The real question that we face for all the markets is WHEN will the Sovereign Debt Crisis go into meltdown? We are in the 13th year from the Major Directional Change of 1999 that marked the birth of the Euro, low in gold and crude oil, and the bubble in shares that peaked in many countries in 2000.
Just as the United States has been obsessed with the Great Depression as government always is ready to stimulate and many see this as pending hyperinflation with the end of the world, Germany suffers from the opposite delusion. There, the fear is inflation and thus when the US tries to inflate its way out of every crisis, Germany seeks to impose austerity and create economic stagnation and decline.
Chancellor Angela Merkel managed to win in Europe when 25 out of 27 EU states agreed to a German- inspired pact for stricter budget discipline as the member states stand among the ashes of austerity with the walls crumbing around them. The two members who refused to go along with Germany were Britain and the Czech Republic. What will now dominate Europe is a quasi-automatic sanctioning mechanism that will be imposed upon any member state that now breaches the European Union budget deficit limits. The idea is to enshrine a balanced budget system that cannot possibly work.
Read More @ MartinArmstrong.org
China's goal-seeked economy performed admirably in January, and its Manufacturing PMI came absolutely golidlocks at 50.5, an increase from 50.3, previously, just modestly beating Wall Street expectations of a slight contraction of 40.6, yet a less than earlier whisper numbers which put it at 52. As such, thereis absolutely no indication if the PBoC will further tighten or ease in the next month, just as the PBoC likes it, because while many have been demanding easing in the last several weeks, and especially the housing market, the reality is that hot pockets of inflation still remain. Furthermore, the last thing China needs is to proceed with full on easing just as Bernanke goes ahead and launches QE x which will export more hot money, and thus inflation, to China than anywhere else, with the possible exception of gold.
No Greek Settlement from the EU Summit/Portugal/Venezuela repatriates its gold/California short of cash
Presented with little comment except to say that the total lack of volume (and massive concentration of what volume there is at the close) is hardly reflective of a market that is anything other than broken and dying. Last January (2011) the average number of stocks traded on the NYSE per day was 891mm shares vs 661mm for this January (a 26% drop YoY!) and this is down an incredible 59% from January 2008.
Gold outperformed (+0.5%) today (as the rest of its commodity peers lost ground on USD strength today) and Copper and Silver underperformed. But for January, Silver is the clear winner in the global asset return race (at almost a 20% gain) with Gold in 2nd place at around +11.2%. JGBs and the DXY (USD) along with UK Gilts and Oil lost the most ground among the major assets we track. The outperformance of the precious metals as the dollar ebbed along with the general 'last year's losers were January's winners' and vice-versa was evident as Asia Ex-Japan and EM equities surged along with Nasdaq (and Copper). Long-dated Treasuries have just limped into the money for the year as they rallied dramatically today - ending the day at their low yields (new record 5Y lows) with 30Y now -12bps on the week. FX markets gave a little of the USD strength back in the afternoon but the rally in stocks was almost entirely unsupported by risk assets in general (as it seemed like a desperate low-volume try to push ES back to VWAP into the close to hold the 50/200DMA golden cross in SPX) after this morning's dismal macro data. Financials rallied to fill some Friday close gaps but gave some back into the close as CDS inched wider and Energy underperformed as Oil came almost 3% off its early morning highs (managing to crawl back above $98 by the close). IG credit outperformed as HY and stocks were largely in sync but open to close, credit outperformed stocks on a beta basis (after overnight exuberance in stock futures faded).
Amazon slides 10% after hours as it reports much weaker revenues of $17.43 billion on expectations of $18.26 billion. EPS are not really comparable but seems to beat EPS of $0.16 on Exp. of $0.38. This may not be apples to apples. More importantly, the company guides Q1 to Operating Loss of $200MM to Income of income of $100MM, on Wall Street Consensus of $268MM, and guides to Q1 revenue of just $120-$13.4 billion on Estimates of $13.4 billion: pretty wide range there... This is merely the latst time that the company has disappointed materially, yet Wall Street keeps giving it the benefit of the doubt, on hopes that the Kindle will finally become an iPad-like device. How much longer? Yet the take home message is that the US consumer, contrary to rumors otherwise, is actually not doing all that well.
If anyone is tired of the daily European soap opera with surrealistic tragicomic overtones, they can simply shift their gaze to the 8th largest economy in the world: the insolvent state of California, whose controller just told legislators has just over a month worth of cash left. From the Sacramento Bee: "California will run out of cash by early March if the state does not take swift action to find $3.3 billion through payment delays and borrowing, according to a letter state Controller John Chiang sent to state lawmakers today. The announcement is surprising since lawmakers previously believed the state had enough cash to last through the fiscal year that ends in June." ....uh, oops? But sure, fix the problem of excess debt by more "borrowing" why not. As for the math: "But Chiang said additional cash management solutions are needed because state tax revenues are $2.6 billion less than what Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers assumed in their optimistic budget last year. Meanwhile, Chiang said, the state is spending $2.6 billion more than state leaders planned on." Quick, someone come up with a plan that involves subsidies and tariffs on China, or something else that deflects from what the source of the problem really is. Because the last thing that anyone in America would want to bring up is this thing called "responsibility" for their actions, or, as in now becoming the default case, the lack thereof. And why do that, when time spent so much more productively scapegoating this, and blaming that for one's own massive errors of judgment.
