economy to continue to grow at a moderate pace and that gradual interest rate increases ‘can get us where we need to be.’
Every society is ruled by an elite. They prey upon the common folks like ticks on a dog. They work their way into positions of power and influence, using a combination of brains, connections, and claptrap.
The mob generally looks up to them, impressed by the hocus pocus. And then, eventually, the ticks grow too many and too fat. The poor dog weakens… and the magic fails.

This post was published at Acting-Man on April 13, 2017.

Gold and Silver Market Morning: April 13 2017 – Gold breaks up to new higher resistance just below $1,300!

Gold Today – New York closed at $1,281.50 yesterday after closing at$1,272.60 Tuesday. London opened at $1,286.30 today.
Overall the dollar was weaker against global currencies early today. Before London’s opening:
– The $: was weaker at $1.0646 after yesterday’s $1.0621: 1.
– The Dollar index was weaker at 100.24 after yesterday’s 100.61.
– The Yen was stronger at 108.99 after yesterday’s 109.70:$1.
– The Yuan was stronger at 6.8847 after yesterday’s 6.8943: $1.
– The Pound Sterling was stronger at $1.2559 after yesterday’s $1.2497: 1.
Yuan Gold Fix
The Shanghai Gold Exchange was trading at 286.50 towards the close today. This translates into $1,289.34. New York was trading $7.84 below Shanghai. London opened at a $3.04 discount to Shanghai.
Shanghai has led the way in the last two days with both London and New York rising to catch up with Shanghai. The three markets are in synch now with arbitrageurs smoothing out the difference between the three.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 13 April 2017.

Is the US Workforce Nearing Full Recovery?

We’ve updated our monthly workforce analysis to include last week’s Employment Report for March. The unemployment rate ticked down from 4.7% to 4.5%, and the number of new nonfarm jobs (a relatively volatile number subject to extensive revisions) disappointed forecasts at 98K.
The Unemployment Rate
The closely watched headline unemployment rate is a calculation of the percentage of the Civilian Labor Force, age 16 and older, that is currently unemployed. Let’s put this metric into its historical context. The first chart below illustrates this monthly data point since 1990.
In the latest report, this indicator dipped to 4.5%. The age 16 population increased by 168 thousand, and the labor force (the employed and unemployed actively seeking employment) rose by 145 thousand. The number of employed jumped by 472 thousand while the ranks of the unemployed fell by 326 thousand. In other words, the growth in the labor force was mostly attributable to unemployment contraction and a jump in the number employed.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 04/12/2017.

After The Crash, Part 1: Solar Stocks

The frustration out there is palpable. Skim the comments sections of popular financial sites like Zero Hedge or Seeking Alpha and you’ll see gloom-and-doomy articles drawing responses like ‘You’ve been saying the same %^#&*! thing for years…he’s a broken clock…this is just scare mongering.’ And those are the polite responses.
Which means two things. First, we’ve entered the final act of a familiar play in which a bubble lasts far longer than it should, leading to ‘prediction fatigue’ for analysts and increasingly vocal impatience within the analysts’ audience. The discord usually peaks just as the bubble is about to burst.
Second, there’s little point in repeating the same warnings to an audience that’s heard it all before and trusts it less each time.
So let’s look beyond the approaching darkness and start planning for after the (inevitable if not imminent) implosion of the fiat currency/fractional reserve banking system. In other words, what should we expect to buy with our hyper-appreciated gold and silver when financial assets like stocks and bonds have fallen to pennies on today’s dollar?
One answer is that several emerging disruptive technologies will – at the bottom when few are paying attention – beget a flock of next-generation Googles and Apples. By learning about them now we’ll be in a position to judge them accurately and buy them wisely when the time comes.

This post was published at DollarCollapse on APRIL 13, 2017.

Albert Edwards Is Puzzled: “Where Is The Wage Inflation?”

Just like Bill Gross’ monthly note earlier, Albert Edwards’ latest piece is an exercise in stream of consciousness in two parts. In the first one, Edwards focuses on his, and our, favorite topic – bashing the “hubris” of central bankers, which he believes may be one of the indicators for “forthcoming economic collapse.” This is how he puts it:
Commentators are always on the lookout for quirky indicators that suggest trouble might lie ahead. For a country, one good indicator of a forthcoming economic collapse has always been the Skyscraper Indicator. For an individual, appearing on the front cover of Time Magazine is seen as the kiss of death for one’s career. Being called ‘maestro’ didn’t do much for Alan Greenspan’s career! Alternatively analysts keep an eye on the size and glossiness of company annual reports as a sign of hubris. Also check out what baubles companies put in their entrance atriums (at my previous shop the management thought it a good idea to have a Formula 1 racing car in the hallway). Now we have central bankers patting themselves on the back for having done a jolly good job. That surely is the most worrying, hubristic signal of all.
How?s this for Grade 1 central bank hubris; Peter Praet, the ECB?s chief economist said in a recent interview that, ?Since the crisis we have had serious concerns about deflationary risks on several occasions in the euro area, but now we can say they have disappeared.?

