11.15.17 - Gold Prices Rise With Inflation Data
Gold last traded at $1,277 an ounce. Silver at $16.97 an ounce.
NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices zig-zagged Wednesday amid rising volatility. U.S. stocks fell for a 5th consecutive day as investor sentiment has turned more bearish.
Gold rises after U.S. inflation data -Reuters
"Gold prices rose for a third day on Wednesday as the dollar weakened and U.S. bond yields fell despite solid U.S. economic data that reinforced expectations that the Federal Reserve will press ahead with increases to U.S. interest rates. The data showed an unexpected rise in U.S. retail sales in October and a pick-up in underlying inflation. However, the outlook for U.S. tax cuts that could stimulate economic growth was clouded after U.S. Senate Republicans created new political obstacles by linking the repeal of a key component of Obamacare to the tax reform plans. 'The biggest factor right now shoring up gold is the weaker dollar,' said Robin Bhar, head of metals research at Societe Generale. 'Also, there's speculation that tax cuts could be a long time coming, meaning the Fed will not have to be as aggressive as it might have been.'"
There's something weird going on that's worrying the markets -CNBC
"Markets are showing signs of nervousness, which analysts say is not necessarily the dire warning some fear. There is concern that the bond market is sending warnings about the economy, as high yield debt sells off and the Treasury yield curve flattens. The yields of longer duration bonds are getting closer to the yields of shorter duration bonds, and some see that as a forewarning about a slower economy....'People are just saying there's jitters about tax reform,' said Marc Chandler, the head of foreign exchange strategy at Brown Brothers. 'Going into the year-end people are nervous. lt's not only about taxes.' The cranky mood began in China and Asian markets overnight, after Chinese economic reports missed the mark. 'In this kind of crazy market, as we head into 2018, anything is possible. If we do sell off, it's going to get exaggerated,' he said."
Cash is king, but $100 bills are for crooks -Money and Banking
"People have been saying for years that cash will disappear. So far, they have been spectacularly wrong. Over the past decade, the face value of U.S. dollar paper currency in public hands has doubled. Today, there is nearly $1.6 trillion in banknotes outstanding, more than 80 percent of which is in $100 bills! In fact, there are thirty-nine $100 bills in circulation for each of the 326 million residents of the United States....Regardless of who holds all this currency and whether the crooks are inside or outside the country, the growth is a significant source of revenue to the U.S. Treasury. How does the government obtain this seignorage? To get the notes into circulation, the Fed issues them as liabilities and buys Treasury securities that the public would otherwise have to buy. So, in this case, the government really is printing money and spending it! The seignorage from providing these $100 bills (which cost 15½ cents to produce) is staggering. Over the past decade, revenue was a cumulative $700 billion, or 1.85% of total government expenditure since 2007....We see no feasible means to control criminality merely by limiting the official supply of anonymous means of payment. We would still need a way to stop the design and use of private digital substitutes as well. This is nearly impossible, as it would require a ban both on commercial transactions and on the provision of cryptocurrency clearing and transfer services by financial intermediaries. If either is possible, then criminals could use these alternative mechanisms to launder money. There is a clear tradeoff between people abusing the privacy afforded by cash payments and tyrannical societies exploiting the intimate knowledge of people's payments for malevolent control. Our conclusion then (and now) is that - expressly because of its anonymity - cash is a foundation for freedom: freedom from dictators and from ideological censors."
Scientists Say Earth Is Doomed Without 'Urgent' Action - Just Like They Did 25 Years Ago -Investors
"This week, thousands of scientists issued a bleak and terrifying 'second notice' to mankind about how we will destroy the planet unless we take 'urgent' action. If this warning is as reliable as the first notice these scientists issued in 1992, we have nothing to worry about. In an article published in the journal Bioscience, 15,364 scientists warned that we are 'jeopardizing our future' and that 'immediate action' is needed to 'safeguard our imperiled biosphere.' 'Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out,' the scientists say. The article is meant to be an update on a 1992 notice - ominously titled 'World Scientists' Warning to Humanity' and signed by 1,700 leading scientists - that predicted environmental catastrophes to come if humans remained on the current course. But the 1992 statement was wildly off the mark in its dire predictions....But today's doomsday scientists are making the same fundamental mistake they made 25 years ago. They are blind, apparently, to the fact that when people are emboldened by free-market capitalism they are amazingly innovative and will ceaselessly devise new technologies and new ways of doing things that are cheaper, less energy-intensive and less polluting. There's no need for the massive central planning or worldwide austerity these scientists keep demanding. Our bet is that when 2042 comes around, the terrifying 'second notice' from the world's leading scientists will look just as ridiculous as the first one does today."
11.14.17 - Hedge Fund Goes On Gold Buying Spree
Gold last traded at $1,280 an ounce. Silver at $17.08 an ounce.
NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices steadied Tuesday on dollar weakness and rising uncertainty. U.S. stocks fell amid unsettling political and economic news as GE stock plummeted to 5-year lows.
Will Cash Disappear? -New York Times
"There are few corners of the world where electronic transactions are not growing faster than cash...But the movement away from cash is happening in very different ways and at varying paces around the world. Scandinavian countries are already well along the road toward cashless societies. Many banks in Sweden no longer have cash on hand, and consumers can make instant transfers directly from their bank accounts....China is the most talked-about location in the battle between cash and electronic payments. PayPal-like wallets created by Chinese online giants Alibaba and Tencent have become the most popular ways to pay for things online....The benefits of moving away from cash have been trumpeted by economists like Kenneth Rogoff, who wrote 'The Curse of Cash,' about how paper money enables crime and tax evasion. But the critics of cash have been met by their own critics, who argue that electronic payments can disenfranchise poor people who lack easy access to bank accounts and the internet and can make it much easier for governments and corporations to monitor a person's every step."
"You are a casualty of the 'war against cash' if you have a bank account – and probably do not even know it," according to author and Swiss America Chairman Craig R. Smith. According to Smith, "The federal government, big banks and the tech giants all have plans to digitally end paper money ... forever!" You must hear this confidential interview between Michael Savage and Mr. Smith, which is now available on a FREE CD or mp3. Discover what steps must be taken to protect your hard-earned money from this accelerating WAR ON CASH.
