Joined Nov 11, 2007
31,929 Blog Posts

Will Poor Consumer Confidence Spark a Surprise Stimulus Package From the Fed ?

So the last time we had a very poor consumer confidence reading the fed opened the QE3 spigot. Could we be in for additional stimulus for the upcoming holiday season?

“Consumer Confidence in U.S. Drops for Sixth Consecutive Week

By Ben Schenkel – Nov 7, 2013 9:45 AM ET

Consumer confidence in the U.S. fell for the sixth week in a row, reaching the lowest level in a year as Americans struggled to make ends meet.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index declined to minus 37.9 in the week ended Nov. 3, the worst reading since October 2012, from minus 37.6. The one-week drop was the smallest since the partial government shutdown ended in the middle of last month….”

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Rasmussen Poll: 74% in Favor of Auditing the Federal Reserve

“Just one in 10 American adults is opposed to auditing the shadowy Federal Reserve, with an overwhelming 74 percent supporting an audit of the controversial central bank, according to a new poll released by Rasmussen. While the banking cartel-run institution has hired lobbyistsand unleashed various gimmicks to improve its image and protect its cloak of secrecy from Congress and the public, it appears increasingly clear that the people see through the charade. Now, the question is whether lawmakers will side with the establishment to protect the Fed, or with the American public and their demands for transparency.

The survey results, which echo the findings of numerous other polls conducted on the issue in recent years, show that support for an audit of the Fed transcends party lines. While backing for transparency at the central bank was strongest among Republicans — 83 percent support an audit, versus 7 percent opposed — nearly two thirds of Democrats also want to know what is going at the Fed, compared to 14 percent who do not. Among Americans who do not identify with either major party, almost eight in 10 support an audit, with less than one in 10 against it.

According to Rasmussen Reports, which released the results on November 8, part of the reason that Americans still “overwhelmingly support” a public audit of the Fed might be “because a sizable number think the Fed chairman has too much power over the economy.” Neither current central bank boss Ben “Helicopter” Bernanke nor his likely replacement, Janet Yellen, was very popular with the public either. Among respondents who expressed an opinion and had heard of the central bankers — over a third did not recognize Yellen’s name — strong majorities held unfavorable views of them.

Overall, without even knowing what is going on behind closed doors at the central bank due to a lack of transparency, half of likely voters said they had a negative impression of the Fed — with more than 20 percent saying they viewed the institution “very” unfavorably. Among Republicans, an overwhelming seven in 10 respondents had a negative view. Just seven percent of adults surveyed had a “very favorable” impression of the central bank, and around one fourth said “somewhat favorable.” About 16 percent said they were unsure. Wealthier Americans were less likely than others to have a negative view, though even among higher earners, the Fed was hardly popular.

With just 10 percent of American adults opposed to auditing the shadowy but unimaginably powerful central bank, and a full three fourths in favor of opening up the books, there have been strong efforts in Congress to pass “Audit the Fed” legislation for years.Led in part by then-Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas), the push to audit — and eventually abolish — the controversial institution has been gaining momentum quickly. From being virtually unknown among much of the public prior to the most recent economic crisis, trillions in lawless bailouts, the ongoing erosion of the dollar’s purchasing power, and increasing awareness have all contributed to the escalating political shift surrounding the Fed.

Of course, some members of Congress — for the most part responding to overwhelming public pressure — have been trying for years to find out what is going on behind the impenetrable veil of silence shrouding the U.S. central bank. However, the privately owned institution, which has a government-granted monopoly on America’s rapidly depreciating U.S. dollar, has fiendishly resisted transparency at every turn. Even Freedom of Information Act requests have been met with defiance, with the New York Fedpointing out in its refusal to hand over documents that it is privately owned by shareholders and not part of the government.

In response to the growing public outcry, the Fed actually resorted to hiring a lobbyist to protect its interests on Capitol Hill. More recently, it began waging what the New York Times described as a “public relations offensive.” When that failed to stem the escalating outrage, the central bank even asked for contractors to help it spy on critics — with one of the stated goals being to help tailor its “public relations” gimmicks, also known as propaganda, more effectively. In an apparent fit of desperation, the shadowy institution even began peddling propaganda to high-school students last year, in addition to pro-Fed comic books targeting young children.

Despite its best efforts, however, the House of Representatives has already voted overwhelmingly to audit the Fed in the past, obliterating normal partisan divides. Still, the secretive monetary cartel has managed to avoid serious scrutiny thus far. Thanks largely to certain establishment-minded senators — especially Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who fought hard to protect the Fed’s secrecy and ensure that only a watered-down audit would make it through — a real “audit the Fed” to investigate all of what the central bank is doing has remained elusive.