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 13, 2017.

Making America Confused Again

President Donald Trump is making America confused again. Within one week, Trump has spun complete 180s on policies that were central to his campaign. CNN dubbed it ‘extraordinary political shape-shifting.’ It appears America may be entering an unprecedented era of regime uncertainty. That doesn’t bode well for the economy, but it could be a boon for gold and other safe-haven assets.
First, Trump launched cruise missiles at Syrian government targets and hinted at a policy of regime change. Just days earlier, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Assad’s fate ‘will be decided by the Syrian people.’ But in the wake of a chemical attack allegedly launched by the Syrian government, Tillerson said ‘steps are under way’ to organize an international coalition with the goal of ousting the Syrian leader.
The flip-flopping continued in earnest yesterday.
After calling NATO obsolete on the campaign trail, the president has now decided ‘it’s no longer obsolete.’ Then there’s the Fed and monetary policy. During the campaign, he accused Janet Yellen of holding interest rates too low and creating a ‘false market’ to benefit Pres. Obama. Now Trump likes Yellen. He said he may reappoint her. He also said, ‘I do like a low interest rate policy, I must be honest with you.’

This post was published at Schiffgold on APRIL 13, 2017.

When The Donald Talks! Trump Says US Dollar Too Strong (As 10Y Treasury Yield Slumps)

Like the old EF Hutton ads, when The Donald speaks, currency and bond traders listen.
(Bloomberg) President Donald Trump said he won’t brand China a currency manipulator, retreating from core campaign promise, though he argued that a strong dollar is hampering the ability of American firms to compete.
Trump, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, appeared to acknowledged that China hasn’t been intervening to weaken its currency recently. ‘They’re not currency manipulators,’ he said.
It’s a shift of opinion after Trump accused China during last year’s election campaign of manipulating its currency to gain the upper hand in trade and vowed to label the country a manipulator on his first day.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner on April 12, 2017.

China and Russia Cozying Up Around Gold

Russia and China have gotten much cozier over the last several months, and the two countries are reportedly working to develop a joint organization of trade in gold. This could have a significant impact on both the dollar and the price of gold.
The Chinese began laying the foundation two years ago.

In June 2015, the Chinese central bank announced its gold holdings had grown by 57% to about 1,658 tons. It was the first official update to China’s gold reserves since 2009. Since then, the Chinese have aggressively added to their holdings and taken other steps to increase their influence on the world’s economic stage.
That same year, a Chinese bank joined the twice-daily gold price fixing process run by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) for the first time. In May of last year, China’s largest bank purchased a huge London gold vault, further expanding its influence in the world gold market. Perhaps most significantly, China announced its largest gold investment fund ever in 2015. At the time, MarketWatch reported on the ramifications of the ‘Silk Road Gold Fund.’

This post was published at Schiffgold on APRIL 13, 2017.

Danielle DiMartino Booth: Inside the Fed

The following video was published by misesmedia on Apr 13, 2017
Danielle DiMartino Booth is a former Dallas Fed staffer and author of the new book ‘Fed Up: An Insider’s Take on Why the Federal Reserve is Bad for America’. She joins Jeff Deist to talk about her years watching Ivy League PhDs make gross and fundamental errors in an almost comically cloistered environment.
Have Fed economists even read Mises and Hayek? Do they recognize malinvestment as a byproduct of interest-rate setting? Do they know anything about their own institutional history, or at least enough to recognize how mission creep has turned the Fed into a central planning Politburo? And how will Janet Yellen deal with the inherent tension between raising interest rates and keeping the cost of US debt service in check?

Gross: “All Asset Prices Are Elevated To Artificial Levels”

Bill Gross’ latest monthly outlook is divided into two sections: in the first, the world’s former bond king provides a revealing glimpse into his mind courtesy of six brainteasers (with answers to questions such as “If forced to choose between killing your favorite pet or an anonymous human being, what would you do?”); in the second he goes back to his favorite topic: slamming the Trump growth narrative Can the Trump Agenda recreate 3% growth?
The answer: he cites an IMF study which suggests that “unless there is an unforeseen technological breakthrough, productivity growth is unlikely to return to the higher rates of the 1990’s for advanced economics or the early 2000’s for emerging economics. In other words, their warning speaks to a global productivity slowdown, not just a U. S. based phenomena. They warn that increasing tariffs and developing restrictions on immigration will only exacerbate the slowdown. Global growth, and of course U. S. growth, will be lower than average, they forecast.”
Which then leads to the following, not unexpected conclusion about assets prices:
Equity markets are priced for too much hope, high yield bond markets for too much growth, and all asset prices elevated to artificial levels that only a model driven, historically biased investor would believe could lead to returns resembling the past six years, or the decades predating Lehman. High rates of growth, and the productivity that drives it, are likely distant memories from a bygone era.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Apr 13, 2017.