Comey To Testify Next Wednesday At 9:30am

Set your alarms: the public appearance by fired FBI Director James Comey (who “evidently has a new phone #”) that could make or break the presidency, has just been scheduled, and according to Jason Chaffetz, the hearing will take place next Wednesday at 9:30am.
Officially noticed a hearing for next Wed at 9:30am ET with former FBI Dir Comey. But I still need to speak with him…evidently has a new #
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) May 17, 2017

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

“It’s Much Bigger Than WannaCry”: New Stealthy Cyberattack Could Dwarf Last Week’s Global Worm Epidemic

Another large-scale, stealthy cyberattack is underway on a scale that could dwarf last week’s assault on computers worldwide, a global cybersecurity firm told AFP on Wednesday.
Meet Adylkuzz – the new cyberattack that “is much bigger than WannaCry.”
Instead of completely disabling an infected computer by encrypting data and seeking a ransom payment, Adylkuzz uses the machines it infects to “mine” in a background task a virtual currency, Monero, and transfer the money created to the authors of the virus.
Proofpoint said in a blog that symptoms of the attack include loss of access to shared Windows resources and degradation of PC and server performance, effects which some users may not notice immediately.
“As it is silent and doesn’t trouble the user, the Adylkuzz attack is much more profitable for the cyber criminals. It transforms the infected users into unwitting financial supporters of their attackers,” said Godier.

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

Central banks kept conspiring against gold long after it left the financial system

A central bank Gold Pool which many people will be familiar with operated in the gold market between November 1961 and March 1968. That Gold Pool was known as the London Gold Pool.
This article is not about the 1961-1968 London Gold Pool. This article is about collusive central bank discussions relating to an entirely different and more recent central bank Gold Pool arrangement. These discussions about a second Gold Pool began in late 1979, i.e. more than 11 years after the London Gold Pool had been abandoned. This article is Part 1 of a 2 part series. Part 2 will be published shortly.
These discussions about a new Gold Pool arrangement took place in an era of soaring free market gold prices and in the midst of the run-up in the gold price to US$850 in January 1980.
The discussions and meetings about a new Gold Pool in 1979 and 1980 and beyond which are detailed below, occurred at the highest levels in the central banking world and involved the world’s most powerful central bankers, some of whose names will be familiar to readers. The aim of these central bank discussions and meetings was to reach agreement on joint central bank action to subdue and manipulate the free market gold price in the early 1980s. Many of these collusive meetings were private meetings between a handful of Group of 10 (G10) central bank governors, and took place in the actual office of the president of the Bank of International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland.
Above all, these central bank meetings show intent. Intent by a group of powerful central banks to manipulate a free market gold price so as to distort free market gold pricing signals. So these documents are timeless in that regard. The documents also illustrate the concern that a rising gold price in the free market creates for senior central bankers, and importantly, also shows that these same central bankers have no qualms, at least from a legal or moral perspective, of intervening to manipulate a gold price when they see it as a threat to their fiat currency monetary system.

This post was published at GATA

Stock Market Crash?

The correction has begun with the uneasiness of the two political scandals surrounding Trump – Russian meeting and now a Comey memo saying Trump asked him to kill the investigation into Flyn. The first is not really an issue legally, but the second could fuel the quest to impeach Trump which is really led by McCain and Graham behind the curtain in league with Schumer. McCain is already calling this a Watergate demonstrating he is out to get rid of Trump and protect the establishment.
The impeachment of Trump is being talked about behind the curtain as a positive move for then Pence would take up the Presidency and then the tax reforms would become possible. That is an interesting twist on things.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on May 17, 2017.

The Germans Are Coming… And Their Groceries Will Cost Up To 50% Less Than Wal-Mart

Back in February we reported that as America’s deflationary wave spread through the grocery store supply chain, the scramble for America’s bottom dollar was on, and it prompted America’s largest low-cost retailer Wal-Mart to not only cut prices, but to squeeze suppliers in a stealthy war for market share and maximizing profits, a scramble for market share which is oddly reminiscent of the OPEC 2014 price fiasco and is certain to unleash a deflationary shock across wide portions of the US economy.
As Reuters reported at the time, Wal-Mart had been running a “price-comparison” test in at least 1,200 U. S. stores and squeezing packaged goods suppliers in a bid to close a pricing gap with German-based discount grocery chain Aldi and domestic rivals like Kroger. Citing vendor sources, Reuters said that Wal-Mart launched the price test across 11 Midwest and Southeastern states such as Iowa, Illinois and Florida, focusing on price competition in the grocery business that accounts for 56% of the company’s revenue.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on May 18, 2017.

JPMorgan: “A Trump Impeachment Is Very, Very Unlikely”

While it’s not the product of JPM’s political analysts, but instead comes straight from the far more visceral and intuitive trading desk, moments ago JPMorgan, as part of its intraday summary, notes that contrary to some other speculation, most notably by Heights Securities, a “Trump impeachment is very, very unlikely” and adds that “the impeachment bar is very, very high. The daily scandals obviously don’t help Trump’s political capital but market expectations for legislative action are already very low.”
But first, here is JPM’s intraday market on what is shaping up as the worst day for stocks since before the new year.
Market update – there is red across the board in equities. The headline reason is the NYT article from Tues night (the first to reveal the ‘I hope you can let this go’ comment from Trump to Comey) but weeks of benign volatility (which helped sow complacent sentiment) and crowded positioning in certain stocks/sectors is exacerbating the move lower. Trading is more active but not panicked or rushed. The biggest problem for stocks isn’t so much the Trump controversies but instead the big TSY rally – yields down across the board and the 2-10 spread is cracking below the closely-watched 100bp level (this is hitting the banks hard; the 2-10 spread has surrendered all of its post-11/8 widening but the BKX is still well above where it stood pre-election). Wall St expectations for realization of the pro-growth agenda are fading but they had already moderated substantially over the last several months; more important is the trajectory of domestic nominal growth (while there wasn’t any major data out Wed morning some recent numbers, including the CPI, have fallen underwhelmed expectations).

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

Balance Sheet Normalization, Or Not

Politicians, bureaucrats, and media talking heads specialize in saying one thing but meaning something else. In Fed world, something referred to as “balance sheet normalization” would be thought to be a return of balance sheet levels to pre-crisis numbers (roughly $850 billion). But common sense does not prevail. Instead, as it turns, normalization doesn’t mean a return to normal. CNBC:
Interviews with Fed officials, and public statements they’ve made suggest the Fed’s new normalized balance sheet could end up being three times as large as it was before the financial crisis. And it could be bigger than that.
Of course, this was the almost inevitable, given the Fed’s irrational fear of monetary deflation and their unwillingness to do anything that might make Wall Street think the punch bowl of easy money was being whisked away. Not to mention the political motivations of remitting profits back to the Treasury and artificially suppressing the US Government’s cost of borrowing.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on May 17, 2017.

WSJ Urges Trump To Keep His Mouth Shut

The state of the Trump Presidency has been perpetual turbulence, which seems to be how the principal likes it. The latest vortex is over Mr. Trump’s disclosure of sensitive intel to the Russians – and whatever the particulars of the incident, the danger is that Presidencies can withstand only so much turbulence before they come apart.
The Washington Post reported Monday night that in an Oval Office meeting last week Mr. Trump relayed high-level ‘code word’ classified material obtained from an ally to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Cue another Washington meltdown. The President took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to defend himself, claiming an ‘absolute right’ to disclose ‘facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety.’
National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster put a finer point on it at a Tuesday press conference, though without denying key details. He said Mr. Trump’s disclosure was ‘wholly appropriate’ and didn’t expose intelligence sources and methods.

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