Wednesday, September 26, 2012 – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum – Not Funny HaHa

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum – Not Funny HaHa by Sinclair Noe DOW – 44= 13,413SPX – 8 = 1433NAS – 24 = 309310 YR YLD – .06 = 1.62%OIL +.23 = 90.21GOLD – 7.30 = 1754.30SILV +.25 = 34.09 PLAT+9.00 = 1641.00 Did you hear the one about the bank’s prop trading desk. This will have you laughing out loud, it is a real side-splitter.Well, not so much a slap your knee kind of joke, not a real hearty guffaw, but more like a giggle, more like a hahahaha kind of joke. So this trader for Morgan Stanley, just a tyro, he walks onto the trading floor and he’s talking to his more experienced colleagues. They told him the banks misreported the Libor rates in away that would generally bring them profits. The kid said he was unaware of that, as he was relatively new to financial trading. The old, battle scarred traders laughed the kid off the trading floor. Libor fraud: More fun than a barrel of monkeys. And then Bloomberg reports on new emails from RBS traders reading: “Our six-month fixing moved the entire fixing, hahahah.” Haha, haha indeed. Libor fraud: Grins and giggles since the turn of the millennium. We keep getting all this information that Libor fraud was an ongoing and well-known, in your face fraud. And yet, nobody goes to jail. It is funny. Not in a laughing funny kind of way, but in a strange, nauseating, disgusting funny …

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Monday, August 20, 2012 – Diminished Expectations

Diminished Expectations-by Sinclair Noe DOW – 3 = 13,271SPX -0.03 = 1418NAS -0.38 = 307610 YR YLD un = 1.81%OIL – .05 = 97.70GOLD + 5.40 = 1622.20SILV +.72 = 28.91PLAT + 12.00 = 1496.00 Apple already boasts the largest market value of any public company. Today it became the most highly valued public company ever. With an increase in its share price, Apple broke the record for the biggest market capitalization, $616.34 billion, set by Microsoft on Dec. 27, 1999. Of course, shortly thereafter, Y2K hit and destroyed modern civilization as we know it; or maybe it was because Apple invented the iPod and the iPhone and the iPad, and Microsoft gave us Zune. Who knows?  Apple’s stock closed at $665.15, giving it a market value of $623.52 billion. Microsoft’s 1999 market value is still far higher than Apple’s when adjusted for inflation. The Microsoft of late 1999 would be worth $850 billion in today’s dollars. To beat Microsoft’s inflation-adjusted market value, Apple needs to close at $910. The Microsoft of August 2012 is worth $257 billion. I’m not sure what it says about our economy, that Apple is the most valuable company ever, but I suspect it is problematic.  ECB President Mario Draghi is scheduled to speak at this year’s Jackson Hole symposium. A fellow named Ben Bernanke is already scheduled to speak at the symposium, and so there has been a little speculation that there might be some coordinated action that will be announced. I’m not sure …

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Monday, August 13, 2012 – The World Slows Down but Refuses to Admit or Deny Slowing

The World Slows Down but Refuses to Admit or Deny Slowing– by Sinclair Noe DOW – 38 = 13,169SPX – 1 = 1404NAS + 1 = 302210 YR YLD +.01 = 1.65%OIL +.01 = 92.74GOLD – 10.60 = 1610.90SILV – .30 = 27.93PLAT – 13.00 = 1391.00 The S&P 500 closed slightly negative, but the interesting part was the volume, or the lack thereof on the New York Stock Exchange. It was the lowest non-holiday-trading day volume in over a decade; only 380 million shares changed hands. You’ve got to wonder if the problems with Knight Capital last week have exposed a problem. Clearly something broke with Knight’s algorithm software glitch. Could it be that the volume on the exchange has been artificially inflated? Yep. And what did we get for having a company like Knight Capital scalping with High Frequency trades? We all lost a little.  The S&P 500 and Dow have risen every week for the past five weeks. The S&P 500 last wrapped up a five-week climb in mid-March. The Dow hasn’t done so since last October. The Dow has fallen for 10 out of the past 11 Mondays, and the S&P 500 has finished down five of the last six. Japan’s economy grew in the second quarter at a 1.4 percent annual rate, slower than expected. Last week, China released dismal figures on retail sales and exports in July. There was some speculation Beijing would roll out stimulus measures over the weekend. That did not happen. …

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Thursday, August 09, 2012 – Rogue Regulators, Media Manipulators. What to Do? Turn on the AC and Chill Out While You Still Can

