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Crack Up!

BALTIMORE – The Dow rose on Wednesday morning… after Janet Yellen made soothing remarks about a “gradual” return to normal interest rates. Then investors must have realized that returning to normal is not on the Fed’s agenda. The Dow finished the day down 99 points.

We haven’t seen normal central bank policy since the Nixon years. Normal is a currency backed by gold, not by PhD economists. Only briefly and episodically, over the last 2000 years, has the world flirted with pure paper or “fiat” money. Every time, the affair was over in a short time… and regretted for a long time.

 

1-Fate_of_CurrenciesThe result of the usurpation of money by government

 

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Steps to the Moon

RANCHO SANTANA, Nicaragua – Stocks sold off on Friday. The Dow fell 211 points. Leading the retreat were tech stocks with the Nasdaq, where they tend to hang their hats, down more than 3%.

“Tech sector leads sharp sell-off,” said a Wall Street Journal headline.

 

1-Nasdaq CompositeNasdaq Composite, weekly – the ride has become bumpy – click to enlarge.

 

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Why Should a Decline in Oil Prices be Bad?

The dramatic fall in the global price of oil is being cited by the financial press, government officials, and academia as the catalyst for the recent abysmal U.S. economic data which shows that the economy is, in all likelihood, sliding into a recession or worse.

 

Oil_cartoon_12.09.2014_largeOil prices in dire straits…

 

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A Curious Collapse

 

wizard bank 2

 

Ever since the ECB has begun to implement its assorted money printing programs in recent years – lately culminating in an outright QE program involving government bonds, agency bonds, ABS and covered bonds – bank reserves and the euro area money supply have soared. Bank reserves deposited with the central bank can be seen as equivalent to the cash assets of banks. The greater the proportion of such reserves (plus vault cash) relative to their outstanding deposit liabilities, the more of the outstanding deposit money is in fact represented by “covered” money substitutes as opposed to fiduciary media.

 

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Meltdown

MIAMI – On Thursday, the Dow rose 79 points – or about 0.5%. Nothing proved one way or the other. We told you about our visit with President Reagan’s former budget advisor and Wall Street veteran David Stockman.

 

Must-should-ought-large1Ought!

 

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A Harrowing Friday – Momentum Stocks Continue to Break Down

The release of Friday’s payrolls report was the worst of all worlds for the US stock market. This typically happens in bear markets: suddenly fundamental data that wouldn’t have bothered anyone a few months ago are seen as a huge problem. Why was it seen as problematic?

The report somehow managed to be weak and strong at the same time – it showed weakness in payrolls growth, but the entirely artificial U3 unemployment rate, which is distorted by the fact that a huge number of unemployed are no longer counted as unemployed, but rather as simply having “left the labor force”, fell below 5% at the same time.

 

0715_socialmedia_630x420Photo credit: Mike Kemp / Getty Images

 

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Debt Curse

NEW YORK – “Not a bad view. That’s the mayor’s house right beneath us.”

We were on the 16th floor of a new apartment building, looking out over the East River. With us was President Reagan’s former budget advisor and Wall Street veteran David Stockman – a man who has been closer to the Bubble Epoch than almost anyone.

The Dow rose 183 points on Wednesday – or just over 1% – after starting the day in the red.

 

SALOMON_3142495bWilliam Salomon in Salomon Bros. & Hutzler’s trading room in 1965. Salomon Bros. sold the first ever mortgage-backed bond on Wall Street in the 1980s

Photo credit: Arthur Brower / The New York Times

 

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