Economic Blogs

FX Traders: Get a Free Week of Forecasts (Details inside)

The Market Oracle - Tue, 19/07/2016 - 08:46
Dear reader, Now through 5 p.m. July 22, you are invited to get free access to an online event that only happens once or twice a year at elliottwave.com:
Categories: Economic Blogs

Christine Lagarde on Turkish Markets, Global Banking and Politics

The Market Oracle - Tue, 19/07/2016 - 08:43
In an exclusive interview with Bloomberg Television’s Tom Keene, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde discusses a range of issues including Turkish markets, the challenges around global banking and money laundering, the Italian bank crisis and political turmoil on both sides of the Atlantic.
Categories: Economic Blogs

Climbing Gold and Silver’s Wall of Worry

The Market Oracle - Tue, 19/07/2016 - 08:37
Confidence is slippery, even when you are a metals investor sitting atop the best performing assets of 2016. It doesn’t help when 4 years of a miserable bear market remains fresh in our memories. Any weakness in prices and it can feel like markets are getting ready to plunge right back to $13 silver and $1,000 gold. That feeling is called the “Wall of Worry”, and bulls are going to have to climb it by staying in the market even if their emotions are telling them to bail. Let’s review the last 6 weeks because they are quite instructional.
Categories: Economic Blogs

Ups and Downs in Gold and Crude Oil Price

The Market Oracle - Tue, 19/07/2016 - 08:32
Technical analyst Jack Chan charts a major buy signal in oil and a possible correction in gold.
Categories: Economic Blogs

Why Helicopter Money Won’t Push Stocks Higher

Financial Sense - Tue, 19/07/2016 - 05:00

The possibility that Japan might launch helicopter money stimulus sent global stock markets soaring in a paroxysm of pleasurable anticipation. But exactly what is helicopter money and what connection does it have to stock valuations, if any?

Categories: Economic Blogs

EIA Cuts Global Oil Demand Forecast

Financial Sense - Tue, 19/07/2016 - 05:00

The Energy Information Administration forecasts global oil demand to grow by 1.44 million barrels per day this year on average, which is down by 10,000 bpd from its previous projection according to its monthly report issued on Tuesday.

Categories: Economic Blogs

Rosenberg: I'm Approaching This Rally With a 'High Dose of Skepticism'

Financial Sense - Tue, 19/07/2016 - 05:00

Given the large disconnect between earnings and stocks at present, David Rosenberg, Chief Economist and Strategist at Gluskin Sheff, tells Financial Sense in today’s podcast “if you're buying this market right now you ipso facto have a view that earnings are going to rebound...

Categories: Economic Blogs

July 2016 Vice Index: Is This the Last Hurrah?

Financial Sense - Tue, 19/07/2016 - 05:00

Vice spending is telling us that good times are still here, but it’s also signaling that we’re peaking. There is very little growth left and it’s likely that things will get a bit wobbly at year-end. This means a lot of Central Bank intervention...

Categories: Economic Blogs

Goldilocks and the Bear Market

Financial Sense - Tue, 19/07/2016 - 05:00

Not too warm, not too cold, can describe many aspects of the U.S. economy. Take last week’s jobs report as an example. According to estimates, 287,000 jobs were created, but this did little more than balance out the previous...

Categories: Economic Blogs

US Equities: Few Signs of a Sales or Profit Rebound

Financial Sense - Tue, 19/07/2016 - 05:00

Policy uncertainty will remain elevated, putting upward pressure on risk premiums. The upside of uncertainty is that monetary and perhaps even fiscal policy will be looser than otherwise would be the case. That is a plus for stocks, but...

Categories: Economic Blogs

Top Ten Videos — July 19

Dollar Collapse Articles by John Rubino - Tue, 19/07/2016 - 00:15

Chaos coming, with Venezuela the template for much of the rest of the world. Silver will soar. The story of debt and the market’s flawed premise. The FBI rolls over for Hillary. Nigel Farage says goodbye; the EU says good riddance.                    