Rogue Regulators, Media Manipulators. What to Do? Turn on the AC and Chill Out While You Still Can-by Sinclair Noe DOW – 10 = 13,165SPX  + 0.58 = 1402NAS  + 7 = 301810 YR YLD + .05 = 1.69OIL -.11 = 95.16GOLD + 4.40 = 1618.00SILV + .10 = 28.24PLAT + 2.00 = 1418.00 So, you’re Standard Chartered Bank and you know you’ve got a problem with money laundering for the Iranians, but you charged a pretty pence and you’ve had you’re people talking to the US regulators and they seem to have it under control, and then some up and comer from New York state jumps in and threatens to revoke your charter.  What do you do? Well, first step is to return from vacation in the south of France, next step is to hire Sullivan and Cromwell and act contrite and surprised that there is any problem at all; next step is to hire Promontory Financial Group, a Washington D.C. consulting firm run by Eugene Ludwig, who served as US Comptroller of the Currency. Promontory reviews Standard Chartered’s transactions tied to Iran and informs regulators that the maximum amount of possible improper transactions might at the outside be $14 million, not the originally reported $250 billion, and seriously, what is all the fuss about a measly $14 million. You can’t expect a bank to keep track of every dollar.  Promontory has created a specialty niche business conducting independent reviews in rogue trader cases. And it turns out that …

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Friday, July 20, 2012 – Why Hasn’t Anything Been Fixed on Wall Street?

Why Hasn’t Anything Been Fixed on Wall Street?  -Sinclair NoeDOW – 120 = 12,822SPX – 13 = 1362NAS – 40 = 292510 YR YLD -.05 = 1.46%OIL – 1.14 = 91.83GOLD + 2.30 = 1585.00SILV +.05 = 27.43PLAT – 3.00= 1421.00For quite some time it has been accepted that Greece was toast; the Greeks would be forced to swallow the bitter pill of austerity; somehow the Euro-union would survive. And the EU seemed to be dealing with the meltdown of Ireland and Portugal as well; they just forced them to pay for their own bailouts; that plan isn’t working out so well with Spain. The Kingdom of Spain was supposed to be the firewall where the breakdown of the Euro-union stopped; that plan isn’t working our so well. The problem today is Valencia, a region of Spain, not the orange; they are asking for a $22 billion dollar bailout; apparently in addition to the $123 billion dollar assistance package that is going to bailout Spanish banks and backed by the Spanish citizens, at least theoretically. May be good for the banks but the Spanish economy is still in a downturn and the government says it will step up austerity measures.Spain’s IBEX stock index fell 5.8 percent, its biggest one-day drop in two years, and the risk premium on government debt hit a euro-era high as its borrowing costs rose to 7.32 percent. That yield is above the 7 percent threshold considered unsustainable, with little relief in sight. And that is …

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Monday, July 16, 2012 – Strong Demand for Negative Interest

Strong Demand for Negative Interest-by Sinclair NoeDOW – 49 = 12,727SPX – 3 = 1353NAS – 11 = 289610 YR YLD -.03 = 1.46%OIL -.32 = 88.11GOLD – .80 = 1589.60SILV – .03 = 27.41PLAT – 15.00 = 1423.00The International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for global economic growth and warned that the outlook could get worse if policymakers in Europe do not act with enough force and speed to control the financial crisis. The IMF said emerging market nations, long a global bright spot, were now being dragged down by Europe. It said a drop in exports in these countries would combine with earlier policies meant to prevent overheating and slow growth more sharply than hoped. The IMF cut its 2013 forecast for global growth to 3.9 percent from the 4.1 percent it projected in April, trimming projections for most advanced and emerging economies. It left its 2012 forecast unchanged at 3.5 percent. The IMF said advanced economies would only grow 1.4 percent this year and 1.9 percent in 2013.It also trimmed its forecast for emerging economies, projecting they will expand 5.9 percent in 2013 and 5.6 percent in 2012. Both figures are 0.1 of a percentage point lower than in April. The IMF cut its 2013 growth forecast for the crisis-hit euro zone to 0.7 percent, while maintaining its projection of a 0.3 percent contraction this year.The IMF cut its US forecasts slightly, largely based on concerns over a political battle brewing in Washington over how to avoid painful …

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Friday, July 13, 2012 – Jamie Dimon is to Jerry Sandusky as Tim Geithner is to Joe Paterno

Jamie Dimon is to Jerry Sandusky as Tim Geithner is to Joe Paterno-by Sinclair NoeDOW + 203 = 12,777SPX + 22 = 1356NAS + 42 = 290810 YR YLD +.02 = 1.50%OIL +.99 = 87.07GOLD + 17.20 = 1590.40SILV + .13 = 27.44PLAT + 15.00 = 1438.00JPMorgan Chase reported second quarter earnings of $5 billion; part of that is from accounting gimmickery – turning loss reserves into profits and such; and that’s after losses from the trading unit in London. The Chief Investment Office, or CIO, also know as the London proprietary trading unit, aka., the London Whale, sometimes known as Voldermort, occasionally referenced as he whose name can not be spoken – they lost $5.8 billion. Jamie Dimon, the CEO said back in May that the losses were $2 billion; now Dimon says that in a worst case scenario the London Whale losses will grow to $7.5 billion; the slow motion train wreck is still happening and Dimon can’t stop it. Dimon claimed traders may have deliberately hidden losses and the bank will restate first quarter earnings within the next week or so. So, there was this small trading unit in London and they accounted for about one-quarter of the bank’s net income, several billions of dollars in profits, and wants you to believe that he didn’t know what they were doing. His best story is that he is remarkably incompetent yet pleasantly surprised when billions of dollars of profits just magically materialized out of thin air. All right, MF …

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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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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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