Even the neutered version of the audit that did pass, however, revealed more than $3 trillion in bailouts to foreign banksmajor conflicts of interest, and much more. In just two and a half years, the Fed pumped more than $16 trillion — trillion with a t, more than the entire GDP of the United States — into bailouts for banks and mega-corporations. On both sides of the aisle, lawmakers claimed to be outraged about the heist, yet for some reason, Congress and the president have steadfastly refused to take real action. Of course, there have been a few efforts to rein in the Fed in recent years, but the institution continues to conjure trillions into existence with no accountability and no transparency.    …”

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Documentary: Wall Street Code

Cheers on your weekend!

[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFQJNeQDDHA 450 300] [youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HB5Gfo6ouQ 450 300] [youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7MhpFF1vv0 450 300]

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Danger: Money Multiplier Continues to Crash

“The Federal Reserve’s Quantitative Easing has given rise to an all time low in the money multiplier which, in turn, has a higher probability of rising than falling. Notwithstanding the recent explosion of personal debt, Chart #5 above shows an emerging propensity of the US public to want to save a higher percentage of their income and/or pay down debts.  Therefore, the most likely driver of a rising ratio will be a rise in savings relative to money stock which, in turn, will place a downward pressure on corporate earnings.  It follows that continuation of QE by the Fed will do nothing other than push the money multiplier ratio lower. Therefore QE is becoming impotent as a strategy for driving the US economy. By extension, if the savings rate continues along its early rising trend, this will likely be accompanied by recessionary conditions which, in turn, will place a downward pressure on Price:Earnings ratios.

There are two unconventional analysts who have come to my attention over the years and whose work is unique to them:

The first is Mr. Alan Newman, who publishes a report entitled “Pictures of a Stock Market Mania”. His latest report, dated November 5th 2013 can be viewed here:   www.cross-currents.net/charts.htm ).

The second is Professor Didier Sornette, who’s bio can be viewed at (http://www.er.ethz.ch/people/sornette ) and whose stock-market relevant work is summarised on the following You-Tube of a TED Talk entitled “How can we predict the next financial crisis?”that he gave in June 2013.http://www.ted.com/talks/didier_sornette_how_we_can_predict_the_next_financial_crisis.html

If Professor Sornette’s model is to be believed, we can expect a significant market peak in mid November 2013 – see chart below: (source: Casey Research)

Chart # 1 – Time Singularity Forecast

Of course, this begs the question as to whether this will be just another trading peak or whether it will be a significant peak.

My own view is that Alan Newman’s work should be seen as a backdrop to any analysis. From the time that Alan Greenspan came onto the scene, the Dollar Trading Volume (DTV) as a multiple of Gross Domestic Product has been rising. At the peak of the 1929 stock market bubble it was well over 100%. Now it is around 350%.

In 1929, the ratio of DTV to Market Capitalisation (the combined value of all companies quoted on the NYSE) was around 200%. Now it is just shy of 300%, having fallen from a peak of 400% in 2009.

Of course, this has occurred as a direct consequence of what has come to be known as “algorithm” trading and as an indirect consequence of the US Federal Reserve’s loose money and low interest rate policies.

A couple of days ago a friend sent me a Point & Figure chart of the gold price – which showed a “buy” signal. Within a day or so of his having sent it, the chart looked like this (source stockcharts.com)

Chart #2 – Point & Figure Chart of the Gold Price (Nov 6th 2013)

Note how the buy signal reversed itself with a high pole warming sell signal and that reversal coincided with a rise to a new high by the Dow Jones Industrial Index (not shown).

Of relevance, on November 6th 2013, the percentage of financial advisers who were bullish on equities was 82.4%, having pulled back from a high of 89.2% on May 29th. “Blue skies, nothing but blue skies”, do they see

Of course, this begs the question of when the stock market mania will end? Will it end around mid November, as per Sornette’s model? The short answer is: There is a high probability.

The chart below (courtesy Bigcharts.com) is worrying from two perspectives:

Chart # 3 – Monthly Chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Index.

First, the reader will note the two diverging red trend lines…..”

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Jobs Report Reveals a 35 Year Fresh Low in the Participation Rate

“The only two charts that matter from today’s distroted nonfarm payrolls report.

First, the labor force participation rate, which plunged from 63.2% to 62.8% – the lowest since 1978!

But more importantly, the number of people not in the labor force exploded by nearly 1 million….”

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State of the Union

“No legal issue arises when the United States responds to a challenge to its power, position, and prestige. — Dean Acheson , 1962, speaking to the American Society of International Law.

