Peak Irony: Equifax Is (Finally) Hiring A “Fraud Monitoring Leader”

Overnight, one day after the now former CEO of Equifax, Richard Smith, announced his “retirement” from the humiliated, and hacked company, but not before collecting an exit bonus as much as $90 million, his replacement, interim CEO Paulino do Rego Barros Jr. penned another apology, this time in the WSJ:
On behalf of Equifax , I want to express my sincere and total apology to every consumer affected by our recent data breach. People across the country and around the world, including our friends and family members, put their trust in our company. We didn’t live up to expectations.
We were hacked. That’s the simple fact. But we compounded the problem with insufficient support for consumers. Our website did not function as it should have, and our call center couldn’t manage the volume of calls we received. Answers to key consumer questions were too often delayed, incomplete or both. We know it’s our job to earn back your trust.
And just to show how “serious” the company – which was entrusted with the personal, and highly confidential information of over 143 million Americans – is about “earning your trust”, as of yesterday the company announced it is hiring for a position which… it probably should have filled a few years ago, namely a Fraud Monitoring Leader who is “responsible for the management of a team of Fraud Monitoring Analysts. These analysts are responsible for monitoring; analyzing and investigating interactions to identify fraudulent access or attempted access to Equifax consumer facing systems in near real-time.” More:

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 28, 2017.

Market Gives Up Trump-Tax-Hope Gains After UBS Says “Tax Reform Won’t Happen”

Well that de-escalated quickly…
Following yesterday’s breathless rip higher in small cap stocks (which are down today) and ‘high-tax’ stock outperformance (which is collapsing today), it appears ‘sell the news’ is more today’s meme as many on Wall Street question the chances of getting a bill through… and what its effect would be.
As UBS’ Seth Carpenter wrote overnight: “We don’t believe that tax reform or even sizable tax cuts will happen. Even if a tax cut of 1 percent of GDP somehow happens, it is not a game changer.”
Larger tax cuts than we anticipate are likely the single, most-easily identifiable upside risk to our forecast. Our baseline forecast incorporates no fiscal stimulus in 2017. For 2018, we have incorporated only modest corporate and personal tax cuts. Even with the new tax proposal from the Administration, our outlook remains unchanged. We are sceptical that a large fiscal stimulus package that increases the deficit will occur. There has not been substantial legislation passed so far this year, despite control of the Congress and the White House by a single party. Moreover, the fiscally conservative wing of the Congress will have to confront another vote to raise the debt limit next year in the context of any decision made about fiscal policy.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 28, 2017.

Asian Metals Market Update: September-28-2017

Trump tax plans if passed can result in nearly one percent more GDP growth to the US economy every year. This optimism resulted in gains for the US dollar and the fall in precious metals. Lack of escalation in North Korean risk also added to losses for gold and the yen. My fear is that US corporations can use the reduced taxes as an opportunity of share buy backs instead of paying dividends. This has been the trend of current times. Share buyback and delisting has become the norm for most corporations globally with large reserves and high profitability. Share buy backs instead of using the surplus funds for capacity expansion can derail all the positive effects of Trump’s tax plans (if passed).
American senators have not let Trump do anything.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 28 September 2017.

Gold Price Down Again Amid US Rate-Rise Bets, Strong China Trading, Pall-Plat Parity

Gold prices fell beneath yesterday’s 1-month lows in London trade Thursday, dipping to $1278 per ounce as most commodities edged higher with world stock markets.
With gold prices now falling almost 6% from early September’s 12-month Dollar high, silver today fell to $16.70 per ounce – down more than 8% from 3 weeks ago.
Platinum meantime dropped to 9-week lows beneath $920, trading below sister-metal palladium for the first time in 16 years.
Following Janet Yellen’s comments from Tuesday on needing to tighten US policy sooner than expected, US Treasury bond prices also fell again, driving the interest rate offered to investors by 10-year notes up to 2.34%, the most since 11 July.
Gold was then trading at $1211 per ounce.
Betting on US interest rates now see a 76% chance of the Fed raising at its December meeting, up from just 33% one month ago.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 09/28/2017.

Final Q2 GDP Comes In At 3.1%, Higher Than Expected

With just two days left until the end of the third quarter, what happened in Q2 will hardly provoke a market reaction, which is why when the BEA announced that the third and final Q2 GDP print was revised from 3.0% to 3.1%, (or specifically from 3.049% to 3.06%) it hardly inspired a move in risk assets, even though it did come in fractionally better than the 3.0% expected, and more than double the 1.2% Q1 GDP print.
The revision to the third estimate of GDP growth mainly reflected an upward revision to private inventory investment, notably farm inventories. Personal consumption rose 3.3% in 2Q after rising 1.9% prior quarter, while its contribution to the change in GDP was 2.24% in 2Q, slightly below the 2.28% in the previous revision. Nonresidential fixed investment, or spending on equipment, structures and intellectual property rose 6.7% in 2Q after rising 7.2% prior quarter.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 28, 2017.

