45,000 Evacuated After “Almost Simultaneous” Bomb Threats Across Russia

# #pic.twitter.com/wUOPuyHfHW
— (@spektronline) September 13, 2017

Following a series of “almost simultaneous” warnings that shopping centers, railway stations and university buildings in Moscow had been rigged with explosives, authorities ordered the evacuation of more than 10,000 people on Wednesday.
‘Twenty sites are currently being evacuated, and more than 10,000 people have been escorted out, though the specific number is still being confirmed,’ an emergency services source told news agency Tass.
‘This appears to be a case of telephone terrorism, but we have to check the credibility of these messages,’ said the source, who noted that the calls began at the same time, and continued after the evacuations had begun.

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

Tick-Tock, Northern Rock

Ermine for idiots, profits for bankers. And for savers? Risk…
EVEN a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day, writes Adrian Ash at BullionVault.
And 10 years ago this week, the minute-hand slowly turned towards a dark midnight which gloomy gold bugs like us had long predicted. We like to flatter ourselves that we saw it coming. Mostly because we did.
But we take very little pride in it today. Because of the coming of the 2007 credit crunch…and the global financial crisis it announced…was plain to see. If only you looked.
Such trends and risk form the ultimate fundamentals of the bullion price, most especially gold. From the lows of 1999-2001 – hit just as the Tech Stock Bubble signed off the late-20th Century’s historic hubris – gold had already tripled versus the Dollar, even before the subprime crash began to make headlines. Gold’s gains came despite no major shift in supply or consumer demand, let alone European central-bank selling. Instead, investment demand had returned after two long decades…a clear sniff of trouble then brewing.
Of course, central bankers and regulators would later claim in the aftermath of the financial crash that no one could predict it. But they couldn’t even see the crisis when it was upon them. The buffoons who then mismanaged the bust are still struggling to understand it today, 10 years later. The most startling example? Blaming the US subprime crash for September 2007’s banking run on Northern Rock.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 09/13/2017.

2 More Americans Affected By Mysterious ‘Sonic Attacks’ In Cuba

Late last year, reports began surfacing that US diplomatic personnel in Cuba were beginning to experience strange and inexplicable symptoms including dizziness, nausea, memory lapses, difficulty hearing and loss of balance. Initial reports attributed the symptoms to a ‘acoustic attack,’ but neglected to provide any salient details about the specific nature of the attacks, or – more importantly – who might have carried them out. The Cuban government quickly denied any knowledge of the attacks.
Fast forward to last month, when CBS News reported that the attacks had caused at least 16 US embassy personnel to suffer traumatic brain injuries, as well as damage to their central nervous systems.
‘The diplomats complained about symptoms ranging from hearing loss and nausea to headaches and balance disorders after the State Department said “incidents” began affecting them beginning in late 2016.
A number of diplomats have cut short their assignments in Cuba because of the attacks.

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

“Crazily Low” Bund Yields Spike Most In 3 Months, Gundlach Warns Of “Massive Risk At These Levels”

In a curious case of 2015 deja vu, DoubleLine founder Jeffrey Gundlach says German bond yields are “crazily low,” and expects them to rocket higher and rattle the US Treasury market when (if) the ECB scales back its bond purchases.
The FT reports that Gundlach warns the 10-year German Bund yield would jump to 1 per cent ‘pretty quickly’, from about 0.4 per cent today.
So far he has been right, just as in 2015 when Gundlach and Gross warned that Bunds were “the short of a lifetime.”

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

Former UBS Trader Arrested, Charged With Rigging Gold Prices

Three years after we first identified the former head of UBS’s gold desk in Zurich as someone directly implicated in the rigging of precious metals prices, Bloomberg reports that Andre Flotron, a Swiss resident, was arrested while visiting the U. S., according to people familiar with the matter.
Having been “on leave” since 2014, it appears Andre’s hope that he was gone but “keen to return in due time” are now up in smoke.
As Bloomberg reports, Flotron was charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, commodities fraud and spoofing, according to a prepared complaint, and is the second person publicly charged in the U. S. investigation into the fixing of gold, silver, platinum and palladium prices.

