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  • "Who Do You Trust?"

    Submitted by Ben Hunt of Salient Partners' Epsilon Theory blog,


     

    Seek not the favor of the multitude; it is seldom got by honest and lawful means. But seek the testimony of few; and number not voices, but weigh them.
    ? Immanuel Kant

    Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?
    ? Joseph Welch, counsel for the US Army, confronting Sen. Joseph McCarthy (1954)

    Trust Cramer!
    – CNBC ad campaign

    We are all wrong so often that it amazes me that we can have any conviction at all over the direction of things to come. But we must.
    – Jim Cramer
     

    Pro wrestling is not fake; it's sports entertainment. We go out there and we perform, and a lot of what we do out there is real, but we're not going to insult anyone's intelligence - there is a predetermined winner. It's just the fans don't know who it is, and that's what makes it so intriguing.
    ? Kurt Angle, professional wrestler

    People never understood that there was a Brian and there was the  Boz.They were two completely different people. 

    – Brian Bosworth, flamboyant pro football bust 

    Ginny!" said Mr. Weasley, flabbergasted. "Haven't I taught you anything? What have I always told you? Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain?”
    ? J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998)

    Oliver Sacks is both a gifted neurologist and a gifted writer. I want to begin this note with a passage from his book “An Anthropologist on Mars”. It’s a long selection, but worth the effort.

    He was, I noted, somewhat weak and spastic in all his limbs, more on the left, and more in the legs. He could not stand alone. His eyes showed complete optic atrophy – it was impossible for him to see anything. But strangely, he did not seem to be aware of being blind and would guess that I was showing him a blue ball, a red pen (when in fact it was a green comb and a fob watch that I showed him). Nor indeed did he seem to “look”; he made no special effort to turn in my direction, and when we were speaking, he often failed to face me, to look at me. When I asked him about seeing, he acknowledged that his eyes weren’t “all that good”, but added that he enjoyed “watching” the TV. Watching TV for him, I observed later, consisted of following with attention the soundtrack of a movie or show and inventing visual scenes to go with it (even though he might not even be looking toward the TV). He seemed to think, indeed, that this was what “seeing” meant, that this was what was meant by “watching TV”, and that this was what all of us did. Perhaps he had lost the very idea of seeing.

    I found this aspect of Greg’s blindness, his singular blindness to his blindness, his no longer knowing what “seeing” or “looking” meant, deeply perplexing. It seemed to point to something stranger, and more complex, than a mere “deficit”, to point, rather, to some radical alteration within him in the very structure of knowledge, in consciousness, in identity itself.

           ? Oliver Sacks, “An Anthropologist on Mars” (1995)

    And now for an observation and diagnosis of my own.

    About 3 years ago I was on a flight, sitting in an aisle seat, and I couldn’t help but notice the young couple having a mild argument one row in front of me, across the aisle to my right. As the woman settled into the middle seat, I saw that she had her husband/boyfriend’s name – Randy – tattooed on the back of her neck, and I saw that Randy had the letters T – R – U – S – T tattooed on the fingers of his left hand. When I saw this, I found myself thinking warm thoughts towards the couple. Clearly these were two people from a very different background than my own, but I appreciated the sacrifice and public display each had made to show a commitment to the relationship, and it reminded me of the (non-tattooed) commitment my wife and I have made to each other. I remember thinking, “you know, I bet these crazy kids are going to make it,” even though the argument never seemed to totally fade during the flight.

    The plane landed and we all stood up to disembark, and I remember still smiling to myself as Randy and his wife/girlfriend moved into the aisle, still mildly arguing. And then I saw the letters tattooed on Randy’s right hand.
    N – O – O – N – E

    And just like that my internal Narrative flipped by 180 degrees. I didn’t know what this guy’s name was, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t Randy. I didn’t know what they were arguing about, but I was pretty sure that this wasn’t a relationship built to last.

    I’ve been thinking about that incident a lot recently, not just for what it shows about the malleability of the stories we tell ourselves, but even more so for a really troubling thought: I feel like we all have “TRUST NO ONE” tattooed on us today, and we are poorer investors and allocators, neighbors and citizens as a result. It’s an entirely rational tattoo, the result of years of both abject lies and the far more common (and ultimately far more corrosive) white lies that are at the heart of “communication policy” – the calculated use of public speech for behavioral effect rather than the honest exchange of information.