Anthony Freda Art

Paul Craig Roberts
Activist Post

Dean Acheson declared 51 years ago that power, position, and prestige are the ingredients of national security and that national security trumps law. In the United States democracy takes a back seat to “national security,” a prerogative of the executive branch of government.

National security is where the executive branch hides its crimes against law, both domestic and international, its crimes against the Constitution, its crimes against innocent citizens both at home and abroad, and its secret agendas that it knows that the American public would never support.

“National security” is the cloak that the executive branch uses to make certain that the US government is unaccountable.

Without accountable government there is no civil liberty and no democracy except for the sham voting that existed in the Soviet Union and now exists in the US.

There have been periods in US history, such as President Lincoln’s war to prevent secession, World War I, and World War II, when accountable government was impaired. These were short episodes of the Constitution’s violation, and the Constitution was reinstated in the aftermath of the wars. However, since the Clinton regime, the accountability of government has been declining for more than two decades, longer than the three wars combined.

In law there is the concept of adverse possession, popularly known as “squatters’ rights.” A non-owner who succeeds in occupying a piece of property or some one else’s right for a certain time without being evicted enjoys the ownership title conveyed to him. The reasoning is that by not defending his rights, the owner showed his disinterest and in effect gave his rights away.

Americans have not defended their rights conveyed by the US Constitution for the duration of the terms of three presidents. The Clinton regime was not held accountable for its illegal attack on Serbia. The Bush regime was not held accountable for its illegal invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The Obama regime was not held accountable for its renewed attack on Afghanistan and its illegal attacks on Libya, Pakistan, and Yemen, and by its proxies on Syria.

We also have other strictly illegal and unconstitutional acts of government for which the government has not been held accountable. The Bush regimes’ acts of torture, indefinite detention, and warrantless spying, and the Obama regime’s acts of indefinite detention, warrantless spying, and murder of US citizens without due process. As the Obama regime lies through its teeth, we have no way of knowing whether torture is still practiced.

If these numerous criminal acts of the US government spread over the terms of three presidents pass into history as unchallenged events, the US government will have acquired squatters’ rights in lawlessness. The US Constitution will be, as President George W. Bush is reported to have declared, “a scrap of paper.”

Lawlessness is the hallmark of tyranny enforced by the police state……”

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Bitcoin Hits a New All Time High, China Now Has the Largest Exchange for the Virtual Currency

“If James Bond, Sergey Brin and Paul Volcker…designed their ideal currency, it might look a lot like bitcoin.”

Bitcoin value goes up, now accepted in China(Credit: 123dartist/Shutterstock)

Bitcoin’s price hit a record at $261 on the Bitstamp online exchange, driven by wider acceptance of the virtual currency.

The digital money, which can be used to pay for goods and services on the Internet, has risen 20-fold so far this year, as trading activity has increased. Bitcoins were trading at $259.02 apiece at 1:17 p.m. in New York on Bitstamp, one of the more active Web-based exchanges where Bitcoins are traded for dollars, euros and other currencies.

The rally comes a month after the closing of the “Silk Road Hidden Website,” where people could obtain drugs, guns and other illicit goods using Bitcoins. The virtual currency lost a third of its value in the days after the website was shut down. Bitcoins are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in China, said Ugo Egbunike, director of business development at IndexUniverse, an index-fund researcher.

“I thought Silk Road is going to do some damage to the price,” Egbunike said. “But with BTC China buying this up — they seem to have picked up the slack.”

BTC China is now the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange, Nicholas Colas, a ConvergEx Group analyst, wrote in a Nov. 5 report.

The virtual currency exists as software that’s designed to be untraceable…”

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Is Bitcoin in a bubble ?