Ray Dalio Goes On Gold Buying Spree -Zero Hedge
"Until last quarter, the world's biggest hedge fund had, curiously, never held a position in any of the most liquid gold ETFs...That changed in the second quarter of 2017, when Bridgewater made its first tentative purchases in the gold ETF space, buying up 577,264 GLD shares, for $68.1 million, as well as 3.1 million IAU shares worth $36.8 million. ...Ray Dalio urged investors to buy gold in case 'things go badly.'....In Q3, Ray Dalio went on a gold buying spree, increasing his GLD holdings by a whopping 575%. As a result of the surge in holdings, Bridgewater as of this moment, the 8th largest holder of paper gold, known as GLD....It wasn't only GLD, however, because Bridgewater also nearly tripled its IAU holdings, increasing its paper iShares gold holdings by 266%, from 3.1 million shares to 11.3 million. And now that Ray Dalio is rapidly buying up GLD, IAU and other gold holdings, we wonder how long before the momentum chasers send gold, both paper and physical surging."
Wall St. Overwhelmingly Sees Shine In Gold -Survey/Kitco
"In the weekly Kitco News gold survey, not a single analyst or trader called for gold to fall next week, the first time this has happened in the roughly seven years since the poll began. All said higher, with the exception of a handful of voters who were neutral. This completes a reversal in thinking for Wall Street, with the bulls clearly holding the upper hand for the first time in a month....A total of 21 market professionals took part in the Wall Street survey. Eighteen, or 86%, called for gold to rise. Three participants, or 14%, called for gold to be sideways or were neutral....Adrian Day, chairman and chief executive officer of Adrian Day Asset Management, also said higher. 'Sentiment is shifting, as the stock market - notwithstanding new highs for indices - is more uncertain, with very bad breadth and many stocks breaking down,' Day commented. Ralph Preston, principal with Heritage West Financial, said he looks for some kind of 'geopolitical pop' to the upside in gold."
Majority Of Americans Would Skip Holiday Gift-Giving, Survey Says -CBS
"For many people, giving and receiving gifts are one of the big parts of the holidays. However, a new survey shows that 69 percent of Americans would skip exchanging gifts if their family and friends agreed to it. The survey, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of SunTrust Bank, also showed that 60 percent of those surveyed said they would spend more time with friends and family if they didn’t have to worry about buying or making gifts. Which isn't to say that people just want to spend less. The survey found 25 percent said they would use that money on activities with friends and family. Conversely, 37 percent said they would pay down debt and 47 percent would choose to save that money or invest it."
Michael Savage leaps into faith with new book -Washington Times
"Talk radio kingpin Michael Savage is the first to point out that his newest book is not standard 'religious' writing, though it bears the title 'God, Faith and Reason,' and follows his 25 other books which dwelled on politics, culture wars, national security, immigration issues and science....'I wrote this odyssey over nearly a lifetime of searching - and to thank the Creator for my life,' Mr. Savage tells Inside the Beltway. 'This is very important for you to know. When I was down and out, I had to go down to the core of my being and reach out to the man upstairs, to put it colloquially. And I had to ask Him to save me. It didn’t happen like a boom went off, or lightning struck or Charlton Heston appeared in my living room with a ticket to heaven. I had to keep asking for it.'....The book, published Tuesday, is an engaging, detailed and spirited work - both conversational and soul-searching, restless and reassuring all at once."
11.13.17 - Bitcoin: Most Dramatic Bubble Ever? -WSJ
Gold last traded at $1,278 an ounce. Silver at $17.04 an ounce.
NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Monday on safe-haven buying despite a firmer dollar. U.S. stocks struggled as GE and tax reform worries kept a lid on market gains.
Gold higher as global stock markets pull back -Marketwatch
"Gold futures traded modestly higher Monday as investors retreated somewhat from purchasing assets perceived as risky, like global stocks. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index which measures the buck against six rivals, edged up by 0.1% to 94.48. The index fell sharply late last week, logging its biggest decline since Oct. 10 on Thursday, according to FactSet data. That move came as the Senate's tax-cut proposal underwhelmed markets, providing a lift to commodities priced in the currency. Metals, currencies and interest-rate markets appeared to consolidate levels after a volatile week that accompanied waning confidence for economy-boosting U.S. tax reform. U.S. stocks stalled their record run Monday amid the tax uncertainty, and this risk-off positioning was mildly beneficial to haven gold. Next month's Federal Reserve interest-rate hike is 'baked in the crust as Trump's tax cuts get stuck on the Hill,' said Adrian Ash, head of research at BullionVault. Gold is expected to continue to largely track the dollar and Treasury yields in coming weeks and months, with weakness in both likely underpinning the yellow metal."
Will Protestors Silence Our National Anthem? -Pontification Blog
"Even facing a huge boycott by viewers on Veterans Day, the NFL league office refused to change its policy that allowed players to protest by not standing respectfully during the traditional playing of America’s national anthem. Such players who take a knee, link arms, or otherwise show disrespect, generally fall into one of two categories. Some want to make an ideological protest against what they see as American society, from police behavior to the nation as a whole....Other young players apparently see the enormous media attention Kaepernick is given in the liberal media for his protests and want such national attention and fame for themselves....Major networks, seeing their ratings and profits plummet, have experimented with no longer airing the anthem. This might remove the ego gratification and attention some players crave. But for leftist ideologues, this is victory in an age when Antifa protestors chant 'No Trump! No wall! No USA at all!' For radicals, tearing down statues of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington is only the start of writing the United States out of history and out of the hearts of Americans. By blocking the televising of the anthem, these America-haters believe they have won a huge victory. This must not stand. The California NAACP now wants to banish our anthem, 'The Star-Spangled Banner,' as racist because its rarely-sung third stanza refers to 'the hireling and slave' (which could easily be deleted)....Author Francis Scott Key, as Craig R. Smith and I document in We Have Seen The Future and It Looks Like Baltimore, was also brother-in-law to Roger Taney, who would later as U.S. Chief Justice write the notorious Dred Scott Decision. Key’s grandson, journalist Frank Key Howard, would be imprisoned by Abraham Lincoln for criticizing him; Howard would be locked up in the same Fort McHenry about whose stand against the British the anthem was written. 'The Star-Spangled Banner' today could get you arrested if at an airport you began singing its lyrics about rockets’ red glare or bombs bursting in air." Full story
We’re probably entering a bond market bubble -Miami Herald
"Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan recently told Bloomberg that we are entering a bond market bubble in the U.S., and all signs point to yes. In fact, I would add that what was once a safe, stable and predictable investment class is about to be turned on its head, as interest rates rise and values plummet....During the tech bubble of 2000, investors mistakenly believed that tech stocks were somehow different than any other investments and that profits weren’t needed for stock prices to rise. The market eventually market realized this, leading to the historic 78 percent decline of the NASDAQ composite. All in all, the common denominator in stock, real estate and bond market bubbles is this: Everyone is rushing to the fire exit, but they cannot get out in time. Ultimately, bond investors face the same result if they do not rethink their strategies now. Interest rates are set to rise again. While holding long duration bonds has long been considered a safe investment strategy, that is no longer the case. The tried-and-true vanilla income strategy of the past is no longer smart or safe. The longer the duration of a bond portfolio, the higher the interest rate risk. Incremental rate increases could exponentially amplify the holder’s loss in purchasing power....All things considered, this is a first. Never have these factors converged at once: historically low interest rates set to rise, coupled with a population of investors holding such a large percentage of their portfolio in bonds. For portfolios that don’t diversify, we can easily guess the outcome. This is not meant to generate fear but to motivate investors to act before it is too late."