    Bu it’s not just that we have lost the ability to trust, particularly when it comes to markets and investing. The larger problem is that – like Oliver Sacks’ patient who was blind to his blindness – most of us don’t even recognize that we have lost the ability to trust. Many of us create bizarre simulacra of trust – like the notion that the mass media persona of Jim Cramer is somehow deserving of trust in the same way as a flesh-and-blood financial advisor with a fiduciary responsibility to his clients. Just as Sacks’ patient came to believe that “seeing” meant constructing mental imagery to go along with audio stimuli, and that everyone “saw” this way, so have we come to believe that “trusting” means giving mental allegiance to a disembodied, mediated representation of a human being, and that we all “trust” this way.

    I’m making a big deal out of the distinction between a public persona and a real person because it is, in fact, a big deal when it comes to questions of trust. The “Jim Cramer” we see on TV is not Jim Cramer, any more than “Hulk Hogan” is Terry Bollea, any more than “The Boz” is Brian Bosworth, any more than “Marcus Welby” is Robert Young. But while Marcus Welby was an outright fictional character, and he was clearly understood as such when he was called “the most trusted man in America”, all of the other stage names in this list are presented and re-presented as non-fictional characters, as somehow more “real” than Marcus Welby. And in a way they are more real. Certainly the stage persona of “Jim Cramer” draws heavily from the actual experiences and views of Jim Cramer, but I think the right way to think about this is that Jim Cramer writes the dialog for “Jim Cramer” and performs the role of “Jim Cramer” in a highly personal, improvisational way that Robert Young was never allowed with “Marcus Welby”. Jim Cramer performs “Jim Cramer” in the same way that Terry Bollea performs “Hulk Hogan” – as a serious, non-tongue-in-cheek (which separates these guys from how Stephen Colbert performs “Stephen Colbert”), yet highly stylized representation of a financial adviser and a wrestler, respectively. Both Cramer and Bollea are incredibly talented – if you can’t recognize that Cramer has got some serious market chops, the equivalent of Bollea’s crazy musculature, I don’t know what to tell you – but what makes them so successful in their chosen fields is the combination of these talents with outstanding showmanship and a phenomenal ability to project authenticity. 

    My point is not that mass-mediated financial advice is kinda like professional wrestling. My point is that mass-mediated financial advice is EXACTLY like professional wrestling. And I know that it must seem like I’m slamming Cramer and CNBC and the rest of the mass media financial guru-sphere by equating their efforts with professional wrestling, but I’m really not. I just want to call things by their proper names. I LOVE professional wrestling. Second only to professional politics, professional wrestling demonstrates Narrative creation and execution at an extremely high level of artistry, with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. And it’s NOT a fake representation of wrestling in the way that an episode of “Marcus Welby, M.D.” is a fake representation of medical practice. Professional wrestling is scripted and choreographed, like a TV medical drama, but there are actual athletic feats executed here. It is “real wrestling” in that sense, where there is no “real medicine” being practiced in the filming of “House”. But no one in his right mind believes that professional wrestling is the same thing as Olympic wrestling or collegiate wrestling. Professional wrestling is its own thing – a marvelous and entertaining thing – and it deserves to be understood in that light.

    Well … mass-mediated financial advice is its own thing, too, where Narrative creation and execution is the only thing that matters, and everything you see or read is driven by the economic diktat of driving the Narrative du jour forward. No one in his right mind should believe that mass-mediated financial advice is the same thing as professional, individuated financial advice. And yet here we are, in a world where the notion of trust has become so warped that every day, thousands of investors question the trustworthiness of their flesh-and-blood financial advisors and tens of thousands more act on their own because they trusted a piece of Narrative-driven advice they heard on the TV or read in the newspaper.   

