By Michael Lombardi, Profit Confidential: If you ask me where the U.S. economy is going, I will say “nowhere.” The US economy is stalling. We have no economic growth. For a moment, let’s ignore the show being put on by Congress and its effects on the economy.
In its report on shadow banking, the New York Fed buried some nuggets: Hedge funds and banks are bailing out of the highest-risk “opaque” but now relatively low-yielding loans – low yielding thanks to the Fed’s repressive monetary policies – by selling them to small investors via harmless-sounding and conservative-appearing mutual funds and ETFs.
By Dennis Miller: In sports, you don’t blindly use a strategy without considering your opponent’s next move, strengths, and weaknesses. To win, you have to adapt. While the investment world can seem like the same old game with the same old rules, it’s always changing around the edges. If you don’t adapt, you won’t win this game either.
It is starting to show up in the numbers: the debt-ceiling and government-shutdown debacles are worming their way into the economy. Americans blame the already single most disparaged institution, Congress, for it and have started to react economically. Clicks of seatbelts being fastened can be heard around the world.
That's the question for Treasury Secretary Lew and Fed Chairman Bernanke during the debt-ceiling charade; it seems they’re boxed into a contradictory situation where one of them will have to break one of the laws, whether they want to or not, writes Vincent Reinhart, managing director at Morgan Stanley and former head of the Fed’s monetary division.
The Oktoberfest, one of the biggest beer binge events in the world, is closely watched for economic trends. Alas, this year was the second year in a row when, despite Teutonic organizational ingenuity and marketing muscle, the number of visitors and, most crucially, beer consumption “unexpectedly” dropped (as if we didn't have enough bad news already).
After Snatching Olympics, Japan Suddenly Admits Fukushima Not “Under Control,” Begs For International Help
As the Fukushima fiasco hobbled from cover-ups to partial revelations, mega-utility TEPCO – famous for its parsimoniousness with the truth and lackadaisical handling of the fiasco – always pretended the situation was under control. But days after Tokyo scored the 2020 Olympics, that pretense fell apart. Now Prime Minister Abe begged for international help.
By Don Quijones: If recent reports from the Spanish government are to be believed, the Spanish economy is now officially out of the woods. Not only is the worst behind it, but it’s now positively humming along at a growth rate of, um, 0.1% per year. It is, as Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro put it, a “lesson to the world.” Oh really?
Wachovia and other banks funded the $7.4 billion debt portion of the Extended Stay LBO, knowing the company was worth only $4.8 billion at the most. The loan was then rolled into structured finance securities – "designed to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse," David Stockman writes – and stuffed into the Wall Street meth labs until the very end.
By Dennis Miller: I am delighted to have Nick Giambruno, the senior editor of International Man, in our hot seat. Nick is an expert on all things international. From international real estate to international government regulation to international business, Nick is the go-to guy. And he explains the critical importance of internationalizing your retirement savings
Apple has become a legal juggernaut. It’s taking on everyone and everything for presumed violations of its patents and trademarks. Billions are at stake. Its bitten-into-apple logo is sacred. The color red is sacred. So are red apples of any kind, apparently. Then it tried to squash a cafe in Germany, owned by a stubborn entrepreneur with a vision.
By Michael Lombardi, Profit Confidential: This year, the S&P 500 has run up 18%. At this pace, by the end of 2013, it will be up 24%. As my doubts about the key stock indices mount, some in the mainstream say the market will only go higher. Bloomberg claims the movement we see now is a duplicate of what we saw in 1954 – when the S&P 500 rose 45%.
“I’m calling for zero nuclear power,” said Junichiro Koizumi at a lecture in Nagoya. Hugely popular prime minister from 2001 to 2006, he'd groomed Shinzo Abe to become his successor. Abe, now again PM, is trying to restore the scandal-plagued nuclear industry to its former glory. But Koizumi’s words ripped into his policies – and are having an impact.
By Dennis Miller: I pity the poor soul who just retired and put a good chunk of his 401(k) in “safe” utility stocks on May 1, thinking he would have nothing to worry about. Newton's third law – every action has an equal and opposite reaction – is at it again. When the Fed started speaking about tapering, yields soared, and slammed utilities.
By Don Quijones: The Spanish premier Mariano Rajoy, steeped in a huge corruption scandal, took his unique brand of leadership onto the international stage, including the UN – with the most interesting results. While he was at it, he gave an interview on Bloomberg that quickly spiraled into such a disaster that he begged Bloomberg not to publish it. Oh my
Wall Street Brushes Off Debt-Ceiling, Republicans Beg To Differ, But Default Would be “Catastrophic,” And Nothing Is Priced In
Wall Street is convinced the government shutdown won’t hurt unless it drags out too long. It’s even more convinced that Congress would never be crazy enough to refuse to raise the debt ceiling in time and send the mighty and sole superpower, biggest debtor of all times, into default. That risk hasn’t been priced in. But a majority of Republicans begs to differ.
By Lee Adler, The Wall Street Examiner: One of the purposes of the Fed's Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) was ostensibly to allow banks to rebuild their capital through suppressed funding costs and increased profits. Theoretically that would add to their capital. But in this chart, we see that the growth rate of bank capital has fallen to zero.
A quarterly survey by the Bank of Japan brought a dose of reality to the glorious hype surrounding Abenomics, whose stated beneficiaries are the big banks and Japan Inc., including the formerly omnipotent nuclear power industry that Abenomics is trying to restore to its glory. But consumers are struggling with reality, apparently.
Supercar-makers Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Rolls-Royce are reacting to the forces whacking global markets for luxury products: a corruption crackdown in China, Abenomics in Japan, and the Fed’s money-printing in the US. The idea that sales in China, which is printing billionaires by the dozens, are crashing is a hard-to-swallow concept for the industry.
By Tim Parker, Benzinga Staff Writer: The news that Twitter filed for an IPO was huge, but the company planned to make the filing public this week with the goal of listing its shares within a few months. The process is now on hold; the SEC shut down! At the worst possible time – what might be a market peak! Delaying the IPO could get it caught up in a downdraft.