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

Can You Really ‘Shut Down’ a Nuclear Power Plant before a Hurricane?

Soothing words before the storm: ‘Our nuclear plants are now shut down.’ There are those who believe the answers to life’s most pressing questions can be found in one of two movies: ‘The Godfather’ (part one) or ‘The Princess Bride.’ In the latter movie, think of the Spaniard’s vaguely taunting response: ‘You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.’ Which might also be the reply to: ‘Our nuclear plants are now shut down.’
Right now we are thinking about the Turkey Point and St. Lucie nuclear power stations in South Florida, in the aftermath of hurricane Irma. But we could have been referring to the South Texas Nuclear Project south of Houston, just a week or two earlier.
Those Westinghouse pressurized water reactors have six modes of operation, sort of like gears in a car. The highest level of performance, mode 1 includes power operations all the way up to 100% power. Mode 6, the lowest level of operation, describes a plant in the state of being refueled.
Senior management at NextEra’s utility subsidiary, Florida Power & Light, placed their nuclear reactors in mode 4, ‘hot shutdown,’ as the hurricane advanced towards the plants. (Mode 5 is cold shutdown with far lower internal reactor temperatures.)

This post was published at Wolf Street on Sep 13, 2017.

Jamie Dimon Knows a Fraud When He Sees It – Outside of His Bank

Jamie Dimon became Chief Executive Officer of JPMorgan Chase on December 31, 2005. An inordinate amount of frauds have been perpetrated inside his bank since that time, none of which the eagle-eyed Dimon spotted. But Dimon says he knows a fraud when he sees one outside of his bank. Yesterday, he took on the cryptocurrency known as Bitcoin, calling it a fraud. At a banking conference on Tuesday, Dimon said that ‘Bitcoin will eventually blow up. It’s a fraud. It’s worse than tulip bulbs and won’t end well.’
We’re not saying Dimon is wrong about Bitcoin. In fact, more than three years ago Wall Street On Parade compared Bitcoin to the tulip bulb bubble and explained in crystal clear terms how it differs from a real currency, such as the U. S. dollar. But we are saying that Dimon’s super sleuth nose for fraud has the uncanny knack of serially failing him when it comes to Ponzi schemes and mortgage frauds and rogue derivative and commodity traders operating inside his own bank – a taxpayer subsidized institution that has richly rewarded Dimon despite the fact that his sniffer can only catch the scent of fraud outside the doors of JPMorgan Chase. (As of June 30, 2017, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, JPMorgan Chase held more than $1.5 trillion in deposits, the majority of which are insured by the Federal government and backstopped by the U. S. taxpayer.)
On March 22, 2016, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a reportthat noted that the U. S. Justice Department had earlier assigned a $1.7 billion forfeiture against JPMorgan Chase ‘for its failure to detect and report the suspicious activities of Bernard Madoff,’ the largest fraud ever perpetrated against the investing public. The GAO stunningly found that because the bank ‘failed to maintain an effective anti-money-laundering program and report suspicious transactions in 2008, it contributed to its own bank customers ‘losing about $5.4 billion in Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.’

This post was published at Wall Street On Parade on September 13, 2017.

Apple’s ‘Biggest Cheerleader’ Warns “New iPhones Not Enough”

It is hard to find a bigger Apple stock cheerleader than me. I’ve been writing Apple stock love poems for years. For a long time, it was easy to love the shares because they were unloved by others and it was cheap.
Until recently, when Apple stock was still trading in the low $100s and at single-digit multiples, we were buying current product categories at a discount and were not paying for future product categories.
At today’s price that is not the case anymore.
***
That is true with any company – the more expensive the stock gets, the more clairvoyance investors need to discern the company’s future growth.
At Apple’s size it is very hard for the company to increase its earnings significantly. Macs, iPads, and even iPhones are mature products.
The iPhone may have a few growth spurts left, but not many. It is facing an unavoidable headwind: the elongation of its replacement cycle. The iPhone improved substantially over the years, but as the i-marvels piled up, the incremental improvements that motivated people to buy a new phone every two years or so became less and less significant.