Bitcoin: The World’s Most Dramatic Bubble Ever? -Wall Street Journal
"Investment manias throughout the centuries have ranged from tulips to tech stocks to housing; is bitcoin different? First it was tulips. More recently it was tech stocks and then the housing market. Lately, it's all about bitcoin. All four share a common denominator: They suffered through financial bubbles, or bubble-like conditions. The first three ended badly. The jury is still out on what's in store for bitcoin....Bubbles are investment manias, where prices jump so high that no fundamental analysis can rightly justify the surge. The price gains, usually sharp and quick, are typically followed by busts that tend to be just as severe....Bitcoin is the 'very definition of a bubble,' Credit Suisse Group AG Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam said at a conference earlier this month. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon called bitcoin a 'fraud' that will 'blow up.'....If past bubbles are any indication, bitcoin’s spectacular rise won't last forever. And when it ends, look out below."
Investors Not Choosing Bitcoin Over Gold -State Street Investors/Kitco
"Bitcoin’s wild volatility, as prices swing within a $2,000 range, is one of the reasons why the digital currency should not be compared to gold, according to one market analyst. Bitcoin's surge to nearly $8,000 in recent weeks has led some analysts to speculate that it is taking interest and capital away from gold...However, George Milling-Stanley, head of gold investments at State Street Global Advisors, said that this theory is nothing but the latest urban myth. 'It's a myth of epic proportions on the same level as alligators in New York sewers,' he said. 'I have talked to many financial advisors and investors and no one has said that they are selling their gold to buy Bitcoin.'....Milling-Stanley said that ultimately, Bitcoin is nothing but a new speculative trend that is probably going to end badly for investors. He equated investing in cryptocurrencies to going to a casino. He added that unlike gold, bitcoin will never be a store of value. 'I don’t want something in my portfolio that is 100 times more volatile than gold,' he said."
11.10.17 - Going After YOUR Bank Account
Gold last traded at $1,276 an ounce. Silver at $16.89 an ounce.
NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices eased back Friday on profit-taking by short-term speculators. U.S. stocks fell for a 2nd day, snapping a 2-month winning streak on tech weakness and tax reform fears.
A Steeper Yield Curve Will Drive Gold -Market Anthropology
"Traders looking for a steeper yield curve continue to see spreads come in as confidence builds for another rate hike by the Fed next month, while weak convictions persist towards rising inflationary pressures next year. This week, the combination of expectations saw the spread between the 2 and 10-year Treasury yields at its narrowest since November 2007....When the dust settles after the next inevitable pivot, will long-term yields rise faster than the short-end of the curve - because the reach of inflation is greater than the Fed's capacity to tighten, or will the long-end steepen simply because short-term yields fall faster as rate hike expectations recede? In either case: an economy becoming too hot or an economy turning down - and even a combination of both (i.e. stagflation), gold is positioned to outperform as the benevolent conditions against which the equity markets have advanced with begin to diminish."
America's 'Retail Apocalypse' Is Really Just Beginning -Bloomberg
"The so-called retail apocalypse has become so ingrained in the U.S. that it now has the distinction of its own Wikipedia entry. The industry’s response to that kind of doomsday description has included blaming the media for hyping the troubles of a few well-known chains as proof of a systemic meltdown....Retail store chains said 6,800 would close this year. And this comes when there’s sky-high consumer confidence, unemployment is historically low and the U.S. economy keeps growing. Those are normally all ingredients for a retail boom, yet more chains are filing for bankruptcy and rated distressed than during the financial crisis. That’s caused an increase in the number of delinquent loan payments by malls and shopping centers....The root cause is that many of these long-standing chains are overloaded with debt - often from leveraged buyouts led by private equity firms....The debt coming due, along with America’s over-stored suburbs and the continued gains of online shopping, has all the makings of a disaster. The spillover will likely flow far and wide across the U.S. economy...If today is considered a retail apocalypse, then what's coming next could truly be scary....'A pall has been cast on retail,' said Charlie O'Shea, a retail analyst for Moody's. 'A day of reckoning is coming.'"
Cunning malware spreads, going after your bank account -Fox News
"Malware keeps getting smarter at ways to get your money. And a new version of Zeus Panda malware has some scary smarts. According to a blog post by Cisco-owned Talos, the Zeus Panda malware essentially 'poisons' Google search results to push fake bank-related results to the top of a key word search. Then, the unwary user, looking for quick answers to a search related to their bank, is fooled into clicking on malicious links. The malware utilizes search engine optimization (SEO) 'to make their malicious links more prevalent in the search results…[which] will enable the attacker to quickly obtain credentials, banking and credit card information,' Talos said....The ultimate goal is to trick you into going to the hacked site, then redirecting you until you reach a site offering a Microsoft Word document for download, according to Talos....'Defending against this attack requires not only vigilance by companies to make sure the sites and servers are compromised, but that consumers pay attention to what they are clicking on and not enabling macros or open unknown attachments,' according to a post at SC Media, a cybersecurity website."