    Why is it so important to distinguish between real people and mass media representations of people when it comes to matters of trust? Because in the wise words of J.K. Rowling, never trust anything that thinks for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain. I know exactly where an individual human being like Jim Cramer keeps his brain, but I have no idea where the brain of “Jim Cramer” resides. It’s certainly not (only) inside the human Jim Cramer, but also within the contract between Jim Cramer and CNBC, within the various humans who produce and executive produce the various shows on which “Jim Cramer” appears, within the corporate imperatives of Comcast and NBC Universal, and a myriad of other locations. The brain of “Jim Cramer” is a thoroughly distributed and hidden set of preferences, totally unlike the brain of Jim Cramer the person, and as a result it is impervious to the tools and strategies that game theorists use to understand and develop trust.

    Game theory can tell us a lot about the construction and preservation of trust between individual decision makers. I can develop a rational basis for trust with Jim Cramer the person (if I knew him), because I can model the pay-offs associated with cooperation (the foundation of trust) and defection (the destruction of trust) within the parameters of a repeated-play strategic interaction (a game). So if I’m some Comcast exec negotiating a new contract with Jim Cramer the person, or if I were an investor in Jim Cramer the person’s hedge fund back in the day, I could use game theory both to measure how much I should trust the guy and to suggest ways to increase the level of trust between us (I won’t develop that idea in this note, but if you’re interested in the subject you should start with Robert Axelrod’s classic book, “The Evolution of Cooperation”).  On the other hand, it is impossible to develop this notion of interpersonal trust with “Jim Cramer” because “Jim Cramer” is not a person and does not possess a person’s discrete, transitive, and ordered set of preferences … a brain. It’s hard for some people to believe this, I know, because CNBC (smartly) does everything in its power to suggest that everyone watching CNBC has a personal relationship with “Jim Cramer”. Well, you don’t. You can’t. “Jim Cramer” is real in exactly the same way that “Hulk Hogan” is real, and trusting in these mass-mediated representations of actual human beings to be somehow more than what they are makes you a sucker. Maybe you won’t see a “heel turn” out of “Jim Cramer” the way you did out of “Hulk Hogan” (the most thrilling 180-degree turn in a Narrative I have ever witnessed), but at some point you will find yourself on the wrong end of a Narrative shift if you trust and rely on “Jim Cramer” or any other mass media persona for your financial advice. I’m not saying that flesh-and-blood financial advisors are always right in how they think about markets and investing … of course they’re not. But they are worthy of trust, or at least eligible for trust, in a way that mass media personae of pure Narrative can never be.
     

    Here’s the other thing, the darker side of a world where we all bear the “TRUST NO ONE” tattoo … it’s all well and good when mass-mediated representations of financial advice and ersatz authenticity generate characters like “Jim Cramer”, who I believe is relatively harmless in a larger political or social sense. But this is how characters like “Senator Joe McCarthy” are created, too, and they are anything but harmless. The flip side of a world where no one is trusted and nothing is believed is that anyone can be trusted and everything can be believed. I’ve recently experienced this modern-day McCarthyism and fear-mongering first hand. It makes me angry, of course (one day I’ll write an “Angry Ben” note on this topic), but even more than that it makes me sad. I’m sad because I see more and more intelligent, engaged, well-meaning people withdrawing from anything with a public face or function, asking themselves “why would I subject myself to this particular form of social torture”, and ceding the field to the McCarthy’s and their media stooges.

    What’s to be done? I really don’t know. McCarthy was undone when an institution of overwhelming authenticity and popular trust – the US Army – challenged him directly and got the newspapers to print the story. I just don’t know if any modern institution, including the Army, still commands that sort of trust, and I’m certain that there’s no modern institution that has the broadly dispersed and widely available reservoir of authenticity necessary to combat the pandemic of mistrust that has swept through modern markets. Everyone’s an expert today, and we think nothing of dismissing the advice we receive from our traditional bastions of professional advice – doctors, lawyers, financial advisors – in favor of our own views, almost always channeled from some charming disembodied voice we hear on TV or read on the Internet. We’re all our own doctor and lawyer and financial advisor today, precisely because we mistrust so thoroughly, and as a result we leave ourselves open to false notions of trust. We need new pockets of authenticity, a disaggregated source of authenticity to combat the disaggregated McCarthyism that is bursting spore-like all across the country. In my more optimistic moments I look at the Internet’s ability to eliminate media intermediaries and gatekeepers, and I think that there must be hope in the vast array of blogs and comment communities and Twitter-verses out there today. But then I actually spend some time in these virtual communities and I start to despair.

