“We saw what happened yesterday when the unknowable vote went exactly as everyone expected – the supposedly totally-priced-in equity market dumped. Today, the rumor is that a deal is on the cards and sure enough S&P 500 futures ramp almost 20 points. Interestingly, this ramp has stopped just as Gold and stocks have recoupled relative to each other on the week….”Comments »
[youtube://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4Ku17CqdZg 450 300]
Link for iPhone users: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4Ku17CqdZgComments »
“Almost Every Loan, If Not Every Loan is Fraud…No Loan Was Made
“Four economists, including a former Federal Reserve governor who has co-written research with Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, warned that losses from the central bank’s more than $3 trillion balance sheet could lead to the Fed losing control of monetary policy.
“The combination of a massively expanded central bank balance sheet and an unsustainable public debt trajectory is a mix that has the potential to substantially reduce the flexibility of monetary policy,” the economists write. “This mix could induce a bias toward slower exit or easier policy, and be seen as the first step toward fiscal dominance. It could thereby be the cause of longer-term inflation expectations and raise the risk of inflation overall.”
The conclusion from economists, including Frederic Mishkin, a governor at the central bank from 2006 to 2008 and an academic collaborator with Bernanke before that, will be presented at the U.S. Monetary Policy Forum in New York. Their paper serves as a high-profile warning to an audience including Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren, Fed Governor Jerome Powell and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard.
The central bank is currently purchasing $85 billion a month of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities, following two previous rounds totaling $2.3 trillion, in an effort to lower an unemployment rate stuck near 7.9 percent. Once the economy strengthens, the central bank plans to unwind its balance sheet by raising interest rates and selling many of the assets acquired over the past four years.
Substantial Losses…”Comments »
“German business confidence rose more than economists forecast to a 10-month high in February, adding to signs that Europe’s largest economy is gathering strength.
The Ifo institute in Munich said its business climate index, based on a survey of 7,000 executives, climbed to 107.4 from 104.3 in January. That’s the biggest increase since July 2010 and the fourth straight monthly gain. Economists predicted an advance to 104.9, according to the median of 38 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey….”Comments »
“Think the Walmart “disastrous” sales memo was a one-off event, which net of Walmart’s damage should be completely ignored (something the market has been perfectly happy to oblige with)? Then listen to a separate perspective on the US consumer, this time from a very different angle: that of Town Sports International which operates such gyms as New York Sports Club, and specifically its CEO David Gallagher, who in last night’s conference call just confirmed what everyone knows: “As we moved into January membership trends were tracking to expectations in the first half of the month, but fell off track and did not meet our expectations in the second half of the month. We believe the driver of this was the rapid decline in consumer sentiment that has been reported and is connected to the reduction in net pay consumers earn given the changes in tax rates that went into effect in January.”
It goes on….”Comments »
“A little victory both for Amazon and the world of virtual commerce, today: the online retailer has topped the ranking for best reputation in a poll of 14,000 U.S. consumers, according to Harris Interactive. Apple, which was last year’s winner, slipped down to number-two. At number four, Google was the other tech company to make the top-five in the Harris Poll, now in its 14th year, with Disney (#2) and Johnson&Johnson (#5) rounding out the close list. The full report is embedded below.
Technology also stood out in the rankings in another way: it topped Harris’ list of industries for overall reputation dominance, with a 79% positive reputation. Another marker of how tech continues to become increasingly mainstream.
Consumers are asked to give their assessment on how well companies do in the areas of products and services; financial performance; workplace environment; social responsibility; vision and leadership; and emotional appeal. In these rankings, Amazon topped the list for emotional appeal, where it ranked some five points ahead of any other company, “despite an entirely virtual relationship with the public.”
And crucially, at a time when Amazon is getting more involved in its own-brand hardware and business and consumer cloud services, it also beat out others in the category of products and services. There were some hints of how this might play out back in September, when Apple only just narrowly beat out Amazon for highest reputation ranking for its iPad tablet line versus Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets, based on a similar poll from JD Power…..”Comments »
“WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Confidence among U.S. small businesses rose in January as owners anticipated better business conditions in the next six months, despite higher taxes and loominggovernment spending cuts.
