Markets closed lower today, DOW off 200 points, oils fall to morning lows and the U.S. Dollar trades sideways just below its morning highs. Market analysts are talking more regarding a severe correction looming ahead, while investors are more concerned about the Iran nuclear deal deadline tonight. Oil has pushed modestly higher on the news but remains driven more by the headlines from Switzerland.
Although U.S. stocks declined today in a retreat from the previous session's sharp rally, major indexes remained on track for first-quarter gains and the S&P 500 was set for its ninth straight quarterly rise. As the U.S. runs low on space for oil storage, production growth is expected to slow. That could bring some much-needed support for prices after a nine-month slide.
By 4 pm the averages were severely off yesterdays nice rise giving hope to the bulls that everything was going to be O.K., not so today.
Two months ago, when looking at the most recent physical gold withdrawal numbers reported by the Fed, we observed something peculiar: between the publicly reported surprise redemption by the Netherlands (122 tons) and the just as surprise redemption by the Bundesbank (85 tons), at least 207 tons of gold should have vacated the NY Fed's gold vault. Instead, the Fed reported that in all of 2014 "only" 177 tons of gold were shipped out of the massive gold vault located 90 feet below 33 Liberty Street. Somehow the delta between what we "shipped" and what was "received" in the past year was a whopping 30 tons, or about 15% of the total - a gap that is big enough to make even China's outright fraudulent trade numbers seems sterling by comparison.
This prompted us to ask:
"what happened? Did an intern input the Fed's gold redemptions figures for December, supposedly a different intern than the one who works at the IMF and who caused a stir earlier this week when the IMF, allegedly erroneously, reported that the Dutch - after secretly repatriating 122 tons of gold - had also bought 10 tons of gold in the open market for the first time in nearly a decade.
Or perhaps some "other" bank, central or commercial, decided to offset the redemptions by ...
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Warren Buffett, the billionaire chief executive officer and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, said Tuesday that an exit by Greece from the euro zone could be constructive for the region.
(Reuters) - A U.S. bankruptcy judge on Tuesday said he will approve a plan by RadioShack Corp to sell 1,740 of its stores to the Standard General hedge fund, which plans to operate most of them in conjunction with Sprint Corp .
With Decisive Storm airstrikes showing no signs of abating, and with some reports suggesting that as many as 40 people were killed when bombs struck a refugee camp near Haradh, many suspect the violence in Yemen is set to escalate meaningfully in the days and weeks ahead with Saudi Arabia preparing to launch a ground invasion in the expanding effort to debilitate the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who toppled the US-supported Yemeni government.
The bombing raids by the Saudi-led coalition have persisted for five consecutive days in Sanaa and al-Hodeidah where air strikes targeted anti-aircraft installations. The Yemeni foreign minister denied that the coalition was responsible for the death of refugees and instead placed the blame on rebel artillery fire.
Via Al Arabiya:
Yemen's foreign minister blamed Iranian-allied Houthi fighters for an air strike on a camp for displaced people and refugees in northern Yemen that killed at least 45 people on Monday, denying any link to Saudi-led military operations.
Riyadh Yaseen was speaking to reporters in the Saudi capital Riyadh. He said the explosion on the camp was not from Arab coalition forces but by "artillery strikes" by the Shiite Muslim Houthis.
Meanwhile, in what is perhaps the surest sign that a ground invasion is in fact in the offing, the Saudis are out saying there's currently no need to put boots on the ground:
#BREAKING: Saudi-led coalition spokesman: No current need to send ground troops to
Days after Zero Hedge broke the news that CNBC had just suffered its worst ever ratings year in 2014...
... we weren't at all surprised to read in the WSJ that "CNBC will no longer rely on TV ratings specialist Nielsen to measure its daytime audience, beginning later this year. Instead, it has retained marketing and research firm Cogent Reports for the task."
WSJ further reported that "CNBC's daytime Nielsen ratings, which always have been relatively small, have fallen sharply over the past decade. In 2014â€"its least-watched year since 1995â€"CNBC had an average audience of 177,000 people from the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., according to Nielsen. That is down 17% from an average of 214,000 viewers in 2004, and it is a drop of 13% from 2013."
It has gotten so bad WSJ is now actively losing leverage, and money, when discussing ads: "Executives at ...
......Submitted and posted with permission by Gary Christenson - The Deviant Investor
Which silver? Paper silver or real silver?