A new Swiss America Research Report, AMERICA'S CYBER-HIT LIST, reveals how and why your money is more vulnerable to cyberattack right now than ever before - and what to do about it.
Bitcoin tumbles $1,000 from record after upgrade is called off -CNBC
"Bitcoin fell Friday to its lowest since Nov. 1 as traders bet on its offshoot, bitcoin cash, instead. Bitcoin cash split off from the original version of bitcoin in August as a minority group of developers decided to implement an upgrade in an effort to increase transaction speeds for the digital currency. Bitcoin hit a record high of $7,879.06 that day after the news, but quickly fell and was trading about 4.5 percent lower on the day near $6,822, according to CoinDesk....Another digital currency, ethereum traded about 4 percent lower near $307.52 Friday after hitting a nearly one-month high Thursday, according to CoinDesk."
11.9.17 - Stocks Sink As Tax-Cut Hopes Fade
Gold last traded at $1,287 an ounce. Silver at $16.89 an ounce.
NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices traded mixed Thursday on a weaker dollar and safe haven buying. U.S. stocks fell on profit-taking amid a decline in retail and tech stocks as well as tax reform worries.
Stocks Sink As Tax-Cut Hopes Fade -Zero Hedge
"Sell the news? Stocks are slumping (following Japan's overnight volatility) as traders await tax-cut legislation from the House Ways and Means Committee (and The Senate will also release its own version). High-Tax companies are underperforming...And Junk bonds just hit the lowest since March...Whether this selling due to disappointment in what is expected to be in the bill... or an expectation that it will not pass anyway - is unclear."
There's About 0% Chance Of A Permanent 20% Corporate Tax Rate -Investors
"It's looking increasingly clear that the only way the GOP will be able to make a 20% corporate tax rate permanent is with a $1 trillion-plus tax hike on individuals in the decade starting 2028. On Monday, the House GOP tax-cut bill had a gulf of more than $1.25 trillion between the cost of a 20% corporate rate and the offsetting corporate revenue-raisers in the second decade. By the end of Tuesday, that gulf had widened to about $1.5 trillion, after the House Ways and Means Committee gutted one of its biggest proposals to help pay for a corporate tax cut....The dream of a permanent 20% rate may have died when Wal-Mart and other retailers successfully killed the idea of a 20% border-adjustment tax on imports that would have raised $1 trillion in the first decade....Already, Senate Republicans are signaling that they may delay cutting the corporate tax rate for a year to direct more of the $1.5 trillion in budget space to individual tax cuts. Anything short of a permanent corporate tax cut would have to be judged a failure, at least by the standard House Speaker Paul Ryan offered in August....Both political pressures and Senate budget rules seem highly unlikely to produce a permanent 20% corporate tax rate. A number of Wall Street strategists have highlighted a 25% corporate rate as a more feasible fallback, and they may be right. However, even that won't be simple to get done."
Gold steadies near three-week highs -Reuters
"Gold held steady early on Thursday after marking a near three-week high in the previous session as the dollar firmed, while palladium remained close to an over 16-year peak touched on Wednesday....A Senate tax-cut bill, differing from one in the House of Representatives, was expected to be unveiled on Thursday, complicating a Republican push to overhaul the federal tax code....North Korea and trade will likely top the agenda when U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping sit down for formal talks on Thursday, a day after Trump warned Pyongyang of the grave danger of developing nuclear weapons. The IMF on Wednesday urged Japan to maintain its massive monetary stimulus to boost consumer prices, a view echoed by a central bank board member, reinforcing expectations policy will remain accommodative."
Deutsche Bank CEO says robots could replace half the company's 97,000 employees -CNBC
"Some very smart people say that robots are going to steal your job. Researchers at Oxford University estimate that 47 percent of U.S. jobs could be replaced by robots, automated technology and automated intelligence (AI) within the next 20 years....John Cryan, the millionaire CEO of Deutsche Bank, is the latest industry leader to suggest that technology will lead to significant layoffs - and possibly sooner than we think....He isn't just speculating. In late 2015, Deutsche Bank announced that it planned to eliminate 9,000 employees as a part of a five-year restructuring plan. So far, 4,000 jobs have been cut. Technology, says Cryan, will allow for Deutsche to complete these cuts and more."
11.8.17 - A Chilling Banking Tale of Lost Savings
Gold last traded at $1,287 an ounce. Silver at $17.21 an ounce.
NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Wednesday on safe haven buying and a flat dollar. U.S. stocks traded lower, led by banking stocks, amid growing concern over the likelihood of passing tax reform in 2017.
A chilling tale of how easy it is for banks to lose your money -Crudele/New York Post
"Two years ago, I wrote a column that frightened a lot of people. Now, I'm going to scare you again - this time, maybe even more. That column explained that it had become easier for states to confiscate people's bank, money market and other financial accounts because they were 'abandoned.'....In 1999, my mother, Margaret Crudele...opened a bank account at Staten Island Savings Bank for each of her eight grandchildren. She deposited $1,000 in each account, and she wanted the kids to get the money after she died. My mother's checking and savings accounts were automatically transferred from Staten Island Savings to each successor bank and, finally, to Santander, where she became a regular customer who visited a branch at least once a week. To put it bluntly, each one of these banks knew that she isn't dead. She walked through the bank doors every week....But somehow, the eight grandchildren’s accounts went missing. Were they stolen? Misplaced? Turned over to New York because my mother hadn't actively managed them?....It turns out that the accounts went bye-bye in 2005 - all on the same day. The kids, who didn't have the paperwork, didn't withdraw the funds....So, there you are. Don't doubt that this can happen to you. Scared yet? Do you know where all your accounts are?"
Craig R. Smith comment: In our Secret War on Cash Special Report and 2014 book DON'T BANK ON IT! we warned readers that banks and/or the government could confiscate bank accounts that were 'inactive' for as little as a year - and about other bizarre events going on in today's banking system in which nothing would be off limits. In hindsight, Mr. Crudele's mother would have been much better off simply putting her grandchildren's savings into physical gold coins.