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Discussions around the US and EU embargoes on Iranian oil generally focus on one thing: the price of oil. Iran produces 3.6 million barrels of oil a day and exports 2.5 million of those barrels, representing 3% of world supply. If the embargoes were to succeed in preventing half that oil from getting to market, oil prices would immediately jump 20 to 30%, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
There’s no doubt that the price of oil is important and deserves comment. But as both embargoes take effect, they will create a ripple of impacts across the oil markets that go beyond just price. From European refinery closures to a Greek default, the impacts of the embargoes would spread far beyond Iran.
Let’s start with Greece. Athens has been vocal in its concern about the embargoes, as Iran has become a key supplier to the economically beleaguered country. Greece’s existing contracts with Iran do not require financial guarantees, providing Athens with much-needed flexibility. To date, none of Greece’s other suppliers have been willing to work on such terms, which left Greece buying 100,000 barrels of Iranian oil a day to feed 30% of its demand.
Read More @ CaseyResearch.com
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The $1.079 trillion deficit now projected for this fiscal year ending Sept. 30 is a step backwards from what CBO had predicted in August. And to punch home its message, the non-partisan agency outlines an especially grim scenario in which Congress not only extends all the current Bush-era tax cuts but pulls the plug on the $1.2 trillion in sequester set in motion by the Budget Control Act last summer.
Read More @ Politico.com
This is an important geo-strategic question. Aside from rejecting the new E.U. measures against Iran as counter-productive, Tehran has warned the member states of the European Union that the E.U. oil embargo against Iran will hurt them and their economies far more than Iran.
Tehran has thus warned the leaders of the E.U. countries that the new sanctions are foolish and against their national and bloc interests. But is this correct? At the end of the day, who will benefit from the chain of events that are being set into motion?
Are Oil Embargos against Iran New?
Oil embargos against Iran are not new. In 1951, the Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh with the support of the Iranian Parliament nationalized the Iranian oil industry. As a result of Dr. Mossadegh’s nationalization program, the British militarily blockaded the territorial waters and national ports of Iran with the British Royal Navy and prevented Iran from exporting its oil. They also militarily prevented Iranian trade. London also froze Iranian assets and started a campaign to isolate Iran with sanctions. The government of Dr. Mossadegh was democratic and could not be vilified easily domestically by the British, so they began to portray Mossadegh as a pawn of the Soviet Union who would turn Iran into a communist country together with his Marxist political allies.
Read More @ GlobalResearch.ca
Stephen Leeb continues: Read More @ KingWorldNews.com
“Their ability to get out from under that straightjacket I think is their biggest problem,” he said, adding that a recent summit of European Union leaders had no significant contribution to solving the euro zone’s problems.
“The EU’s 16th summit was anything but sweet,” he said. In Gross’ opinion, Greece and Portugal are “increasingly on death rows…and Merkel speaks about austerity.”
Read More @ CNBC.com
from The Daily Bell:
Media reports suggest that Facebook will file for an IPO this week that could value the company at $100 billion — and leave the company sitting on $10 billion in cash. I’m not a financial analyst, so I’ll leave it to Wall Street to discuss and debate that valuation. But the fact is this newfound wealth could not only allow Facebook to solve its biggest business challenges, it could also help Facebook finally achieve its longstanding goal to change how marketing works. So how should Facebook use its IPO windfall? − Nate Elliott’s Blog
Dominant Social Theme: This Facebook IPO is very exciting and shows that young people can create incredible value in a short period of time. Mark Zuckerberg is a genius.
Free-Market Analysis: No, we don’t believe the hype. It’s directed history, perhaps, not reality. Zuckerberg is in his later twenties. Did you ever meet anyone who’d built a US$100 billion company in a single decade, much less at a time when most young men and women are still deciding on career choices?
Read More @ TheDailyBell.com
Wegelin & Co used to be Switzerland’s oldest private bank. Founded in 1741, they managed to survive every threat across three centuries: revolution, financial disaster, and war… from being invaded by Napoleon to the Sonderbundskrieg civil war to Adolf Hitler.
Every threat except for one, that is: the United States Government.
I say that Wegelin “used to be” Switzerland’s oldest private bank because they’re now finished, courtesy of Uncle Sam. They had no office in the United States, no employees in the United States. They were 100% Swiss, and violated no Swiss law whatsoever.
Yet US authorities believed that a handful of Wegelin’s US clients were hiding assets and not paying taxes. The fact that the bank wasn’t subject to US law was irrelevant. The fact that the bank has zero legal responsibility in ensuring their customers filed tax forms was irrelevant.
The government crushed Wegelin regardless.
Read More @ SovereignMan.com
Rasmussen asserts that even those Americans living below poverty line aren’t living in extremely foul conditions, as many Americans imagine. Most of them have sufficient shelter, food, clothing, and medical attention.
Read More (and Watch the Video) @ WealthWire.com