Market Last Volume (24h) Bid Ask High Low
mtgoxUSD 316.8110 87,486.39 316.51 318.49 324.20 266.00
btcnCNY 1912.9800 65,506.58 1913.30 1913.48 1919.99 1665.01
bitstampUSD 297.0100 51,193.33 296.00 297.02 299.12 264.67
btceUSD 286.5000 36,257.66 285.30 287.20 292.50 255.00
mtgoxEUR 237.0000 13,258.27 233.96 234.00 237.00 195.60
btcdeEUR 212.0000 3,530.09 216.12 220.00 251.97 185.00
mtgoxJPY 30487.2040 2,994.61 30500.00 31186.45 31650.00 25597.96
bitcurexPLN 900.0500 2,796.03 891.00 910.00 910.00 779.50
mtgoxGBP 200.0000 1,743.34 197.00 198.71 200.00 166.50
btceRUR 8900.0000 1,383.13 8870.00 8890.00 8998.99 7900.00
virtexCAD 293.0100 1,377.72 293.01 295.00 297.99 260.51
mtgoxAUD 334.0000 1,163.03 330.10 336.64 339.48 280.00
localbtcGBP 212.4600 1,041.78 211.54 137.40 1142.68 166.67
cbxUSD 284.9500 978.85 281.01 284.96 291.13 245.01
localbtcUSD 356.9800 880.74 1172.00 131.40 500.15 202.99
mtgoxPLN 978.0000 728.57 964.99 979.88 990.00 825.00
btceEUR 218.6770 674.37 216.50 218.34 222.93 185.00
virwoxSLL 70000.0000 418.72 68708.00 70000.00 70000.00 62337.00
localbtcEUR 217.8500 360.38 286.92 129.54 299.62 136.25
mtgoxCAD 334.5000 273.24 330.00 334.35 336.74 272.77
kptnSEK 1850.0000 252.13 1850.00 1889.50 1950.00 1731.73
localbtcAUD 314.1800 170.56 429.73 256.73 367.57 210.03
mrcdBRL 788.9900 154.78 752.74 788.99 797.15 671.00
bitcurexEUR 212.0000 133.52 209.00 212.00 225.01 190.00
rockEUR 217.9900 110.53 210.00 219.80 220.00 190.01
localbtcCAD 345.8800 92.40 341.58 295.00 369.57 257.56
bitcashCZK 6000.0000 85.81 5890.00 6000.00 6250.00 4850.00
rippleXRP 30999.0000 84.58 30502.00 31888.00 35453.94 30501.00
bitnzNZD 399.0000 82.53 366.00 399.90 400.00 320.00
justNOK 1839.0000 74.73 1718.00 1823.46 1839.00 1596.86
btcmarketsAUD 320.0000 49.63 295.00 320.00 320.00 257.00
bit2cILS 980.0000 47.63 980.00 1000.00 989.00 888.00
mtgoxCHF 284.0000 46.81 284.15 295.72 290.47 249.00
fybsgSGD 383.0000 34.44 350.00 375.00 384.00 316.50
fybseSEK 1800.0000 33.48 1800.00 1870.00 1870.00 1690.00
mtgoxNZD 378.1942 31.09 368.39 382.44 378.19 350.00
mtgoxHKD 2360.2646 20.13 2393.62 2491.22 2502.36 2315.00
mtgoxCNY 1840.0000 16.50 1881.10 1952.86 1964.94 1662.77
crytrUSD 282.9900 16.49 261.00 290.00 290.00 259.00
justEUR 202.0050 15.86 209.70 212.40 212.21 196.52
bidxtrmPLN 900.0000 15.60 854.59 940.00 940.50 789.99
localbtcMXN 4247.7400 14.20 4036.08 3982.99 4798.00 3540.81
bitxZAR 3180.0000 13.27 3180.00 3250.00 3420.00 3110.00
localbtcINR 18085.3200 13.24 18526.01 19289.79 18906.60 15580.39
localbtcNOK 1892.2400 12.71 1882.52 1936.54 1892.24 1580.99
localbtcSGD 297.5000 11.42 360.01 471.57 353.86 297.50
mtgoxSEK 2038.6310 10.98 2012.59 2089.33 2074.72 1822.68
localbtcHKD 1986.5500 10.27 2302.31 2455.72 2427.89 1986.55
mtgoxSGD 392.5262 9.87 383.95 399.60 392.53 364.28
localbtcZAR 4059.7400 9.72 3081.16 4118.38 4059.74 2771.29
localbtcCHF 263.7700 8.91 271.91 281.62 313.44 217.13
localbtcARS 2755.6600 8.70 2700.00 2756.99 2900.00 2495.00
intrsngEUR 215.0000 8.52 212.39 215.00 225.00 198.96
justLTC 30.0000 6.30 41.00 69.70 74.73 30.00
localbtcBRL 751.7500 5.49 706.99 763.23 758.02 657.78
anxhkHKD 2299.9474 4.87 2152.00 3100.00 2300.00 1858.00
bitkonanUSD 281.0000 4.58 280.01 348.00 426.00 269.00
localbtcNZD 435.0900 4.35 370.00 325.18 435.09 341.89
mtgoxRUB 9568.3347 3.69 9993.74 10401.07 10185.47 8642.51
justUSD 287.7700 3.31 282.60 305.62 287.77 259.32
localbtcDKK 1516.5400 3.00 1545.54 1780.26 1516.54 1516.54
localbtcSEK 1524.3500 2.96 2326.20 2068.46 1642.05 1524.35
localbtcCZK 4782.6800 2.93 5855.87 6387.74 5255.69 4765.67
localbtcPLN 946.4000 2.88 995.66 945.00 946.40 946.40
rippleUSD 259.0000 1.56 260.00 300.00 295.00 250.00
localbtcRUB 9583.9700 1.37 9577.25 9778.81 9667.79 9518.59
justXRP 29000.0000 1.07 29000.00 34900.00 35000.00 29000.00
localbtcTHB 8927.5200 1.00 9487.26 8396.13 8927.52 8927.52
rockUSD 280.0000 0.90 268.00 299.00 280.00 268.00
crytrEUR 207.0000 0.61 207.00 280.00 214.00 207.00
intrsngGBP 69.3600 0.05 68.94 69.36 69.36 69.36