Swamp Critter Becomes New Fed Chief -Bonner/Bonner & Partners
"Washington is rigged by the Deep State insiders. Mr. Powell was born in the swamp. No kidding… he hatched in Washington, D.C. He's never really left. He even got his law degree from Georgetown Law Center. He must have been there - in the '70s - when we were there. But we have no recollection of him.We spent three long years at Georgetown. It did not appeal to us. We decided not to practice law; Powell decided otherwise. He went into the kind of 'administrative law' that Georgetown specializes in… and then began a long career, slithering around the swamp, in and out of government and finance. He worked for the regulators… then he worked for the industry he was meant to be regulating. And then, back to the regulators. All of this back and forth seems to have been good for Mr. Powell. He is reported to have a personal fortune of more than $100 million. The important thing, from our point of view, is that he can be relied upon to do exactly as expected. Like Ms. Yellen, he will be in favor of shrinking the Fed's balance sheet… and raising interesting rates… until the money supply tightens and all hell breaks loose. Then, he will move heaven and earth to protect the Deep State from bankruptcy… with an aggressive program of QE Encore. Then, most likely, we will have the financial chaos and 'crack-up boom' we wrote about last week."
Why Tax Reform Is in Trouble -National Review
"No one is willing to cut spending, and the current plan would raise taxes on many individuals. The deep challenge in getting tax reform done is that the government spends too much money, and no one - including the president - wants to tackle that. No attempt to address 'government spending' means anything without entitlement reform, a subject Trump has placed off-limits. The size of government, therefore, is not going to be addressed in any tax reform this year or next, and we basically knew that going in. But the mistake is the early decision to blend corporate-tax reform with individual-income-tax reform....Essentially, Republicans are going to have to pick between passing a bill that raises taxes on their constituents and denying the president his desperately needed legislative victory....In a perfect world, we get really good tax reform done because we led with entitlement and spending reform. That is not going to happen at this juncture in time."
Bank Stocks, Dollar Slide Hit By Fresh Tax Reform Doubts -Zero Hedge
"U.S. equity futures fell, led by sliding bank stocks and a drop in the dollar as doubts over republican tax cuts and ongoing bond curve flattening hurt sentiment and prompted fresh questions over the viability of the US expansion. Investor concerns also returned to geopolitics as Trump continued his tour of Asia with a mission of rallying the world to stand up to the North Korean threat. Calling out by name Russia and China, he said Wednesday that all responsible nations must join forces to deny Kim Jong Un’s regime any form of support....But the biggest catalyst was a renewed fear about the fate of GOP tax cuts, as fresh doubts emerged about tax reform progress after the Washington Post reported Senate Republican leaders were considering holding cuts back by a year, while they are also said to be considering repealing deductions for state and local taxes."
11.7.17 - Gold 'Is A Screaming Buy' - Analyst
Gold last traded at $1,275 an ounce. Silver at $16.94 an ounce.
NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices eased back Tuesday on profit-taking and a firmer dollar. U.S. stocks retreated as investors digested the latest earnings and odds of tax reform.
The Black Swan In Plain Sight - Debt Out The Wazoo -David Stockman ContraCorner
"Monumental towers of rapidly rising debt loom everywhere on the planet. For the moment, the artificial cash flow from this unsustainable borrowing spree is keeping a simulacrum of growth and prosperity alive. Yet this whole outbreak of debt madness - represented by $225 trillion outstanding on a global basis - is careening toward a financial and economic dead end that will soon crush today's fiscally profligate politicians and heedless financial punters, alike, in a devastating reset of bond yields....During the weeks since the coronation of Mr. Xi occurred at China's 19th communist party Congress, its bond yields have been rising sharply to three year highs; and its yield curve has plunged into negative territory for the longest continuous period on record. We can't even imagine the carnage that will occur among China's vastly inflated financial and real estate assets when global yields commence their inexorable rise....But we are quite sure that Wall Street's current phony 'synchronized global growth' meme will vanish almost instantly when the latest short-lived China credit impulse disappears from the world trading system....At the end of the day, you can't borrow your way to prosperity. That's the oldest rule in the book of sound money and sustainable finance. And it's about ready to be learned all over again. Big time."
How cancer saved our small business from the death tax -Washington Examiner
"You read the headline right. In 2010, the gradual decline of the so-called death tax reached a full repeal for that year and that year only. That year just so happened to be the year my grandfather, the patriarch of our family's small manufacturing business, lost his long and painful battle with cancer. Had we been so fortunate to have him for another year, we would have lost everything he worked so hard to build....Some will try to discredit the impact of the death tax by saying it only affects a small number of wealthy people. First, the acceptable number of businesses our tax system should be allowed to destroy is zero. Second, defenders of the death tax are either willfully ignorant or purposefully deceitful about what kind of wealth is actually taxed....It's a perverse feeling to be grateful your father was fortunate to die in 2010 due to government greed....That's the bargain the tax code left my family: death or death by taxes. So when I hear about the death tax being thrown around like a bargaining chip by members of Congress, or minimized by someone some like Sen. Bernie Sanders (who has made his fortune dividing people in government instead of building a business) I cannot help but speak out. Congress, the death tax may be a pawn in your game, but it rivaled cancer in its destructive power to my family."
Gold 'Is A Screaming Buy' - Analyst -Kitco
"As traders are placing bets on whether gold prices will hold onto recent gains or not, this analyst says that it is a great time to buy the yellow metal. 'GLD is a screaming BUY at this juncture,' Boris Mikanikrezai, precious metals analyst at FastMarkets, wrote in a Seeking Alpha post on Monday....On Monday, gold found support from a combination of safe-haven demand and surging crude oil prices, which hit a two-year high, said Jim Wyckoff, Kitco’s senior technical analyst. 'The marketplace is just a bit unnerved to start the trading week, as a major shake-up occurred in Saudi Arabia's ruling system over the weekend. Saudi princes and businessmen were arrested to weed out corruption, according to the Saudi Kingdom. The news helped to lift gold and silver, also gave oil prices a boost,' Wyckoff said in his PM Roundup."