The National Federation of Independent Business said on Tuesday its optimism index increased 0.9percentage point to 88.9 last month, pulling further from a 2-1/2 year low hit in November.
The improvement in sentiment came even as a payroll tax cut expired on January 1. Big automatic spending cuts are also set to take hold in March unless the U.S. Congress acts.
Owners’ outlook for business conditions in the next six months improved five points. There were also modest improvements in their views on profits, sales, credit availability and capital investment.
Even more encouraging was a gain in the share of owners creating jobs and those reporting difficulties filling job openings.
However, few owners are convinced this is a good time to expand their operations and there is little urgency to add inventories.”Comments »
“U.K. services unexpectedly grew at the fastest pace in four months in January, indicating the economy may avoid an unprecedented triple-dip recession.
A gauge of activity surged to 51.5, the highest since September, from 48.9 in December, Markit Economics and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply said in London today. Economists had forecast an increase to 49.5, according to the median of 33 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. Another report showed euro-area services shrank less than initially estimated in January….”Comments »
This is the third time i’ve seen this commentary today perusing my usual web haunts for articles. Since i found it this time on Z.H. i thought it would make for a good evening read.
“In our modern world there exist certain institutions of power. Not government committees, alphabet agencies, corporate lobbies, or even standard military organizations; no, these are the mere “middle-men” of power. The errand boys. The well paid hitmen of the global mafia. They are not the strategists or the decision makers.
Instead, I speak of institutions which introduce the newest paradigms. Who write the propaganda. Who issue the orders from on high. I speak of the hubs of elitism which have initiated nearly every policy mechanism of our government for the past several decades. I am talking about the Council On Foreign Relations, the Tavistock Institute, the Heritage Foundation (a socialist organization posing as conservative), the Bilderberg Group, as well as the corporate foils that they use to enact globalization, such as Monsanto, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, the Carlyle Group, etc.
Many of these organizations and corporations operate a revolving door within the U.S. government. Monsanto has champions, like Donald Rumsfeld who was on the board of directors of its Searle Pharmaceuticals branch, who later went on to help the company force numerous dangerous products including Aspartame through the FDA. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have a veritable merry-go-round of corrupt banking agents which are appointed to important White House and Treasury positions on a regular basis REGARDLESS of which party happens to be in office. Most prominent politicians are all members of the Council on Foreign Relations, an organization which has openly admitted on multiple occasions that their goal is the destruction of U.S. sovereignty and the formation of a “one world government” or “supranational union” (their words, not mine).
However, one organization seems to rear its ugly head at the forefront of the most sweeping mass propaganda operations of our time, and has been linked to the creation of the most atrocious military methodologies, including the use of false flag events. I am of course referring to the Rand Corporation, a California based “think tank” whose influence reaches into nearly every sphere of our society, from politics, to war, to entertainment.
The Rand Corporation deals in what I would call “absolute gray”. The goal of the group from its very inception was to promote a social atmosphere of moral ambiguity in the name of personal and national priority. They did this first through the creation of “Rational Choice Theory”; a theory which prescribes that when making any choice, an individual (or government) must act as if balancing costs against benefits to arrive at an action that maximizes personal advantage. Basically, the ends justify the means, and moral conscience is not a factor to be taken seriously if one wishes to be successful.
Hilariously, rational choice theory has been attacked in the past by pro-socialist (collectivist) critics as “extreme individualism”; a philosophy which gives us license to be as “self serving” as possible while feeling patriotic at the same time. In reality, the socialists should have been applauding Rand Corporation all along.
What Rand had done through its propaganda war against the American people was to infuse the exact culture of selfishness needed to push the U.S. towards the socialist ideal. At the onset of any communist or national socialist society (sorry socialists, but they do indeed come from the same collectivist mindset), the masses are first convinced to hand over ultimate power to the establishment in order to safeguard THEMSELVES, not others. That is to say, the common collectivist man chooses to hand over his freedoms and participate in totalitarianism not because he wants what is best for the world, but because he wants what is best for himself, and he believes servitude to the system will get him what he wants with as little private sacrifice as possible (you know, except for his soul…).