    I shouldn’t, though … despair, I mean. It’s amazing how messy community building and small-l liberalism can be, and the whole idea here is to let 1,000,000 flowers bloom, no matter how inane or misguided some of those communities may seem to me. Cream rises. Leaders emerge. It won’t be pretty, and it won’t be fast, but it will happen. In the meantime, I’ll continue to try to build my own community around Epsilon Theory. I’ve got a pretty good microphone now, and I won’t deny the emotional gratification of speaking to more and more people. But it’s time to deepen the personal relationships here rather than just broaden the readership, as it’s the strength of individual connections with outstanding people that builds trust and a lasting community. As Kant wrote, “number not voices, but weigh them.” That’s how I’d like people to evaluate me. That’s how I’d like people to evaluate Salient. And it’s how I’m going to evaluate the success of Epsilon Theory.  








  • Meet "Rolling Jubilee" - The Group Buying & Tearing-Up Student Loans

    An offshoot of 'Occupy Wall Street' is taking the $1.2 trillion student loan bubble, debt servitude dilemma of America's youth into its own hands... bit by tiny bit. As The BBC reports, activist group 'Rolling Jubilee' wants to "liberate debtors" by buying student-debt-bundled ABS on the secondary market (where they trade at significant discounts) and writing off the underlying loans. As Rolling Jubilee notes, "your debts are on sale... just not on sale to you," until now.

    Rolling Jubilee says the problem lies deep within the structure of the education system and the way that selling education as a commodity reinforces inequality.

    "It is documented that they end up worse off and have no better chance of getting work than if they simply finished high school," she says.

    This week, the Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen warned the quadrupling of the student loan debt since 2004 represented a barrier to social mobility.

    John Aspray, national field director at the United States Student Association (USSA), said recent changes in law mean people in medical or gambling debt can declare themselves bankrupt - but to do so for student debt means satisfying an '"undue hardship" criteria, which is very difficult to prove.

     

    "Opportunities for renegotiating are very well hidden," he says.

     

    He says Rolling Jubilee's work was "important and symbolic" as a lot of people "don't even consider" getting rid of their debt.

     

    As 85% of student loans are guaranteed by the national government the USSA is putting pressure on the department to "cut contracts with the worse corporations", says Mr Aspray.

     

    "Political reforms are needed," he says. "We are going to see people continuing to rebel against this."

    As The BBC reports,

    An activist group in the United States has been carrying out deeds that some might think the stuff of dreams - buying and cancelling other people's student debts.

     

    Rolling Jubilee has purchased and abolished $3.8m (£2.35m) of debt owed by 2,700 students, paying just over $100,000 (£62,000), or as it says, "pennies on the dollar".

     

    The campaign group, which wants to "liberate debtors", says it takes its name from the tradition in many religions of marking a "jubilee" celebration by freeing people from debt.

     

    ...

     

    Debts can be bought and sold in the financial marketplace. But student debt, which has spiralled to an estimated $1.2 trillion (£619bn), is not usually as available to buy as other debts, such as unpaid medical bills.

     

    In this speculative secondary market, third parties buy debt for a fraction of its original cost and try to collect the full amount from debtors.

     

    But these debt campaigners are buying debts and then writing them off.

    Laura Hanna at Rolling Jubilee says the student debt situation amounts to a "bubble".

    The group pulled off the deal to illustrate how cheaply the money owed can be sold on the secondary debt market, she says.

     

    "We wanted to question the morality around repayment," she says.

     

    "Your debts are on sale. They are just not on sale to you."

    *  *  *








  • Gold Falls, Stocks Record Highs as Japan Goes ‘Weimar’, “Here Be Dragons”

    Stocks globally surged, while gold fell sharply today despite renewed irrational exuberance on hopes that the Bank of Japan’s vastly increasing money printing will fill some of the gaps left by the apparent end of Federal Reserve bond buying. 

    The BOJ decided to increase the pace at which it expands base money to a whopping 80 trillion yen ($726 billion) per year. Previously, the BOJ targeted an annual increase of 60 to 70 trillion yen.