Khamenei to Putin: Let's Ditch the Dollar and 'Isolate the Americans' -CNS News
"Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday that their countries, both targeted by U.S. sanctions, should respond by ditching the U.S. dollar in trade transactions and use their national currencies instead....Khamenei's office, which quoted the supreme leader's words to his visitor, did not say whether Putin responded to the comment. The Kremlin's own readout of the meeting was brief, containing no details. For years critics have been calling for the U.S. dollar to be abandoned as the main global reserve currency, with Russia and China leading the charge, but support also from other countries hostile to the U.S., including Iran and Venezuela....Last week the U.S. House of Representatives passed bipartisan sanctions legislation targeting Iran's ballistic missiles which also puts Russia in the crosshairs, because of its provision of advanced S-300 missile defense systems to Tehran."
11.6.17 - Bezos Sells $1.1 Billion of Amazon Stock
Gold last traded at $1,281 an ounce. Silver at $17.23 an ounce.
NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Monday on a weaker dollar and geopolitical uncertainty. U.S. stocks inched higher on news of potential telecom merger.
German Investors Now World’s Largest Gold Buyers -GoldSeek
"India and China often grab the headlines as the world’s largest buyers of gold. In 2016 this was not the case. When measured on a per capita basis it is Germany that takes the impressive crown of largest gold buyer in 2016, all thanks to their investment market. Last year the country set a new personal best, plowing as much as $8 bn into gold coins, bars and exchange-traded commodities (ETCs). This is impressive considering that back in 2008 the amount of gold purchased by Germans barely registered outside of the country....What changed?....The ratio of investors buying gold bars and coins compared to those selling is around 10:1. This is despite the economy looking healthy and unemployment at its lowest since the 1990 reunification. Clearly, German confidence in the economy is not expressed through their gold investments any longer. Instead it is their confidence in gold that keeps the market strong....When the Germans sensed uncertainty following the financial crisis they did not panic about the global situation. They instead took a long hard look at their own banking system and began to diversify their savings. As a result they rediscovered their trust in gold which continues to grow year by year."
Taxing America’s Future...And Yours -Pontification Blog
"'The sweeping tax overhaul House Republicans introduced [November 2] would eliminate or scale back some of the biggest incentives for home-buying in federal law,' wrote Russell Berman in The Atlantic. This would, he said, cut in half the limit on deducting mortgage interest, cap property tax deductibility, repeal the tax deduction for moving expenses, and force more people to pay taxes on profits made from selling a home. The low-earning Millennial Generation has already postponed buying their first home, which has postponed marriages and couples starting a family, which has in turn helped spawn the lowest fertility rate in American history. Higher taxes, in other words, have unintended consequences. In this case, raising taxes on home ownership could mean far fewer children in this generation - and far fewer future workers to pay for Social Security and Medicare that are already speeding toward bankruptcy....Baby Boomers grew up thinking that what you invested in a home was a reliable haven of ever-increasing savings for the future. Government coerced the banks into giving mortgages to millions of uncreditworthy home buyers. This created an insane bubble in home prices and, in 2008-2009, a bust in prices that cost the average family 39 percent of their total net worth and left tens of millions underwater in debt. Monetary expert Craig R. Smith and I first analyzed this in Crashing the Dollar. Some see the stock market in a similar bubble today, near bursting, with millions of investors at risk in the stock casino. They were driven to gamble because their homes and bank savings accounts are no longer reliable investments, and the dollars they save are being deliberately debased by government money-printing and inflation." Full story
Bezos Calls The Top? Sells $1.1 Billion Of Amazon Stock -Zero Hedge
"Is the world's richest man starting to get a little concerned that his $90 billion fortune in Amazon stock might just be fully valued? Well, judging by his SEC disclosures from last Friday, Bezos provided investors with roughly 1.1 billion reasons why the answer to that question may be a resounding 'yes'. As Bloomberg points out, Bezos sold a total of 1 million Amazon shares over the course of three days last week netting roughly $1.1 billion in proceeds. The sale represented just 1.3% of Bezos' total stake in Amazon and leaves him with 16.4% of the company's shares outstanding....Maybe this is just 'tax planning' or 'diversification' or any of the many other excuses executives give for selling their own stock...certainly it has nothing to do with Amazon's 282x P/E ratio."
Saudi says Iran strike may be 'act of war' -Yahoo News
"Saudi Arabia and Iran traded fierce accusations over Yemen on Monday, with Riyadh saying a rebel missile attack 'may amount to an act of war' and Tehran accusing its rival of war crimes. Tensions have been rising between Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and predominantly Shiite Iran, which are opposed in disputes and conflicts across the Middle East from Yemen and Syria to Qatar and Lebanon. On Monday, a Saudi-led military coalition battling Tehran-backed rebels in Yemen said it reserved the 'right to respond' to the missile attack on Riyadh at the weekend, calling it a 'blatant military aggression by the Iranian regime which may amount to an act of war'....Repeated attempts to bring about a negotiated settlement to the conflict have failed, including a series of UN-backed peace talks....The kingdom is in the midst of an unprecedented purge of its upper ranks, with dozens of senior figures arrested at the weekend, as 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman consolidates his hold on power."
11.3.17 - The Greatest Fear: A Lack of Fear
Gold last traded at $1,269 an ounce. Silver at $16.83 an ounce.
NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices eased back Friday on a firmer dollar after "upbeat" jobs data. U.S stocks rose to fresh highs led by tech giant Apple's better-than-expected earnings report.
The Powell Predicament -New York Sun
"President Trump's nomination of Governor Jerome Powell to the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve creates a predicament for partisans of monetary reform. At the White House today, the president called Mr. Powell a consensus builder. He represents continuity from Janet Yellen, under whom the Fed created what Candidate Trump called a 'false economy.' Then again, too, we have never looked to the Fed itself to lead the cause of monetary reform. For one thing, the Fed made out fine during the Great Recession of the Obama years, racking up enormous sums in what it calls 'profits,' while Mrs. Yellen and her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, mocked the gold standard. Instead, the place to look for reform is the Congress....We share the concern of economist Judy Shelton, who regrets that the position of Fed chairman has become so important. Were we on a monetary system in which the dollar was defined in statute as a given amount of specie, our monetary policy - and the chairmen who do so much to set it - wouldn’t be so political in the first place."