Yellen Is So Much Better, And Still Nowhere Near Good

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Alhambra Investments. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
I wrote earlier today that I believe Ben Bernanke one of the smartest men around. Whatever you might think of the usefulness of his career work, it is quite clear it was accomplished with some great talent. He occasionally offered some good, novel insight.
I’m not so sure about Janet Yellen. While her trademark deer-in-the-headlights look could have been explained as the profile of an uneasy public performer, the track record of her work even in academic Economics terms has been unremarkable. Her contributions to FOMC policy meetings, for example, show little other than those of a faceless bureaucrat who long ago learned that creative thinking would be a hindrance to career advancement.

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Jeffrey P. Snider ‘ September 27, 2017.

A China Conspiracy Theory: “What If Beijing Is Behind The Entire Move?” SocGen Asks

As noted earlier, the return of the “Trump Trade”, however brief, on the back of tax reform euphoria and Hawkish Yellen has dominated market sentiment, resulting in the latest bond market “crash”, sending yields to a nearly three month high of 2.35% earlier this morning, and as Bill Blain showed in a chart, it took just three weeks to reverse the fall we saw in July and August, up 30bps in days, while Bunds are up 20bp and even JGBs are up 5bp (far greater rises in relative terms).

Meamwhile, the FX market has continued to shadow every tick in the bond market. The Dollar index reached its low point on 8 September, as EUR/USD spiked to just below 1.21. Since then the EUR/USD has fallen to levels not seen since mid-August, but that’s not a huge correction given that relative (real) yields are back to where they were in mid-May (when EUR/USD was under 1.11).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 28, 2017.

This is what $100 buys you in Venezuela

The gunfire on the streets near my hotel started around 9pm last night.
The sound is unmistakable, especially at night on an otherwise quiet city street.
I had recently returned to the hotel after a few evening meetings. And coming back after dark it was as if they had rolled the sidewalks up – restaurants with no patrons, bars and clubs that were totally empty.
There was an incredibly striking woman I remember, standing in front of her restaurant playing hostess to absolutely nobody.
And with few people on the streets, it felt like some sort of zombie apocalypse.
Amazingly enough this country used to be THE wealthiest in the region. And not too long ago.
Throughout the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, Venezuela enjoyed robust growth. Low inflation. Substantial foreign investment. High wages. It was the envy of Latin America.

This post was published at Sovereign Man on September 28, 2017.

First Sponsor Pulls Ad Dollars From The NFL

It begins. We suspect NFL owners, and their media lapdogs, may be about to start paying attention to what President Trump (and the fans of the game) are saying (and doing).
First, Bloomberg reported overnight that fans who agree with Trump shared lists of advertisers on social media networks while calling for boycotts along with hashtags like #PunchThemInTheWallet.
Richard Levick, a crisis communications expert, says the NFL deftly navigated the weekend’s challenges but expects no shortage of hazards ahead.
‘They showed a high level of unity and independence, respecting those who participated in the protests and those who didn’t,’ says Levick.
‘In this era of hyper politicization — which is being driven by the White House into everything from the Boy Scouts to the NFL — there is no safe middle of the road.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 28, 2017.

The Pension Crisis Coming to a Boil

The BBC has come out and reported that three million savers in Britain in what is known as final-salary pension schemes only have a 50/50 chance of receiving the payouts they were promised, a study has concluded. We issued a special report on the rising Pension Crisis and it has been unfolding on schedule. The odds of those in government receiving what they were promised is probably less than 50/50 worldwide with few exceptions.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Sep 28, 2017.

Teachers Demand $3,200 From Each Kentucky Household To Fund Pension Ponzi For 2 Years

We have written frequently over the past couple of weeks about the disastrous public pension funds in Kentucky that are anywhere from $42 – $84 billion underfunded, depending on which discount rate you feel inclined to use. As we’ve argued before, these pensions, like the ones in Illinois and other states, are so hopelessly underfunded that they haven’t a prayer of ever again being made whole.
That said, logic and math have never before stopped pissed off teachers and/or clueless legislators from throwing good money after bad in an effort to ‘kick the can down the road’ on their pension crises. As such, it should come as no surprise at all that the Lexington Herald Leader reported today that Kentucky’s 365,000 teachers and other public employees are now demanding that taxpayers contribute a staggering $5.4 billion to their insolvent ponzi schemes over the next two years alone. To put that number in perspective, $5.4 billion is roughly $3,200 for each household in the state of Kentucky and 25% of the state’s entire budget over a two-year period.
Kentucky’s General Assembly will need to find an estimated $5.4 billion to fund the pension systems for state workers and school teachers in the next two-year state budget, officials told the Public Pension Oversight Board on Monday.
That amount would be a hefty funding increase and a painful squeeze for a state General Fund that – at about $20 billion over two years – also is expected to pay for education, prisons, social services and other state programs.
‘We realize this challenge is in front of us. That’s obviously part of the need for us to address pension reform,’ said state Sen. Joe Bowen, R-Owensboro, co-chairman of the oversight board.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 28, 2017.