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[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnon_EfCWRc 450 300]

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The ‘Creation Myth’ of Bitcoin

“Bitcoin, an online-only currency scarcely four years old, is breaking out to new highs this week and now sports a total value of $2.8 billion.  Just a few months ago, it looked like this economic experiment as the world’s first decentralized technology-based form of money would crash and burn.  Since then, ConvergEx’s Nick Colas points out that the U.S. government has shut down a large drug website which accepted bitcoins and promised further scrutiny of its uses; and omputer science experts have warned that bitcoin is neither especially private – one of its notional values – or especially well constructed.  The market doesn’t seem to care, with incremental demand from U.S. citizens (through Second Market) and Chinese nationals leading the path higher. Could bitcoin still fail? Sure.  But, as Colas notes, its success to date speaks to how much the world is changing…  Technology – properly packaged – can engender enough trust to develop a new asset class.

Bitcoin will eventually have to develop a lot more infrastructure to be a useful global currency, to be sure.  But there’s close to $3 billion of real money to help back that transition.

Via ConvergEx’s Nick Colas,

Bitcoin – The Lazarus Currency

Every great religion, or company, or country, or rock band has a dramatic ‘Creation myth’ – the story of its birth.  The Judeo-Christian tradition has the story of God creating the world in seven days.  Google has the grad-student thesis story.  American culture is still informed by the Revolutionary War.  And where would the Rolling Stones be if Keith hadn’t chatted up Mick on the train, just because he holding some new R&B albums from the States?

Bitcoin, the online-only stateless currency, has its own creation myth and it is purpose-made to appeal to exactly the kind of people who would find value in it.  The highlights are:

The original design for bitcoin comes from a 2008 paper published by a person named Satoshi Nakamoto.  Who, by the by, doesn’t actually exist.


Bitcoin’s basic architecture is decentralized – no one is “In control.”  People with fast computers and some coding skills compete to solve a puzzle created by the algorithm described in Satoshi’s paper.  Simultaneously, they track all the transactions in the bitcoin universe – people and businesses exchanging value for goods and services.  Every ten minutes, on average, some lucky coder – or group of coders – solves the puzzle, gets a few new bitcoins, and validates the transaction list.  Then the whole thing resets and everyone gets to work on the next puzzle.


In principle, this process leaves everyone exchanging or “mining” (cracking the code gets you 25 bitcoins currently) anonymously in the system.  Everything in bitcoin is identified with a nearly-impossible-to-crack coding of letters and numbers.  No names, phone numbers, or addresses needed.

Now, who do you think would find this creation story appealing?  A few candidates:

Tech savvy people, who by their nature and high-functioning professional skills tend to have a few shekels lying around? Yep – classic early adopters.


Then there might be independence-minded older white males in the U.S., ticked off by the Federal Reserve and government in general.  Yes, they like the story as well.


And then there are the criminals – drug dealers and so forth – who might not know a creation myth from crystal meth, but appreciate the potential for secrecy.


Offshore millionaires from essentially anywhere in the world, looking for classic diversification and a liquid investment.  All you need to access your bitcoins is that long alphanumeric key and a local bank account which links to a ‘Wallet’ – an online repository to hold the currency.  Deposit money in China, write down the key, fly to Monaco and go into an Internet café.  Easy-peasy.

The basic appeal of this “Genesis” creation story lit a fire under bitcoin, starting at the beginning of 2012 at around $5 and ending up in a spectacular bubble top at $240 in April 2013.  The cause of that peak – overwhelming tulip-bulbish demand for bitcoin – was its undoing.  Exchanges where people went to trade dollars or euros for bitcoin couldn’t keep up with the volume.  Accounts froze or moved very slowly, and confidence in the currency dropped, along with the price.  Just a few days after the $240 high, bitcoin was trading for less than $60…..”