If the Wall Street and political world are embracing Mr. Powell, is that good or bad news for the rest of us? Mr. Powell is a big believer in Keynesian economics, just as Bernanke and Yellen before him. But rather than being rooted in academia, Powell comes from the swamplands of law and banking. Many pundits feel this makes him perfectly suited to run the Fed and expect his confirmation without a hitch. But in the months ahead we wonder just how smoothly the Fed will run? Can the Fed outrun economic fundamentals? Or might the Powell Fed run the dollar further into the ground? Time will tell.
The Greatest Fear Today: The Lack of Fear -Rickards/Daily Reckoning
"Market crashes often happen not when everyone is worried about them, but when no one is worried about them. Complacency and overconfidence are good leading indicators of an overvalued market set for a correction or worse. Prominent magazine covers are notorious for declaring a boundless bull market right at the top just before a crash or correction....For almost a year, one of the most profitable trading strategies has been to sell volatility. That's about to change…Since the election of Donald Trump stocks have been a one-way bet. They almost always go up, and have hit record highs day after day. The strategy of selling volatility has been so profitable that promoters tout it to investors as a source of 'steady, low-risk income.' Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, sellers of volatility have made steady profits the past year. But the strategy is extremely risky and you could lose all of your profits in a single bad day. Think of this strategy as betting your life's savings on red at a roulette table. If the wheel comes up red, you double your money. But if you keep playing eventually the wheel will come up black and you'll lose everything....It has been nine years since the last financial panic so a new one tomorrow should come as no surprise. The safe havens will be the euro, cash, gold and low-debt emerging markets such as Russia. The areas to avoid are U.S. stocks, China, South Korea and heavily indebted emerging markets."
When central banks are buying gold, should we just sit & watch? -Economic Times
"Central banks are hoarding gold. China, Russia and many Asian and West Asian central banks have started accumulating gold....The Chinese central bank is trying to diversify from the US dollar on which it has become overly reliant due to massive foreign exchange reserve. China has a staggering $3.091 trillion foreign exchange reserve. It also owns $1.09 trillion worth of US Treasury bonds, notes and bills....To prop up their currencies, they have started accumulating gold to boost reserves. Germany brought back the gold reserves it had stored in French vaults. German investors have turned to gold to protect their wealth in the face of loose monetary policy and successive financial crises....Gold buying by central banks amid limited supply will tighten the gold price situation. This should appreciate gold prices but that would happen in the long term, since short-term gold prices are prone to manipulation by shorting in futures."
October Jobs: Record Waiters And Bartenders, Wages Flat -Zero Hedge
"Following last month's sharply upward revised jobs report, whose initial negative print of -33,000 was since revised to a positive 18K, there was a sharp jump in October jobs, which while failing to meet consensus estimate of a +310K print, was still a solid +261K. But which jobs contributed the most? The answer, not surprising, is that the single biggest contributor was the same job category which was devastated in the previous month. Readers will recall that last month we pointed out that workers in 'food service and drinking places' aka waiters and bartenders, suffered their biggest drop on record, plunging by a whopping 111K. Well, one month later it's payback time, and according to the BLS, 88,500 waiters and bartenders found jobs in October. Putting this number in context, the record increase in 'food service and drinking places' jobs was a whopping third (34%) of all the 261K jobs added in October....With tens of thousands of minimum wage jobs coming back, average hourly earnings tumbled to the worst monthly wage print since June 2015, as AHE actually declined by 1 cent in October."
11.2.17 - 4 Words Stock Investors Should Fear
Gold last traded at $1,278 an ounce. Silver at $17.13 an ounce.
NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices inched higher Thursday ahead of a formal announcement of Jerome Powell as the next Fed Chairman. U.S. stocks fell on disappointing GOP tax bill details.
Gold Investors Weigh ‘Dove’ Powell for Fed Chief -Bloomberg
"Gold held gains as investors contemplated the prospect of Jerome Powell taking the top job at the U.S. Federal Reserve. Fed Governor Powell has been supportive of current Chair Janet Yellen's strategy of gradual tightening. President Donald Trump is scheduled to announce his decision Thursday at 3 p.m. Washington time....The next Fed chair 'will be a continuation of Yellen,' Bob Haberkorn, a senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago, said in a telephone interview....Powell's appointment to the biggest job in the financial world is subject to Senate confirmation. He's been a Fed governor since 2012, and in that time has never dissented from a monetary-policy decision. The Washington native would be taking over at a tricky time, with inflation well below the bank's 2 percent target, while asset prices are at levels considered lofty by policy makers."
Get Ready for the “Crack-Up Boom” -Bonner/Bonner And Partners
"For nearly two decades, the world’s central banks have labored hard, sweating to coax more digital money out of a stony and grudging economy. More than $20 trillion did they bring forth via QE (buying stocks and bonds with newly created cash) – a mighty sum indeed. But that is past. It is what wrought a Dow at 23,000 points… Amazon shares trading for $1,000… and a $6,000 bitcoin....Stocks have been going up for the last eight years. From whence cometh so much buying pressure? Did they earn so much more money… did they save so much with rising profits and wages that the real economy produced? Nope. Instead, the money came from central banks....In China, the explosion in new credit over the last couple of years has been breathtaking. Total debt - public and private - expanded three times as fast as the economy....What is coming down the pike, therefore, is the great China Debt Retrenchment - a globally-impacting braking motion....Central banks are reversing the policy that a generation of investors, businesses, and households has taken for granted. From 'buy,' they are moving to 'sell'… from loose to tight… from 'Party Now!' to 'Party Later!' Hmmm… what will that do to the gigantic bubble they have created? We don’t know. But we have a hunch that it will send central bankers scrambling to bring out the biggest punch bowl ever."
Stock Investors Should Fear These Four Critical Words -Fortune
"The stock market has shown extraordinary momentum since the presidential election, and investors who placed bets on that irresistible force have garnered big gains. But folks should think hard about another force that’s a lot more reliable than momentum. According to history, it's the real irresistible force, and it consists of four words: Reversion to the Mean. The portfolio managers and equity strategists at America's big banks are selling equities hard. Despite what look like super-rich valuations, they keep parading familiar bullet points to assert that stocks are still a bargain....But when you consider reversion to the mean, Wall Street's slant on the stock market seems as exaggerated as a funhouse mirror that elongates a scrawny kid to the height of an NBA center....The best measure for current stock valuations is the CAPE, or cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio....Here's the danger: Since late 2010, the CAPE has done a hockey stick, hitting a sixteen-year record of 31.2 in October. If the S&P 500 were to revert to a CAPE of 20, just above its average in recent decades, stock prices would need to fall by 36%. This isn't a prediction that such a collapse is imminent, or will happen at all. It’s simply a reminder that while momentum is on the market’s side, history is not."
