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Wednesday, July 11, 2012 – Toodaloo San Berdoo

Toodaloo San Berdoo-by Sinclair NoeDOW – 48 = 12,604SPX – .02 = 1341NAS – 14 = 288710YR YLD un = 1.50%OIL + .18 = 85.99GOLD + 10.10 = 1577.60SILV +.33 = 27.24PLAT + 6.00 = 1435.00The city council of San Bernardino, California, voted last night to file for bankruptcy, marking the third time in recent weeks a California city is seeking bankruptcy protection. The decision followed a report by city staff that said the city faced an imminent financial crisis. The report said the city had exhausted its reserves and projected that spending would exceed revenue by $45 million in the current fiscal year which started on July 1.The city attorney general James Penman said San Bernardino’s city officials had been submitting false accounting documents for 13 of the last 16 years in an effort to hide the real financial situation of the city. That period covers the tenure of multiple city managers and sets of elected officials, but it predates the  Acting City Manager.San Bernardino will join the California communities of Stockton and Mammoth Lakes in bankruptcy court. Stockton failed on June 28th, after three months of talks with its creditors to obtain concessions to close its $26 million budget gap. Mammoth Lakes, a ski resort town of about 8,000 residents, last week filed for bankruptcy due to a nearly $43 million legal judgment against it.San Bernardino has suffered from the housing crash and high unemployment. According to the report to its city council, the city “has reached a …

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012 – Starting to Detect a Pattern

Starting to Detect a Pattern– by Sinclair NoeDOW – 83 = 12,653SPX – 10 = 1341NAS – 29 = 290210 YR YLD -.02 = 1.50%OIL +.23 = 84.14GOLD – 20.80 = 1567.50SILV – .53 = 26.91PLAT – 20.00 = 1429.00Did you ever write a note to yourself, maybe you even wrote it down on your calendar, something that required your attention, and even with the reminder, you never got around to it. Treasury Secretary Turbo Tim Geithner pulls out one of the old calendars, and there it is, plain as day, a little memo to himself from back in 2008, when he was heading up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The memo says: Fixing Libor. That’s what it says right there after lunch on a Thursday,  just before an appointment with his accountant. Fixing Libor. And then there were all those emails, and phone calls, and Bear Stearns collapse, and there was the money market thing, and well, you know how it is. Meanwhile, legislators on Capitol Hill have signaled they are interested in learning more about what Fed officials knew with regards to allegations of Libor manipulation.Rep. Randy Neugebauer, chairman of a subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, sent a letter to the New York Fed asking for transcripts of any “communications with Barclays regarding the setting of interbank offered rates from August 2007 to November 2008.”Tim Johnson, who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, said today he was concerned by the allegations of the potential “widespread manipulation” …

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Monday, July 09, 2012 – Barclays Did Not Act Alone – Reaching Into the Upper Echelon

Barclays Did Not Act Alone – Reaching Into the Upper Echelon-by Sinclair NoeDOW – 36 = 12,736SPX – 2 = 1352NAS – 5 = 293110 YR YLD -.03 = 1.51OIL -.34 = 85.65GOLD + 4.90 = 1588.30SILV  + .24 = 27.44PLAT – 2.00 = 1449.00Alcoa kicked off the second quarter earnings reporting season. Alcoa has the ticker symbol AA and they are one of the 30 stocks in the Dow Industrials, so they start the earnings season based on alphabetical order and size and a little bit of tradition. Alcoa lost $2 million for the quarter. With an overhang of high inventories and a 20 percent drop in prices since March, many aluminum producers are losing money. Excluding items, also known as the cost of doing business, Alcoa earned $61 million from continuing operations, or 6 cents per share, which topped estimates of 5 cents per share. Later this week we’ll have earnings reports from some of the big banks, so it seems appropriate that Alcoa start earnings reporting season with some flashy accounting. Based upon this loss, they will probably get a tax refund. President Obama called on Congress to extend tax cuts for families earning less than $250,000 a year while allowing taxes to rise for households making more.Obama said: “Let’s not hold the vast majority of Americans and our economy hostage while we debate the merits of another tax cut for the wealthy.”Obama wants Congress to pass a one-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for households making …

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Friday, July 6, 2012 – That’s Just the Way It Is