    The BOJ sailed into deeper uncharted monetary territory with the announcement that they would triple annual purchases of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and Japanese real-estate investment trusts (REITS) to 3 trillion yen and 90 billion yen respectively. 

    The Nikkei surged 5% in minutes to a seven year high after the Bank of Japan decision, while gold fell.

    These unprecedented monetary events remind us of the old English mapmakers who used to write on uncharted territories on their maps - “Here be Dragons”.

    The BOJ claimed the surprise action was due to concerns that a decline in oil prices would weigh on consumer prices and delay a shift in sentiment away from deflation.

    BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda portrayed the decision as a preemptive strike to the ‘lost decade’ economy, rather than an admission that his plan to reflate the long moribund economy has so far failed.

    The prime reason for the extraordinary monetary policies is likely that the Japanese economy remains very weak and risks tipping over into a depression. Bankruptcies more than doubled to 214 in the first nine months of 2014 compared with the same period a year ago.
    Japan has introduced quantitative easing to stimulate the economy and to spur inflation. But it may backfire and lead to stagflation and in a worst case scenario a German ‘Weimar’ style hyperinflation. 

    The yen's real effective exchange rate has dropped to its lowest level since 1982. With Japan easing likely to deepen, the yen may fall to an unprecedented level. Though the fall of the yen may promote exports - energy, food and raw material costs will rise, especially imports.

    Given the current weakness what should gold owners do?
    Gold, in the short term, looks prone to further weakness. We could see gold test lows of $1,156  which is a 61.8% retracement of the move from the October 2008 low to the all-time high at $1,921.  If clients are worried about their gold position and have short term commitments there are a number of ways to manage downside risk, which may be of interest, please call our office to discuss further.

    See Essential Guide to  Storing Gold and Silver In Switzerland here

    MARKET UPDATE
    Today’s AM fix was USD 1,173.25, EUR 933.45 and GBP 733.47 per ounce.
    Yesterday’s AM fix was USD 1,205.75, EUR 958.09 and GBP 753.59 per ounce.
    Gold fell $12.50 or 1.03% to $1,198.90 per ounce yesterday and silver slid $0.58 or 3.4% to $16.49 per ounce. 

    Bullion for immediate delivery lost as much as 2.6% to $1,167.49, the lowest since July 2010 and looked vulnerable to further falls to $1,100/oz. 


    Gold in U.S. Dollars - 5 Days (Thomson Reuters)

    Silver slid as much as 3% to $16.00 an ounce, the lowest since February 2010. Platinum fell 0.9% to $1,239.75 an ounce. Interestingly, palladium bucked the trend and rose 0.5% to $790 an ounce, after a six days of gains.

    Gold fell below $1,200 an ounce as equities and bonds surged - even bonds from Italy to Portugal climbed.


    Gold in U.S. Dollars - 10 Years (Thomson Reuters)

    Gold is heading for a decline of 4.4% this week, the most since September 2013. The metal is also set for the first consecutive monthly loss in 2014.
    Silver is set for a fourth monthly decline that’s the worst run since June 2013. An ounce of gold bought as much as 73.3154 ounces of silver today, the most since April 2009.

    If the mooted end of QE in the U.S. is bearish for gold and silver, then it is also equally bearish if not more so for overvalued stock and bond markets. Yet, those markets saw far less volatile trading and many stock markets are back at multi month highs or indeed all time record highs.

    The sharp move lower today took place in illiquid Asian markets, soon after the BOJ announcement of the extraordinary new money printing experiment in Japan. This news in itself should have seen gold bounce higher as it is very gold bullish. Instead, gold plummeted lower.

    The move lower this week also took place against a backdrop of very high global coin and bar demand in recent weeks which would ordinarily have led to higher prices. It also comes at a time of heightened geopolitical and economic concerns and the emergence of the Ebola virus. Not to mention, the bullish “Save Our Swiss Gold” initiative which will continue for the next four weeks.

    As we wrote yesterday, the sudden sharp selling of precious metals this week despite robust demand could be another example of manipulation. Central banks want equities and bonds higher and precious metals lower. The counter intuitive trading action has hallmarks of continuing manipulation of the gold and silver futures market.