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

“It Blows My Mind”: 100-Year Austrian Bond With Record Duration 3x Oversubscribed

As we reported yesterday, Austria was set to make Eurozone history with the first sale of a 100 year bond direct to public markets, bypassing private syndication. It did that later in the day, when the 3.5 billion offering priced tighter than initially marketed, at RAGB 2/2047 +50, at a price 99.502 to yield a paltry 2.112% and with a negligible 2.1% cash coupon.
What is even more notable is that despite mounting fears of an imminent tapering by the ECB which many have predicted will lead to a new European bond tantrum and blow out in yields, there was tremendous end demand by investors for the offering managed by BofAML, Erste Group, GS (B&D), NatWest and SocGen, mostly fund managers from across the globe, resulting in what ended up being more than 11BN in 208 different bids for the paper, an oversubscription of more than 3x! The breakdown for the final allocation is was follows, courtesy of Bloomberg:
3.5b 100Y tranche: Book exceeded 10.8b from 208 investors, including 1.5b of JLM interest
Allocation by geography:
Eurozone incl. Austria 29% Germany 13% France 4% Spain 3% Other Eurozone 9% Other Europe (non-Eurozone) 55% U. K. 42% Switzerland 9% Americas 12% Middle East 4%

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

Global Warming & Storms

While some of the news coverage was interjecting global warming as the cause of the storm, in fact it tends to work in the opposite direction. This has been a sharply declining period of temperature. I wrote about how this was the year without an Arctic Summer. This has been the coldest summer in Europe and even in the States on the East Coast during August to early September. I went to visit family in August and had to buy a coat in New Jersey. In Australia there has been the coldest night on record in New South Wales. The warm water colliding with cooler air tends to make for bigger storms.
One of the major news stations was attributing Miami sinking into the water to Global Warming claiming this was PROOF of rising sea levels. Pictured here is Wildwood New Jersey which was famous in the 60s with Bobby Rydell’s song. I use to go there as a kid. The piers were once upon a time actually in the water. You could go on a pier and fish.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Sep 13, 2017.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma May Lend Helping Hand to Economy, but Hurricane Iniki and Katrina Tell More Complex Longterm Tales

It is widely believed that World War II gave us the end of the Great Depression. As a result, people have said for decades there is nothing like a wartime economy to bring recovery from economic recession. War blows apart a lot of things, so you have to make a lot of things, which puts a lot of people to work building a lot of things, which puts a lot of other people to work digging a lot of things from the ground in order to build those things. Hurricanes blow apart a lot of things, too.
If that logic held completely true, however, the best thing we could do whenever we are trying to come out of economic collapse would be to blow up every city in the nation so we could build it all over again. While WWII did end the Great Depression, logic tells us there is a more complex tale to tell.
There is a difference between an increase in economic activity, which improves economic statistics and puts people to work, and wealth accumulation. Wars (and hurricanes) create a flurry of economic activity, which may juice the economy as WWII did, but you eventually have to pay for all of that so it doesn’t build wealth for a nation overall because of the debit side of the accounting sheet … unless, of course, one nation takes spoils of war from the nations it defeats, which then bear the burden of doing worse for decades to follow while the victorious nation is better off; but we didn’t do that in WWII. We built up the nations we ravaged. So, how did we wind up better after WWII?
What gets left out of the wartime economic recovery equation is debt. WWII proved stimulus spending works, but what is not considered it that the US had very little debt before that and enormous debt at the end. What a wartime economy or a hurricane reconstruction economy really do is move spending forward. They force infrastructure spending now, accelerating deficit spending and total debt.

This post was published at GoldSeek on Wednesday, 13 September 2017.

Former BIS Chief Economist Warns “More Dangers Now Than In 2007”

Having warned in the past that “the system is dangerously unacnhored,” former chief economist of the Bank for International Settlements, William White, told Bloomberg TV overnight that the current situation “looks very similar to 2008,” adding that OECD sees “more dangers” today than in 2007.
The chairman of Economic and Development Review Committee at OECD, warned that prices are very high – in particular for high yield assets, VIX is very low, house prices are rising strongly, equity markets rising, and all these are a source of concern.