That’s Just The Way It Isby Sinclair NoeDOW – 124 = 12,772SPX – 12 = 1354NAS – 38 = 293710 YR YLD -.05 = 1.54%OIL – 3.10 = 84.12GOLD – 21.50 = 1583.40SILV -.60 = 27.20PLAT – 28.00 = 1451.00We make a big deal out of the monthly employment outlook report.  It is a natural mistake. We think the report can tell us whether the economy is improving and, if so, by how much. Employment is fundamental for consumption, corporate profits, tax revenues, deficit reduction, and financial markets. People place too much emphasis on the official report, which is really only an estimate; there will be revision.  In about eight months, we’ll have an accurate count from state employment offices, but by then no one will care. There are several approaches to analyzing employment. And then there are seasonal factors. And you will be told there are different numbers that require your attention. And when you cut through all the noise and confusion, the monthly jobs report for June was a gain of 80,000 – and it just plain and simple sucked. The Labor Department said non-farm payrolls expanded by just 80,000 jobs in June, marking the third straight month employment has grown by fewer than 100,000 positions. Job creation was too weak to bring down the 8.2 percent unemployment rate. Job creation averaged 75,000 per month during the second quarter, compared with an average increase of 226,000 in the first quarter. Economists estimate that roughly 125,000 jobs are needed each …

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Thursday, July 5, 2012 – The Incredibly Massive Libor Scandal, Snakes, Plus the Halftime Report

The Incredibly Massive Libor Scandal, Snakes, Plus the Halftime Reportby Sinclair NoeDOW – 47 = 12,896SPX – 6 = 1367NAS +.03 = 297610 YR YLD -.03 = 1.60OIL +4.46 = 92.12GOLD – 12.80 = 1604.90SILV – .59 = 27.80PLAT – 16.00 = 1479.00It was a busy day for the central bankers. It started with the Bank of England. A couple of months ago, the BoE stopped bond purchases; today they resumed the practice. The Bank of England Governor, Mervyn King announced they will increase bond purchase to 375-billion-pounds, or about $585-billion-dollars. They think this will help pull the UK from recession but they admit output will likely remain sluggish after contracting for the past two months. A few minutes later, the People’s Bank of China cut its key interest rate for the second time in a month  and allowed banks to offer bigger discounts on their own lending costs. The one-year lending rate will fall by 31 basis points to 6 percent and the one-year deposit rate will drop by 25 basis points to 3 percent effective tomorrow. Banks can offer loans of as much as 30 percent less than benchmark rates.A few minutes later, the European Central Bank cut its key interest rate by 25 basis points to a record low of 0.75 percent. ECB President Mario Draghi questioned the economic impact of cutting rates but did it anyway. He said the ECB is not “running low on policy options” but he didn’t say what the other options are. Draghi claimed …

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012 – I Gotta Believe It’s Getting Better – Happy 4th

A couple of weeks back I foolishly said I thought things were getting better. Later that day, I was told I was wrong; things are not getting better.I think I can see the argument. It’s an old argument; It was the Best of Times, It was the worst of times. The economy is on the edge of collapse; the so-called fiscal cliff. Europe  is ready for collapse. Sure, there is plenty that is wrong. So, I tried to put together some sort of list of how things are better or worse. I’ve been saying that the economy is in a small “d” depression for the past 4 years. Unemployment is 8.2%, slightly less than the 8.5% rate of February 2009. The numbers are surely under-reported. This is the “new normal”. Drive through any town in America and you can see the businesses that have been shuttered, and the homes that have been foreclosed. We have a debt problem. Today, with a population of 305 million and debt of $16 trillion, it works out to about $52,000 per person… but that leaves out all the unfunded liabilities (which didn’t exist in years past) which add up to more than $75 trillion now, meaning a total debt and liabilities of $250,000 per person in the US.And personal privacy has been effectively shredded. No-knock warrant-less raids are the new norm; and the government is now using drones to spy on citizens; The United States has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s …

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Tuesday, July 03, 2012 – Banksters Behaving Badly

Banksters Behaving Badly– by Sinclair NoeDOW + 72 = 12,943SPX + 8 = 1374NAS + 24 = 297610 YR YLD +.05 = 1.63%OIL +3.91 = 87.66GOLD + 19.80 = 1617.70SILV +.77 = 28.39PLAT + 34.00 = 1495.00Stocks extended a rally for a third day; two-and-a-half if you want to get technical. The markets were open for a half day today; closed tomorrow. On Friday, we’ll get the monthly jobs report. The best guess right now is that the economy added 90,000 jobs last month. Oil moved higher ahead of the holiday. Iran is again threatening to block a critical Persian Gulf shipping route in response to a European embargo of Iranian oil; the U.S. has sent military reinforcements into the Persian Gulf to deter the Iranian military from any possible attempt to block the vital waterway.Today, the Commerce Department said new orders for manufactured goods rose 0.7 percent during May. Economists had forecast orders rising 0.2 percent.The US recovery remains “tepid” and according to the IMF, is expected to grow only 2% this year. Meanwhile, the fiscal cliff looms in 2013, threatening to reduce the economy’s growth to only 1% next year. Meanwhile, the IMF predicts the job market will improve only at a snail’s pace. It expects the unemployment rate to average 8.2% this year and 7.9% in 2013.Amid that weakness and threats from slower growth abroad, the IMF recommended US policymakers spend more on infrastructure, worker training programs, extended unemployment benefits and fixes for the housing market. Boost the …