Silver prices are largely set on the COMEX futures â€" paper silver. A company can post the margin and sell short thousands of contracts with no actual metal available thereby creating artificial supply. The reverse occurs when some company buys thousands of contracts. It is a paper game, but unfortunately it has tremendous influence on the price of real silver.
What's wrong with paper silver? Paper silver has been aggressively sold and that pushes prices down â€" just the opposite of what occurred between 2009 and April 2011. What is wrong with paper silver is â€¦ probably nothing. Buyers and sellers do their thing, sometimes in fractions of a second, and they define a price for paper.
What's wrong with physical silver? The usual â€" the paper markets set the price for the physical markets and drive prices to unsustainable highs and lows. We are currently at the low end of the cycle.
How do we know the price is low and due to turn up? Of course we have no guarantee (my crystal ball is being repaired) but we can look at the demand and charts. Steve St. Angelo publishes excellent analysis on physical supply and demand for silver. Read his many articles, but a summary is: silver supply is weak and global investment demand is s ...
The Long US Dollar, Short US Treasuries trades were the 'most crowded' earlier this year and while both have derisked modestly from record highs, this week saw the net speculative position in EURUSD futures surge more negative and has never been shorter. Along similar 'strong dollar' lines, as Bloomberg reports, net long positions in Gold have dropped to their lowest since Dec 2013 and outright Gold short positions rose for the seventh week in a row to the highest since data began in 2006.
Specs have never been more short The Euro against the US Dollar...
And gold shorts have never been higher...
So everyone on one side of the Strong Dollar boat... apart from The Fed...
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks declined on Tuesday in a retreat from the previous session's sharp rally, but major indexes remained on track for first-quarter gains and the S&P 500 was set for its ninth straight quarterly rise.
DETROIT (Reuters) - Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc wants to purchase more U.S. auto dealerships to expand the company's automotive dealer venture, Larry Van Tuyl, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Automotive, told CNBC on Tuesday.
Frequent readers are aware that the one US housing market which we follow the closest because it is perhaps the best proxy for global liquidity but even more importantly, Chinese excess liquidity (and capital outflows) is that of San Francisco - a mecca for not only the beneficiaries of the second tech bubble, but the favorite spot to park cash for thousands of uber-rich Asian and, until recently, Russian oligarchs.
This is what we said last June when describing what was then the start of the inflection in San Fran housing:
When it comes to critical housing markets in the US, none is more important than San Francisco.
Courtesy of its location, not only does it reflect the general Fed-driven liquidity bubble which is the tide rising all housing boats across the US, but due to its proximity to both Silicon Valley and China, it also benefits from two other liquidity bubbles: that of tech, and of course, the Chinese $25 trillion financial debt monster, where since the local housing bubble has burst, local oligarchs have no choice but to dump their cash abroad.
It is no surprise that during ever single previous bubble peak, San Francisco home prices managed to post a 20% annual increase, starting with the dot com bubble in the year 2000, the first (not to be confused with the current) housing bubble peaking around 2005, and then the European sovereign debt bubble.
We've written quite a bit lately about Austria's Heta, the bad bank gone... well, bad, or as we're fond of calling it, Austria's Black Swan. Recapping, an outside audit identified a â‚¬7.6 billion hole in the vehicle's balance sheet, prompting the institution of a debt moratorium. Unfortunately, Austria's Carinthia province had guaranteed more than â‚¬10 billion in Heta debt, which is five times the state's operating revenue meaning it is, for all intents and purposes, insolvent and unless Austria wants to go the unprecedented route of allowing a provincial bankruptcy, the sovereign will need to step in in one way or another. The next shoe to drop was the German lender DuesselHyp which itself faced insolvency thanks to around â‚¬350 million of Heta debt it held on its balance sheet.
While we wait to see which "well capitalized" bank will be the next to crumble under the weight of mountainous writedowns occasioned by the sudden souring of "riskless" assets, we get to read the DuesselHyp post-mortem, which shows that the bank was effectively AIG'd by Eurex. Here's more via Bloomberg:
Eurex, Europe's largest derivatives market, asked DuessHyp to post additional collateral as the German bank faced writing down its 348 million euros ($375 million) of bonds issued by Austria's Heta, said the people.
LONDON (Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard Co has lodged a claim in London against Michael Lynch and a former colleague for damages of about $5.1 billion over their management of Autonomy, the company it bought in 2011.
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