Tax reform plan cuts mortgage interest deduction in half -CNBC
"America's popular mortgage interest deduction is about to lose a lot of its punch. The House Republican tax plan halves the cap on the deduction of mortgage debt for newly purchased homes to $500,000. It does, however, maintain the current deduction of up to $1 million in mortgage debt for current homeowners....Homebuilder and overall housing stocks moved lower on the news and are now at their worst levels of the day....'Eliminating or nullifying the tax incentives for homeownership puts home values and middle-class homeowners at risk, and, from a cursory examination, this legislation appears to do just that,' said National Association of Realtors President William Brown in a statement."
Americans Are Officially Freaking Out -Bloomberg
"For those lying awake at night worried about health care, the economy, and an overall feeling of divide between you and your neighbors, there's at least one source of comfort: Your neighbors might very well be lying awake, too. Almost two-thirds of Americans, or 63 percent, report being stressed about the future of the nation, according to the American Psychological Association’s Eleventh Stress in America survey, conducted in August and released on Wednesday. This worry about the fate of the union tops longstanding stressors such as money (62 percent) and work (61 percent) and also cuts across political proclivities. However, a significantly larger proportion of Democrats (73 percent) reported feeling stress than independents (59 percent) and Republicans (56 percent). The 'current social divisiveness' in America was reported by 59 percent of those surveyed as a cause of their own malaise....The report also notes that many Americans are finding at least one healthy way to feel better: 53 percent reported exercising or doing other physical activity to cope. Social support is also important, Evans said. 'Third,' he says, 'I think it's really important for people to disconnect from the constant barrage of information.'"
11.1.17 - Pentagon Fears Hackers to Crash Market
Gold last traded at $1,279 an ounce. Silver at $17.10 an ounce.
NEWS SUMMARY: Precious metal prices rose Wednesday on safe-haven buying despite a firmer dollar ahead of Fed statement. U.S. stocks traded mixed on investor uncertainty about tax reform and the new Fed chairman pick.
The world is running out of gold -Holmes/Business Insider
"My good friend Pierre Lassonde, cofounder and chairman of Franco-Nevada, doesn’t know how we’ll replace the massive gold deposits of the past 130 years or so....Over the medium and long-term, this could lead to a supply-demand imbalance and ultimately put strong upward pressure on the price of gold...So few new large mines are being discovered today, Pierre says, mostly because companies have had to slash exploration budgets in response to lower gold prices....Have we reached peak gold? Other factors contributing to the decline include tougher regulations and higher production costs....I agree with my friend Pierre's 'absolute rule' that investors should hold between 5 and 10 percent gold in your portfolio."
Pentagon Worried about Hackers Causing Stock Market Crash -Wolf Street
"It's funny, the all-out government effort to prevent a major decline of the stock market, or of individual stocks, via manipulation or hacking. Now even the Pentagon is looking into it. What's funny is that everyone cheers when manipulation, hacking, and other shenanigans cause the market or individual stocks to soar. It's just declines they're worried about at these precarious levels. Manipulating stocks higher is a time-honored game that routinely receives kudos from all around. The Fed printed nearly $4 trillion and cut rates to zero for eight years - no matter what the damage to the real economy - for the sole purpose of manipulating up asset prices including stock prices....By extrapolation, the Pentagon is not really worried about malicious actors per se. It's only worried about those on the wrong side of the 'wealth effect.' And what makes this funny, if it weren't so serious, is that it's the Pentagon, of all places, that's doing this."
A new Swiss America Research Report, AMERICA'S CYBER-HIT LIST, reveals how and why your money is more vulnerable to cyberattack right now than ever before - and what to do about it.
The U.S. Isn't Prepared for the Next Recession -The Atlantic
"Maybe it will start with a failed initial public offering, followed by the revelation of widespread fraud in Silicon Valley. Perhaps energy prices will spike, sapping the finances of anyone who drives a car to work. Maybe a foreign crisis will cause a credit crunch, or President Trump will spark a global trade war. A recession might seem like a distant concern, with the latest data showing that the current, extraordinarily economic long expansion just keeps humming along. But one will hit eventually, for some reason or another- that's how economies work. And when it does, the country won’t be ready. The average middle-class household has largely recovered from the Great Recession, which began nearly 10 years ago, in December 2007...Yet millions of people remain in perilous financial shape, with little to buffer them in the event of a layoff....Where things get really worrisome is the potential and likely response of the government. When it comes to monetary policy, there is far less space for the Federal Reserve to maneuver than last time around. Interest rates remain near scratch....Since the last recession, numerous states have cut back on the duration and the size of benefits that recipients who pay into the system and lose their job receive....Finally, there is the question of the rest of the world. Because of the interconnectedness of the global economy, were the United States to tip into a recession, other countries would likely do so too."
The West Wants to Supply China's Surveillance State -Wall Street Journal
"U.S. tech giants and Chinese state-backed companies showed off the future of policing in this southern technology hub as they vie for a slice of the world's biggest surveillance market. Companies from across the globe packed one of the world's biggest surveillance trade shows to demonstrate the latest gizmos and algorithms powering the high-tech revolution in the industry, of which China is on the vanguard. Tools being hawked included facial-recognition cameras, iris scanners, software that can read a subject's mood and cameras that can scan license plates in the dark....China is a big buyer of surveillance technology as Beijing steps up its efforts to better monitor its 1.4 billion people. That is providing a boon for equipment makers - who are looking to export their gear abroad. But it has also sparked concern from rights activists about how the authoritarian government is using the souped-up 'Big Brother' technology....'What starts here ends up in homes, airports and businesses back in America,' said Mark Raine, managing director at CCTVdirect, a U.K.-based distributor of surveillance equipment. The integration of artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the surveillance industry. 'Now, the computer tells you when something's wrong,' he said."