Global Equities Mostly Up On Ideas Of Better World Economic Growth

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.
(Kitco News) – World stock markets were mostly firmer overnight, on hopes that a U. S. corporate tax-reform plan will boost economic growth not only in the U. S. but around the globe. U. S. stock indexes are pointed toward slightly lower openings when the New York day session begins.
Gold prices are slightly lower and hit a six-week low overnight. Better risk appetite in the marketplace this week, as well as a rallying U. S. dollar index, are bearish for the safe-haven metal.
World bond market yields are on the rise this week, on ideas that better world economic growth will prompt the major central banks to become less accommodative on their monetary policies. Odds are rising (now about 75%) that the Federal Reserve will raise U. S. interest rates in December.
In overnight news, the Euro zone economic sentiment indicator rose to 113.0 in September from 111.9 in August. The September reading was the highest in over 10 years. This report falls into the camp of the Euro zone monetary policy hawks. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said Thursday the ECB will decide later this year specifically when to start winding down its quantitative easing of monetary policy (bond buying).

This post was published at Wall Street Examiner by Jim Wyckoff ‘ September 28, 2017.

Blain: “The Bond Market Has Become A Series Of Crashes Followed By Rallies”

Submitted by Bill Blain of Mint Partners
Blain’s Morning Porridge – Why Bond markets are going down and Markets have no memory
‘And everything around her is a silver pool of light, the people who surround her feel the benefit of it. It makes you calm…’ Before delving into the collapse in global bonds on tightening speak, the improving prospects for real policy drivers and tax-cuts out of the US, wondering what the stock market is trying to tell us, and all the other madness likely to dominate our trading day.. I have to admit to an ever-so-slightly fuzzy head.
I’m not a Chelsea fan, but one of my clients is. Since he didn’t have time for a trip to Madrid for last night’s game, we watched it at Stamford Bridge instead. Yep, a gang of us were the only people in the stadium last night (which, to be honest, is a most enjoyable alternative to being surrounded by a pack of ravening Chelsea fans!) Although I’m a closet Gunner, it was a marvellous evening – made better by the last kick of the ball victory! (And that is absolutely the last time ever, and I mean ever, I will ever write something nice about Chelsea! )
Back in the real world, it’s a combination of the recent Yellen hawk-talk on a December hike and the prospects Trump will get his tax-cuts and modest reforms passed that have pushed down Treasuries and hiked up the dollar. Rest of global bond market is following in their wake on anticipated global recovery.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 28, 2017.

Financial Times Columnist Skewers Wall Street Model in the New York Times

Rana Foroohar, an Associate Editor and Global Business Columnist for the Financial Times, penned an OpEd at the New York Times yesterday that was as audacious in its insults to the Times’ richest hometown industry, Wall Street, as it was brilliantly in touch with the abject dysfunction of the U. S. financial system.
Foroohar’s thesis is this: ‘…there’s a core truth about our financial system that we have yet to comprehend fully: It isn’t serving us, we’re serving it.’
Foroohar describes in specific detail what Wall Street On Parade has long described as Wall Street’s institutionalized wealth transfer system. (See our articles describing this system under the menu button above titled ‘Wealth Transfer Schemes.’ You may find two particular articles of interest, here and here.)
Just how high up the chain of command this ‘service’ to Wall Street goes was deftly captured in a Tweet by the President of the United States on Monday of this week. In the midst of a humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, where upwards of 3 million fellow Americans are living with limited access to food and water and without any municipal electric power in the midst of a sweltering heat wave in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, President Trump Tweeted about the ‘billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks’ by Puerto Rico, adding that this debt ‘sadly, must be dealt with.’

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

History Illustrates Market Crashes should be embraced and not feared

If you’re not just a little bit nervous before a match, you probably don’t have the expectations of yourself that you should have. Hale Irwin
This is a topic that financial writers should cover in more depth, but it also needs to be covered accurately. From the very beginning individuals have been trained to view crashes as disasters, and in doing so, they miss an opportunity of a lifetime. One has to wonder why so many experts almost purposely go out of their way to proclaim the next crash will mark the end of everything. History is not on their side and the average person having failed to examine history is none the wiser. When experts start to make a lot of noise one has to understand that it is being done to redirect one’s attention; the masses always fall for this ploy. Stock market crashes are perfect examples of misdirection; the crowd is directed to fixate on the fear factor and not the opportunity factor. The dumb money always buys close to the top and sells close to the bottom, and the smart money always does the opposite.