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

The U.S. Government Massive ONE-DAY Debt Increase Impact On Interest Expense & Silver ETF

The U. S. Government’s massive one-day debt increase had a profound impact on the amount of money it will have to fork over just to service its interest payment. On Friday, Sept 9th, the U. S. Treasury increased the total debt by a stunning $318 billion. Thus, the total U. S. Government debt increased from $19.84 trillion on Thursday to $20.16 trillion on Friday.
We must remember when the U. S Treasury adds more debt to its balance sheet; the government is now obligated to pay additional funds to service the interest on that debt. So, for each increase in U. S. Government debt, comes with it, an increase in its debt service payment.

This post was published at SRSrocco Report on SEPTEMBER 12, 2017.

“It’s Not Worth Fighting” – Hedge Funds Are Dumping Their China Shorts

Pretty soon, China bears will be as rare as the Giant Panda.
At least that’s what Bloomberg suggested in a story about how Chinese markets have continued to defy proclamations that country’s economy would soon collapse in an avalanche of bad debt, exposing rampant corporate fraud. Or that a rash of outflows and the pressure of short sellers would force a massive yuan devaluation. Or that the exposure of rampant fraud and abuse in its corporate sector would tank local markets, which rely heavily on shady investment products.
We’ve repeatedly noted when fund managers who once loudly touted their China-related positions either moderated, or changed their minds completely. Just last week, Corriente Advisors’ Mark Hart announced the end of a seven-year options position that would’ve seen a massive payoff if the yuan dropped 50%. As we noted, he’d spent $240 million rolling over the options.
Before that, Kyle Bass, during an appearance on Adventures in Finance, said that while he was 100% certain his thesis will ultimately prove correct, calling the timing has obviously proven difficult.
Bass, in his interview, cited shady retail investment products that have been used to backstop $40 trillion in debt with only $2 trillion in equity as a looming sign of a collapse. (We’ve also noted other questionable financing deals like the use of collateralized commodity transactions, which we discuss in greater detail in ‘Did China’s Bronze Swan Just Arrive? Copper Inventories Crash Most In History’).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 12, 2017.

Precious Metals Bull Analogs Update

We started employing analog charts during the latter stages of the seemingly forever bear market in precious metals. Comparing current to past trends by using price data is not considered technical analysis but it is extremely valuable because history tends to repeat itself. It also helps us identify extremes as well as opportunities. For example, in 2015 it was clear the epic bear market in gold stocks was due for a major reversal. Today, precious metals appear to be in the early innings of a cyclical bull market and the analogs suggest there is plenty of room to run to the upside.
The first chart compares the current recovery in Gold to past recoveries. In recent quarters we had anticipated a similar, explosive rebound like in 2008 and 1976. However, with 18 months of evidence we can now say the current rebound most resembles the rebounds that started in 1985 and 2001. Both of those rebounds imply Gold could reach $1700/oz by Q4 of 2018. However, if Gold cannot takeout the resistance around $1375 then it could end up following the path of the 1993 rebound.

This post was published at GoldSeek on Wednesday, 13 September 2017.

Massive Equifax Hack Shows Cyber Risk to Deposits and Investments Today

44% of US population affected by Equifax hack Hackers took names, birthdays and addresses, Social Security and driver’s license numbers Steve Mnuchin ‘concerned about the global financial system and keeping it safe,’ Hacks is a reminder of the vulnerabilities created in a connected world Cyber security is a major threat to both banking and financial industry Investors should hold physical gold as insurance against hacking and cyber attacks Last week 143 million people woke up to the news that a data breach at Equifax has left them wide open to financial and identity fraud.
Readers will have no doubt read about the hacking of credit bureau Equifax. Not only were they slow to deal with the issue but three senior executives (including the CFO) sold almost $2 million worth of stock prior to alerting customers to the security breach.
This is the third time in sixteen months that Equifax has been hacked. It is the umpteenth time there has been a data breach at a company that holds financial and personal information of its customers. Each time millions of people’s data and livelihoods has been put at risk.

This post was published at Gold Core on September 13, 2017.