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$TWTR Prices 70 Million Shares at $26

“Twitter Inc. priced its shares at $26 apiece for an initial public offering of 70 million shares that will be the biggest U.S. technology IPO since Facebook Inc. FB -1.97% ‘s debut last year.

The short-messaging service priced shares a dollar higher the range it set earlier this week, giving the company a market capitalization of $14.4 billion.

The deal is set to raise as much as $2.1 billion for the San Francisco-based company, which remains unprofitable but which has transformed public discussion on subjects from celebrities to public policy to pets.

The price of $26 is available primarily to large investors such as mutual funds and hedge funds, as well as some of the individual clients of the banks underwriting the deal, led by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.GS +0.97% Other investors should be able to buy the stock Thursday when shares are expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange NYX +0.78% under the symbol TWTR.

The average one-day “pop,” or price rise, for U.S. listed IPOs this year is 17%, the highest since 2000. Six companies so far this year have doubled in price on their first day, Dealogic said.

The banks aimed to place the bulk of the shares with a relatively small number of long-term investors, they added. About three quarters of the shares were set to be placed with around 30 investors, the people said.

Retail investors, including customers of some online brokerages and brokerages affiliated with the investment banks on the deal, were slated to receive less than 20% of the offering, people familiar with the plan said. That total could change in the final pricing. Facebook placed a larger amount of its shares, 26%, through retail channels. TD Ameritrade HoldingCorp. AMTD +0.91% and Fidelity Investments both expected to receive Twitter shares from underwriters for some customers….”

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S-1 Additions Put $TWTR in the Crosshairs of $IBM

“As Twitter embarks on its initial public offering roadshow, the company has issued another update to its S-1 today with a curveball. IBM has recently issued a letter to Twitter alleging that it infringes on “at least three U.S. patents” held by IBM, “inviting us to negotiate a business resolution of the allegations.” The disclosure comes at the same time that Twitter has also raised its IPO estimate to $23-25 per share, up from the previous $17-20 — a sign of Twitter’s confidence that despite details like the IBM note, it’s expecting a strong turnout when it lists.

The S-1 filing appears to indicate that although IBM is seeking a settlement over the alleged infringement, it looks like Twitter is ready to defend itself. “We believe we have meritorious defenses to IBM’s allegations, although there can be no assurance that we will be successful in defending against these allegations or reaching a business resolution that is satisfactory to us,” the company writes.

The specific patents in question are U.S. Patent No. 6,957,224: Efficient retrieval of uniform resource locators; U.S. Patent No. 7,072,849: Method for presenting advertising in an interactive service; and U.S. Patent No. 7,099,862: Programmatic discovery of common contacts.

The note appears in an update to the S-1 that offers extended caveats on how patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets are frequently the subject of litigation. Twitter admits that it’s not a strong player in this area.

“Many companies in these industries, including many of our competitors, have substantially larger patent and intellectual property portfolios than we do, which could make us a target for litigation as we may not be able to assert counterclaims against parties that sue us for patent, or other intellectual property infringement,” it writes, with a special flag for trolls: “In addition, various ‘non-practicing entities’ that own patents and other intellectual property rights often attempt to aggressively assert claims in order to extract value from technology companies.”

Although Twitter has shown itself up to now to be a very developer-friendly player in the patent space, it is salvos like IBM’s that may prove to test that resolve, especially as Twitter continues to evolve its service and move into new areas — a point it also makes, adding that right now it’s also potentially liable for claims against its partners and customers, too….”

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In Our Wake

“October was Iraq’s deadliest month since April, 2008. In those five and a half years, not only has there been no improvement in Iraq’s security situation, but things have gotten much worse. More than 1,000 people were killed in Iraq last month, the vast majority of them civilians. Another 1,600 were wounded, as car bombs, shootings, and other attacks continue to maim and murder.

As post-“liberation” Iraq spirals steadily downward, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was in Washington last week to plead for more assistance from the United States to help restore order to a society demolished by the 2003 US invasion. Al-Qaeda has made significant recent gains, Maliki told President Obama at their meeting last Friday, and Iraq needs more US military aid to combat its growing influence.

Obama pledged to work together with Iraq to address al-Qaeda’s growing presence, but what was not said was that before the US attack there was no al-Qaeda in Iraq. The appearance of al-Qaeda in Iraq coincided with the US attack. They claimed we had to fight terror in Iraq, but the US invasion resulted in the creation of terrorist networks where before there were none. What a disaster.