The psychologist Carl Jung notes in his observations of collectivism in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia that most citizens of those nations did not necessarily want the formation of a tyrannical oligarchy, but, they went along with it anyway because they feared for their own comfort and livelihoods. Many a German supported the Third Reich simply because they did not want to lose a cushy job, or a steady paycheck, or they liked that the “trains ran on time”. Socialism is by far the most selfish movement in history, despite the fact that they claim to do what they do “for the greater good of the greater number”.
Rand also used Rational Choice Theory as a means to remove questions of principle from the debate over social progress. Rational Choice propaganda commonly presents the target audience with a false conundrum. A perfect example would be the hardcore propaganda based television show ‘24’ starring Kiefer Sutherland, in which a government “anti-terrorism” agent is faced with a controlled choice scenario in nearly every episode. This choice almost always ends with the agent being forced to set aside his morals and conscience to torture, kill, and destroy without mercy, or, allow millions of innocents to die if he does not.
Of course, the real world does not work this way. Life is not a chess game. Avenues to resolution of any crisis are limited only by our imagination and intelligence, not to mention the immense number of choices that could be made to defuse a crisis before it develops. Yet, Rand would like you to believe that we (and those in government) are required to become monstrous in order to survive. That we should be willing to forgo conscience and justice now for the promise of peace and tranquility later.
This is the age old strategy of Centralization; to remove all choices within a system, by force or manipulation, until the masses think they have nothing left but the choices the elites give them. It is the bread and butter of elitist institutions like Rand Corporation, and is at the core of the push for globalization.
In my studies on the developing economic disaster….”Comments »
Ever since the beginning of the great recession i was verbally chastised for placing blame with the crowd soon to be coined vampire squids.
Slowly over the years the media has helped to defend the banksters in placing blame in the home owners and government institutions like Fannie and Freddie.
Not that I’m a fan of Freddie, Fannie & Homer Simpson, but it has always been the streets motto to sell anything and everything. The less the client knew in some cases was the better.
While it is important to do your homework; many investors and customers lend a fair amount of trust and faith to their financial adviser.
This article only justifies why RICO laws were broken with complicity.
True blame can only lie largely with one party while institutions like Fannie and Freddie were systematically used and exploited to repeat the process.
While some Homer Simpsons bot a little more than they could chew, some over did it in their investment portfolio’s, and some were downright idiotic in their purchases; for the most part we all know where the true blame lies.
“LONDON (Reuters) – The world economy should perform slightly better this year because recovering growth in Asia will gradually overpower the political and economic malaise in the West, according to Reuters polls.
The latest surveys of more than 600 economists worldwide, released on Wednesday, showed global economic growth is likely to hit 3.3 percent this year following an expected 3.1 percent growth in 2012 – a slight cut to forecasts from a poll three months ago.
The outlook for this year hinges to a certain extent on whether emerging economies such as China and Brazil finally deliver the upturn that many economists had expected in 2012.
The main threats to the stability of the world economy lie in Europe and the United States, and they have a now-familiar ring to them.
U.S. politicians must again strike a deal in March to avert a potentially severe budget tightening that could stall the world’s No.1 economy, and the global engine with it.
And recession-hit Europe will still drag on its main trading partners for as long as the euro zone’s sovereign debt crisis smolders.
“Our expectation is that it could be a little better than last year globally, but not much,” said Andrew Brigden, chief economist at Fathom Financial Consulting in London.
But there are some reasons for optimism.
“The U.S. will slow, but certainly avoid a recession, we would hope. Most other places will improve slightly…”Comments »
“International investors are the most bullish on stocks in at least 3 1/2 years, with close to two- thirds planning to raise their holdings of equities during the next six months, according to a Bloomberg survey.
As the global financial and business elite gather in Davos for their annual forum, 53 percent of respondents to the Bloomberg Global Poll also say equities will offer the highest return in the next year. That’s a 17 percentage point jump from the last poll in November and the most since the quarterly survey of investors, analysts and traders who subscribe to Bloomberg began in July 2009….”Comments »
“German investor confidence increased to the highest in 2 1/2 years in January, adding to signs that Europe’s largest economy may gather momentum.