This post was published at GoldSeek on Thursday, 28 September 2017.

Global Bond Rout Accelerates Even As Dollar Rally Fizzles

In a continuation of trading patterns observed over the previous two days, on Thursday the global bond rout deepened in the aftermath of the release of President Trump’s tax-cut plan, Janet Yellen’s recent hawkish comments and renewed optimism over the health of the U. S. economy. While global stocks were mostly mixed as investors tried to assess the implications of the much-anticipated tax proposal, there was less doubt in the bond market, where 10Y Treasurys tumbled as a result of heavy stop loss selling once the 200-DMA (2.3255%) was taken out, sending yields to three month highs around 2.35% as accelerating selling spread to all global rate products.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 28, 2017.

The ‘Trump Tax Plan’ – Details & Analysis

Almost a full year after the election of Donald Trump to the White House, one of the key promises made to voters was the largest ‘tax cut’since Ronald Reagan was in office. As President Trump stated in Indiana yesterday:
‘This is a revolutionary change, and the biggest winners will be middle-class workers as jobs start pouring into our country, as companies start competing for American labor, and as wages continue to grow. This will be the lowest top marginal income tax rate for small and mid-size businesses in more than 80 years.’
Here are the major points as summed up by BI.
Business tax changes:
A 20% corporate tax rate. This is the first time Trump has publicly backed down from one of his earliest campaign promises: a 15% corporate tax rate. The budget math required for a 15% rate was too difficult, so the somewhat higher rate is the opening bid. The current statutory federal rate is 35%. A 25% rate for pass-through businesses. Instead of getting taxed at an individual rate for business profits, people who own their own business would pay at the pass-through rate. The plan also says it will consider rules to prevent ‘personal income’ from being taxed at this rate. Mnuchin previously suggested there may be limitations on what types of businesses get this rate – it could apply only to goods producers and not service-oriented companies to prevent people from creating limited-liability corporations to store their assets and receive a lower rate. Elimination of some business deductions, industry-specific incentives, and more. There are few details, but the plan includes language regarding the ‘streamlining’ of business tax breaks. A one-time repatriation tax. All overseas assets from US-owned companies would be considered repatriated and taxed at a one-time lower rate – this is designed to bring corporate profits back from overseas. Illiquid assets like real estate would be taxed at a lower rate than cash or cash equivalents, and the payments would be spread out over time. While there is no precise number in the plan, officials have indicated the rate could end up somewhere around 10%.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sep 27, 2017.

Commodities Bottom as Emerging Markets Breakout

Tonight I would like to update some of the different commodities and emerging markets we took some positions in back in late July of this year. First, let me say that as investors we like everything to line up in perfect harmony so we can make some sense out of what is actually happening in the markets. It’s just human nature. For example, if the US dollar is doing this then the PM complex or the commodities should be doing that. There is a general rule that there is an inverse correlation between the US dollar and the PM complex or commodities, but it’s not always accurate.
Many times we can get bogged down trying to make everything fit perfectly before we make a trade. This can sometimes lead to missed opportunities as what we were expecting didn’t take place. For the most part this is one of the reasons why I prefer Chartology. When a pattern is building out the bears and bulls are making their side known by the battle they’re having with each other, which eventually creates a consolidation or reversal pattern. All the fundamentals that a stock has is also priced into the chart pattern.
Many times as investors we have to know why a stock is doing what it’s doing, from a fundamental point of view, which can begin to complicate things to the point where we become more confused than ever and can’t see the forest for the trees anymore. For me personally I try to keep it fairly simple by looking at what chart pattern is building out and base my buy or sell points by what the chart is suggesting. Nothing is perfect when it comes to trading the markets, but sometimes less is more.
I know right now many investors are seeing a stronger dollar and expect that commodities will head much lower based on the inverse correlation these two generally have which may in fact turn out that way. From a Chartology perspective many of the different commodities built out very large reversal patterns, which is going to be very hard to reverse those patterns. So regardless of what the US dollar is doing I have to go with what the chart patterns are suggesting.
Lets start by looking at a weekly chart for Copper which built out a very large 3 year inverse H&S bottom. About 3 months ago we got the breakout above its neckline telling us the bottoming process was complete. After a strong breakout move Copper is now pulling back to the breakout point forming a backtest to the neckline which will come in around the 2.75 area along with the 30 week ema. Until something changes this bullish setup I have to respect what the chart is saying regardless of what the US dollar is doing presently.

This post was published at GoldSeek on Thursday, 28 September 2017.