Maliki also told President Obama last week that the war in next-door Syria was spilling over into Iraq, with the anti-Assad fighters setting off bombs and destabilizing the country. Already more than 5,000 people have been killed throughout Iraq this year, and cross-border attacks from Syrian rebels into Iraq are increasing those numbers. Again, what was not said was that the US government had supported these anti-Assad fighters both in secret and in the open for the past two years.

Earlier in the week a group of Senators – all of whom had supported the 2003 US invasion of Iraq – sent a strongly-worded letter to Obama complaining that Maliki was far too close to the Iranian government next door. …”

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$GS Expects Forward Looking Dovish Statements From the Fed on Rate Hike Threshold

“The extreme experiment of current US monetary policy has evolved (as we noted yesterday), from explicit end-dates, to unlimited end-dates, to threshold-based end-dates. Of course, this ‘threshold’ was no problem for the liquidty whores when unemployment rates were extremely high themselves, but as the world awoke to what we have been pointing out – that it’s all a mirage of collapsing participation rates – the FOMC (and sell-side strategists) realized that the endgame may be ‘too close’. Cue Goldman’s Jan Hatzius, who in today’s note, citing two influential Fed staff economists, shifts the base case and forecasts that the Fed will lower its threshold for rate hikes to 6.0% (and perhaps as low as 5.5%) as early as December (as a dovish forward-guidance balance to an expected Taper announcement).


Via Goldman Sachs,

  • The most senior Fed staff economists for monetary policy analysis and domestic macroeconomics, William English and David Wilcox, havepublished separate studies that imply a strong case for a reduction in the 6.5% unemployment threshold for the first funds rate hike. We have proposed such a move for some time, but have been unsure whether it would in fact happen. And while the uncertainty around near-term Fed policy remains very considerable, our baseline view is now that the FOMC will reduce its 6.5% threshold to 6% at the March 2014 FOMC meeting, alongside the first tapering of QE. A move as early as the December 2013 meeting is possible, and if so, this might also increase the probability of an earlier tapering of QE.

It is hard to overstate the importance of two new Fed staff studies that will be presented at the IMF’s annual research conference on November 7-8. The lead author for the first study is William English, who is the director of the Monetary Affairs division and the Secretary and Economist of the FOMC. The lead author for the second study is David Wilcox, who is the director of the Research and Statistics division and the Economist of the FOMC. The fact that the two most senior Board staffers in the areas of monetary policy analysis and domestic macroeconomics have simultaneously published detailed research papers on central issues of the economic and monetary policy outlook is highly unusual and noteworthy in its own right. But the content and implications of these papers are even more striking.

It will take us some time to absorb the sizable amounts of new analysis in the two studies, and we are only able to comment on a few selected aspects at this point. But our initial assessment is that they considerably increase the probability that the FOMC will reduce its 6.5% unemployment threshold for the first hike in the federal funds rate, either coincident with the first tapering of its QE program or before.

The first study, written by William English, David Lopez-Salido, and Robert Tetlow and entitled “The Federal Reserve’s Framework for Monetary Policy–Recent Changes and New Questions,” uses a smaller version of the staff’s large-scale econometric model FRB/US to analyze the optimal path for the federal funds rate. Using “small FRB/US,” a set of assumptions about Fed preferences, and a set of assumptions about the baseline performance of the economy, the authors find that the theoretically optimal policy involves a commitment to hold the federal funds rate near zero until 2017, followed by a series of hikes that push the rate well above neutral by the early 2020s. In this simulation, the unemployment rate falls below the structural rate for a time, and inflation rises modestly above the 2% target. (The optimal policy in the English et al. study is more aggressive than that shown in Vice Chair Yellen’s earlier set of optimal control simulations, which points to the first hike in early 2016; the reasons seem to include a lower assumption for the structural unemployment rate and a later baseline for the first hike in the funds rate.)

However, the authors note that such an optimal policy is possibly infeasible because it is complex and model-dependent….”

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Technical Analysis Suggests the Bull Market is on a Short Leash

“Current Position of the Market

SPX: Very Long-term trend – The very-long-term cycles are in their down phases, and if they make their lows when expected (after this bull market is over), there will be another steep decline into late 2014. However, the severe correction of 2007-2009 may have curtailed the full downward pressure potential of the 40-yr and 120-yr cycles.

Intermediate trend – SPX initial top in place.

Analysis of the short-term trend is done on a daily basis with the help of hourly charts. It is an important adjunct to the analysis of daily and weekly charts which discusses the course of longer market trends.