    Prudent money will continue to dollar cost average into coins and bars on price weakness.

    Get Breaking News and Updates on the Gold Market Here








  • 5 Things To Ponder: "Spooky" Things

    Submitted by Lance Roberts of STA Wealth Management,

    I love this time of year, in particular it is the festivities surrounding one of the biggest commercial shopping days of the year - Halloween. According to Wikipedia:

    "Halloween, or Hallowe'en, is a contraction of "All Hallows' Evening",also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve, and is a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day.

     

    Halloween initiates the triduum of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers. Within Allhallowtide, the traditional focus of All Hallows' Eve revolves around the theme of using "humor and ridicule to confront the power of death."

     

    According to many scholars, All Hallows' Eve is a Christianized feast initially influenced by Celtic harvest festivals, with possible pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic Samhain. Other scholars maintain that it originated independently of Samhain and has solely Christian roots."

    However, most importantly, it is a great time to spend with family and friends, dress up in costumes and over indulge in the many "treats" that come along with the celebration.

    I thoughts this weekend's reading list should maintain the focus of "scary" ponderances now that the Federal Reserve has ended their latest monetary iterations.  So with that said, grab a Reese's or two from your kids treat bucket and enjoy this weekends "5 Things To Ponder."

    1) Zombie Land, USA by Elizabeth MacDonald via Fox Business

    "Historic bailouts have increased the number of corporate zombies living off of easy money, hindering restructurings and holding back the expansion of healthier companies, restructuring experts here and in the U.K. warn.

     

    "Capital is not being recycled and reinvested, impeding the “creative destruction” process Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter says is vital for any healthy economy.  Executives at big accounting firms like Ernst & Young have also warned zombie companies are grabbing market share from healthy companies."

     

    2) The Fed's Lack Of Conviction Is Warranted by Mohamed El-Erian via Bloomberg

    "Fed officials welcomed the continued improvement in the economy, particularly signs that the underutilization of labor resources is gradually 'diminishing,' though only 'gradually' despite 'solid gains and a lower unemployment rate.' On the second element of its dual mandate -- stable inflation -- the central bankers acknowledged the fall in market measures of forward inflation but played down the risk of damaging deflation by also pointing to other metrics of inflationary expectations.

     

    This apparent lack of conviction, while frustrating to many, is understandable and warranted.

     

    Because it faces a historically unusual mix of cyclical, structural and longer-term issues, the behavior of the U.S. economy isn't easy to capture well with existing models, including those used by the central bank. The nation’s policy response has fallen well short of the “first best” given the constraints imposed by the political polarization in Congress on virtually every policy-making entity other that the Federal Reserve; and the central bank doesn't have sufficient instruments to compensate for this."

     

    3) The $75 Trillion Spectre by Szu Ping Chag via The Telegraph   

    "Global shadow banking assets rose to a record $75 trillion (£46.5 trillion) last year, new analysis shows.

     

    The value of risky investment products, mortgage-backed securities and other non-bank entities increased by $5 trillion to $75 trillion in 2013, according to the Financial Stability Board (FSB).

     

    Shadow banking, which is not constrained by bank regulation, now represents about 25pc of total financial assets - or roughly half of the global banking system. It is also equivalent to 120pc of global gross domestic product (GDP)."

     What could possibly go wrong?

     

    4) The Truly Scary Picture Of American Wellbeing Since 1979 by J. Bradford Delong via Project Syndicate

    "The story goes like this: Since 1979 – the peak of the last business cycle before the inauguration of Ronald Reagan as President – economic growth in the United States has been overwhelmingly a rich-only phenomenon. Real (inflation-adjusted) wages, incomes, and living standards for America’s poor and middle-class households are at best only trivially higher. While annual real GDP per capita has grown 72%, from $29,000 to $50,000 (in 2009 prices), almost all of this growth has gone to those who now occupy the highest tier of the US income distribution."

    Also Read: For 90% Of American's There Has Been No Recovery and The Statistical Recovery Continues

     

    5) Trick Or Treat - $65 Oil Is Coming by Derek Thompson via The Atlantic

    "Gas prices are falling below $3 a gallon across the United States for two big reasons: (1) the world economy is growing slower than we hoped, and (2) global oil production is improving faster than we expected."