The ZEW Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim said its index of investor and analyst expectations, which aims to predict economic developments six months in advance, jumped to 31.5 from 6.9 in December. That’s the highest since May 2010 and the biggest gain in 11 months. Economists forecast an increase to 12, according to the median of 39 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey….”Comments »
“Consumer sentiment unexpectedly deteriorated for a second straight month to its lowest in over a year in January, with many consumers citing the recent fiscal cliff debate in Washington, a survey released on Friday showed.
The sharp drop in sentiment over the last two months coincides with rancorous federal budget negotiations that have led to higher taxes for many Americans.
Just weeks after that deal, President Barack Obama and Republican lawmakers are expected to enter another tough round of negotiations over spending cuts, which could dent consumer confidence still further….”Comments »
“The United States is a nation in decline. Last year the land of the free and the home of the brave came in 10th place in the annual rankings of World’s Happiest Countries. This year the U.S.A. has slipped to 12th.Comments »
“Small investors are getting very bullish on the equity market again. The latest reading from AAII showed the highest level of small investor sentiment since December which was the highest sentiment reading since early 2012. As you can see in the chart below, this puts us above the “extreme bullishness” range that has typically been consistent with a risk equity market environment.
AAII has more details here…”Comments »
“A new analysis of the American Freshman Survey, which has accumulated data for the past 47 years from 9 million young adults, reveals that college students are more likely than ever to call themselves gifted and driven to succeed, even though their test scores and time spent studying are decreasing.
Psychologist Jean Twenge, the lead author of the analysis, is also the author of a study showing that the tendency toward narcissism in students is up 30 percent in the last thirty-odd years.
This data is not unexpected. I have been writing a great deal over the past few years about the toxic psychological impact of media and technology on children, adolescents and young adults, particularly as it regards turning them into faux celebrities—the equivalent of lead actors in their own fictionalized life stories.
On Facebook, young people can fool themselves into thinking they have hundreds or thousands of “friends.” They can delete unflattering comments. They can block anyone who disagrees with them or pokes holes in their inflated self-esteem. They can choose to show the world only flattering, sexy or funny photographs of themselves (dozens of albums full, by the way), “speak” in pithy short posts and publicly connect to movie stars and professional athletes and musicians they “like.”…”Comments »
“Google CEO Larry Page envisions a future in which computers plan your vacations, drive your cars, and anticipate your whims. Audacious? Maybe. But Page’s dreams have a way of coming true.
Note: On Jan 3, as Fortune published this article, the Federal Trade Commission ended its investigation of Google’s search practices saying it found no evidence that the company manipulated search results in violation of antitrust laws. The European Commission and other regulators continue to investigate the issue.
FORTUNE — When Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP Group, the giant advertising agency, visited Google this past fall, CEO Larry Page sent a car to pick him up at the Rosewood Hotel about 20 miles away. Only this was no ordinary car. The Lexus SUV drove itself thanks to a slew of high-tech tools, including radars, sensors, and a laser scanner that takes more than 1.5 million measurements every second. For about 20 minutes, while navigating I-280 and the area’s busy State Route 85, the car cruised on autopilot, making quick course corrections, slowing down here when traffic loomed ahead, speeding up there to get out of the blind spot of a neighboring vehicle. “It was pretty incredible,” says Sorrell.
Page’s chauffeurless car service is no mere parlor trick. It is, as Page will tell anyone who’ll listen, the future of transportation. Never mind that most people think the mere idea of computer-driven cars is (1) preposterous, (2) dangerous, or (3) not much fun. Page makes the case for self-driving cars with the dispassionate logic of an engineer. The father of two young children, Page insists that his pet project, when ready, will actually enhance safety. Soon Google (GOOG) will be able to simulate your driving, “but just make sure you don’t die and kill anybody else,” he tells me during an interview in the private “bullpen” where he meets with his top lieutenants. He methodically enumerates the other advantages of driverless cars. There are energy savings (traffic would flow more efficiently) and productivity gains (commuting hours reclaimed). There will be cost savings too — in the millions of dollars at Google alone. The Googleplex, he says, is short on parking, and quotes for new garages have come in at $40,000 per car. Why not let the car drop you off and go park itself offsite? Page asks. “Whenever you need it,” he adds, “your phone notices that you’re walking out of the building, and your car is there immediately by the time you get downstairs.”Comments »