Market Overview

… For some indices, probably. For the SPX, DOW, and NDX, perhaps not! I mentioned some time ago that I expected a minor top to form which would be followed by the final short-term uptrend. That minor top came at 1775 on SPX — three points beyond the 1772 target I had in place since the 1646 low was confirmed – and the minor correction is under way. Although Friday saw an intra-channel bounce, there are some indications that it was only a rally in a downtrend and that the final minor low is still ahead. After that, we should experience the final up-phase of the bull market which will either re-test the tops, or make new highs in the indices listed above. The DOW has recovered and managed to eke out a fractional new high which was celebrated on CNBC last week. Indexes which tend to lead, such as RUT, experienced the most weakness in last week’s correction.

The mood on Wall Street is very bullish, most individuals believing that as long as the Fed continues its purchases at the same rate, the market will continue to rise. Now that tapering has most likely been put off until next year, the bull market is expected to continue. According to the SentimenTrader:“Active fund managers have added to their exposure to stocks and are now carrying among their heaviest loads in 7 years”.

Cycles, however, may be telling a different story and, if some of the more reliable cycle analysts are correct, the bull is on a very short leash. Also waving a red flag, sentiment indicators are reaching levels that are seen at important tops. If you are an investor, it’s time to become wary!

Chart Analysis

Even though the DOW is trying to catch up….”

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$FB 2.0? $TWTR Raises IPO Price by 25%

“This morning’s announcement of the 25% rise in the IPO price of Twitter raised a few eyebrows across Wall and Main Street. Most will argue that investors have all learned many lessons in the 18 months since Facebook IPO’d to a clarion call for retail money large and small from every form of media that exists… The following headlines from the pre-IPO suggest, unfortunately, that we learned absolutely nothing…”


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New Report Says Defense Department and CIA Health Professionals Violated Professional Ethics Standards

“WASHINGTON (AP) — A report by a medical task force says Defense Department and CIA health professionals violated professional ethics standards by helping to develop interrogation and torture techniques and participating in force-feeding of terror suspects over the last decade.

While reports of torture following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 are not new, the report by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession said the U.S. should do a full investigation into how much military and intelligence physicians and psychologists participated in the interrogations, saying the record “remains fragmentary.”

The report, compiled by a 20-member task force, says that government agencies improperly used legal restrictions rather than ethical standards to determine the actions of health professionals. And it said heath workers must be held to higher ethical standards than interrogators, who can inflict stress to legal limits.

“A health professional has an obligation not to participate in acts that deliberately impose pain or suffering on a person,” said the report, which was also funded by the Open Society Foundations and is titled, Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the War on Terror. It added that replacing ethical standards with legal ones “eviscerates the ethical standards.”

Billionaire and longtime liberal political donor George Soros funds Open Society Foundations.

The report said that medical professionals were used to advise interrogators on how to exploit detainee vulnerabilities, even as they were required to be present in order to protect detainees from severe harm. And the report said that even today reporting requirements for health professionals who witness abuse are unclear.

CIA spokesman Dean Boyd said the report “contains serious inaccuracies and erroneous conclusions,” adding that the CIA has no detainees in custody and that the interrogation program was ended by President Barack Obama in 2009. He said the CIA’s medical staff upholds “the highest standards of their profession in the work they perform,”

The ongoing debate ….”

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$EBAY: “Its Payment Unit PayPal May One Day Incorporate BitCoin.”

“First it was China hinting that where Silk Road failed in monetizing, pardon the pun, BitCoin, the world’s most populous nation could soon take the lead. Then, none other than private equity titan Fortress said it had great expectations for the digital currency. Now, it is eBay’s turn to announce that it is preparing to expand the range of digital currencies it accepts, adding that “its payment unit PayPal may one day incorporate BitCoin.” But not just yet. FT reports that according to eBay CEO John Donahoe, “digital currency is going to be a very powerful thing.”

The ecommerce group, which has more than 124m active users, is initially focusing on incorporating reward points from retailers’ loyalty schemes into its PayPal wallet.


“We are building the container so any retailer could put their loyalty points into the PayPal wallet,” Mr Donahoe said.


“There is a limit to how many cards you will carry, or remembering what points you have or don’t have,” he said. “But in a digital wallet, you can put 50 different loyalty cards.”


Mr Donahoe said Ebay was not expanding the PayPal wallet to include Bitcoins, “but we are watching it”.


“That same technology could accept other digital currencies,” he said.

While traditional retailers have so far balked at even the vaguest idea of considering allowing BitCoin as a viable payment method, all that would take to start a seismic shift in perception would be one angel idea “investor” to show that it can be done. ….”

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