    Also Read: How Long Can The Shale Boom Last by Nick Cunningham via ZeroHedge

    Also Read: Houston We Have A Fracking Problem

     

    BONUS GOODIE BAG:

    We're Way Overdue For A Real Correction by Joe Calhoun via Alhambra Partners

    "Investors seem to think that markets are binary, either rising or falling, bull or bear, but the market actually spends a lot of time doing neither. An old Wall Street adage says that tops are a process while bottoms are an event. When we think back about previous markets we often forget how long things take to happen. Looking back on a long term chart tends to compress the time frame and we remember things happening a lot faster than they actually did. Turning points in markets, despite the old saying, take time to happen. Bottoms are remembered to the month."

    When You See It...Run by John Hussman via Hussman Funds

    "The next several sessions could contain a significant further short-squeeze or a vertical collapse, and we have very little predictive basis for that distinction. Longer term, we continue to view present market conditions as among the most hostile in history, coupling rich valuations with market internals that remain unfavorable on historically reliable measures. So allow for any sort of action in the near term, but recognize that from a full-cycle perspective, we continue to view a 40-50% market loss as having very reasonable plausibility over the completion of this market cycle.

     

    To reiterate what I wrote in June 2008, just before the market collapsed, “Again, falling interest rates, moderate valuations, and very strong market action early into the rebound are useful in separating sustainable advances (even sustainable bear-market rallies) from the fast, furious, prone-to-failure variety.” Those would still be among the primary considerations that would lead us to an optimistic or aggressive market outlook. As always, the strongest market return/risk profiles we identify are associated with a material retreat in valuations coupled with an early improvement in market action. We’ll take our evidence as it arrives."

     








  • The Halloween Yen Massacre Sends Market To All-Time Highs

    Headlines:

    • USDJPY rose 2.7% today - biggest day in 18 months back to Oct 2007; +3.7% on the week - bighest week since Dec 2009
    • Nikkei +7.7% today - biggest day since March 2009; +10% on the week - biggest week since Dec 2009
    • Russell 2000's up over 6% - best month in 15 months
    • Russell +1.2% year-to-date
    • Nasdaq at March 2000 highs
    • 5Y yields up 12bps on the week - biggest increase in 6 months
    • 2Y yields up 11bps on the week - biggest increase in over 3 years
    • 5s30s flattened 10bps on the week - biggest flattening in 7 months
    • Silver -6.1% on the week - worst week in 16 months
    • Gold -4.7% on the week - worst week in 16 months

    Perhaps the look on Jeff Cox's face sums up the day as talking head after talking head stepped up to reassure investors that the market is not beholden to central banks... despite the most in-your-face example of it since the PPT in 2008...

    Shorts were squeezed the most on the week since Dec 2011

     

    Oddly, despite all the mainstream media hype, being "short" the weakest balance sheet companies (based on Goldman's "most shorted" index) has actually outperformed all major stock indices year-to-date...

     

    But year-to-date bonds remain the biggest winners, silver the big laggard and the S&P up exactly the same amount as the USD....

     

    October ended up being quite a month for stocks... best month for Small Caps in 15 months

     

    And off the Bullard QE4 lows...

     

    as the week's strength was all about fundamentals...

     

    The day was odd to say the least - all the action occurred overnight and stocks actually faded off opening highs all day... until the close when we melted up...

     

    As any question of sustainability was thrown out the window as VIX was heavily bid... until the late day when it melted up

     

    HY Credit was not buying the exuberance either...

     

    as stocks and bonds swung around each other...

     

    Of course it was really all about USDJPY and Nikkei - that is a 1230 point rally in the Nikkei! and a 3 handle rip in USDJPY

     

    Kuroda is happy

     

    Nikkei's move since the FOMC in context

     

    On the week, Treasuries closed higher in yield with a notable bear flattener... (30Y +2bps, 5Y +12bps)

     

    The USDollar was strong all week, especially post FOMC as EUR and JPY weakness dominated

     

    Commodities were weak as the US rallied but PMs were crushed...

     

    Charts: Bloomberg









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