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Monday, July 2, 2012 – Barclays Rate Rigging

Barclays Rate Riggingby Sinclair NoeDOW – 8 = 12,871SPX + 3 = 1365NAS + 16 = 295110 YR YLD -.08 = 1.58%OIL -.06 = 83.69GOLD – 2.20 = 1597.00SILV +.03 = 27.62PLAT + 7.00 = 1461.00The Institute for Supply Management’s index of national factory activity fell to 49.7 from 53.5 the month before. It was the first time since July 2009 that the index has fallen below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction. Manufacturing has been one of the drivers of the U.S. economic recovery, this is the biggest sign yet that the US is catching the slowdown that is well under way in Europe and China. So, with growth and inflation slowing  the ISM report increased the odds the Federal Reserve will step in with a third round of bond buying – known as quantitative easing, or QE3 – to prop up the economy. Oh yeah, unemployment is still high; that’s another good reason to have the central bank pass out free money. Of course, there is little to indicate QE3 will help the economy but it is a great justification. Banksters love free money. If the Fed won’t give it to them, they’ll create their own little scams – case in point:The Barclays rate rigging scandal is all the outrage in London. We’ve been a bit slow to ignite a spark of indignation on this side of the pond. Legislators in the UK are calling for the resignation of Bob Diamond, the CEO of Barclays. The …

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Friday, June 29, 2012 – It’s Almost Like Free Money, Woohoo!

It’s Almost Like Free Money, Woohoo! – by Sinclair NoeDOW + 277 = 12,880SPX + 33 = 1362NAS + 85 = 293510 YR YLD + .08 = 1.66%OIL + 7.18 = 84.87GOLD + 47.10 = 1600.10SILV + 1.17 = 27.59PLAT + 58.00 = 1454.00All right gang – what do the markets love? Free money. When central banks give free money to the banks (and let’s be clear, they only give free money to banks not to regular people) the bank traders grab the loot and scamper off to the casino or to the trading desk (same difference), and it’s risk on.  Next thing you know the Dow is up 277. Woohoo, this economics stuff is easy. Sometimes, just the promise of free money is enough.The past couple of days the big wigs in Euro-land held an emergency summit in Brussels. This was their 20th emergency summit, so expectations were diminished. And just when it looked like an unproductive weekend full of waffles and chocolates; they announced a blockbuster deal (think John Carter, not Avatar). They have a plan for long term fiscal union, and a plan to save Spain and Italy from contagion. They’ll use the ESM, the European Slush Mechanism to directly inject capital straight into the banks, just like junkies on the mainline. And this bailout money would not be senior to existing debt. You may remember that caused  a problem for the Greek bailout, when the ECB forced Greek bondholders to take big haircuts but the ECB debt was not discounted at …

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Thursday, June 28, 2012 – Adverse Selection, Asymmetric Information, Large Numbers, and Healthcare

Adverse Selection, Asymmetric Information, Large Numbers, and Healthcare – by Sinclair NoeDOW – 24 = 12,602SPX – 2 = 1329NAS – 25 = 284910 YR YLD – .04 = 1.58%OIL +.79 = 78.48GOLD – 22.20 = 1553.00SILV -.62 = 26.42PLAT – 19.00 = 1396.00If you had gone to Las Vegas and put down $5 dollars on Obamacare with John Roberts as the swing vote, your odds would have been about a million to one. According to Vegas bookmakers, nobody placed that bet; it was just too outrageous. This morning, a majority of the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. The big surprise, was the vote by the Chief Justice of the Court, John Roberts, to join with the Court’s four liberals.On the crucial issue in the case – whether the “individual mandate” requiring almost all Americans to purchase health insurance was a constitutionally-permissible extension of federal power under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution – Roberts agreed with his conservative brethren that it was not. If that was the end of the decision, it would have killed Obamacare, instead, it just tripped up the reporters at CNN and Fox who were so intent on trying to deliver “breaking news” that they forgot to read before speaking.  Roberts upheld the law because, he reasoned, the penalty to be collected by the government for non-compliance with the law is the equivalent of a tax – and the federal government has the power to tax. What’s …

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