The post Top Ten Videos — July 19 appeared first on DollarCollapse.com.

Categories: Economic Blogs

Stockman: No, Donald, It’s Not a ‘World War’

The Daily Reckoning - Mon, 18/07/2016 - 20:00

This post Stockman: No, Donald, It’s Not a ‘World War’ appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

In 1991 the earth moved…

The cold war ended, and the nuclear sword of Damocles no longer hung over mankind. The totalitarian menace of the Soviet Union disappeared and its vast military establishment was demobilized and mainly sold for scrap.

It was the moment for Washington to do the same. That is, to disband NATO — whose only justification had ever been containment of an exaggerated Soviet threat on the central European front — to demobilize and radically shrink Washington’s globe-spanning war machine.

But what General Eisenhower had warned about exactly 30 years earlier — the deeply entrenched and unchecked military-industrial-congressional complex — was not about to let world peace breakout. Instead, it launched two maneuvers in 1991 to perpetuate itself and renew its raison d’etre.

A secret national security directive drafted by Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and his neocon minions declared Iran the new global enemy. That indictment was wholly unwarranted even then, and over the next 25 years it metastasized into a massive tissue of lies about Iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons and terrorist ambitions.

More importantly, Washington declared its hostility towards the only force in the region opposed to Sunni extremism — the so-called Shiite Crescent. That ran from Iran through southern Iraq to the Alawite (Shiite) regime of the Assads in Syria to the Hezbollah controlled provinces of Lebanon. It was the natural, blood enemy of Sunni extremism.

Indeed, the neocons that seized power in Washington under Bush the Elder cut the knees out from under that 13 century-old counterforce to any religiously driven outbreak of Sunni expansionism.

At the same time, Bush was bamboozled into a military intervention between two local potentates over oil drilling rights that was gussied-up into a false doctrine about oil security.

If it wasn’t for those two profoundly wrong-headed and destructive maneuvers, there would be no al-Qaeda and Islamic State today. And jihadi terrorism would have been but a shadow of its current extent.

Needless to say, the implications are epic. Hundreds of millions of innocent people in the Middle East, Europe and the U.S. are now fearful, and sometimes tragically in harm’s way. But it’s mostly because of the grievous misdeeds of our Washington based War Party rulers.

Let’s start with what history has now proven in spades regarding the phony excuse of energy security…

The cure for high oil prices is the global market, not the U.S. 5th fleet, stationed in Bahrain. The real price of oil is lower today than it was in 1990 when Bush said Saddam’s alleged aggression “will not stand”. Yet that happy outcome has nothing whatsoever to do with the thousands of bombs we’ve dropped since then or the millions dead and maimed, or the trillions of tax-dollars Washington has wasted on its multiple wars and far-flung military presence in the region.

On the one hand, technology and business enterprise have generated vast alternatives to Persian Gulf oil on both the supply and conservation side of the energy ledger. On the other, it is an unassailable historic fact that whatever regime controls the oil reserves under the Middle East sands will produce it because every regime in that region always needs more money.

Saddam produced all he could extract and exported all he was allowed by the West. So did Libya’s Kaddafi. So do the Kurds in the north of the old Iraq and the Shiite government in Baghdad which controls the bigger fields in the south. Even the Islamic State produces every oil well we have not yet bombed to smithereens. And once the sanctions were lifted, the “America-hating” Iranians have raised production dramatically in the last year.

In short, every single military intrusion Washington has undertaken since the February 1991 invasion of Kuwait has nothing to do with the economics of oil. Nor has it enhanced the security of gasoline and heating oil supplies in Lincoln, NE and Springfield, MA.

Indeed, the real dirty secret of this matter is that even if the contemptible House Of Saud were to fall, Saudi Arabia’s 10 million barrels per day would — apart from any short-term disruption — make its way onto the world market.

That’s because Saudi Arabia’s eastern provinces, where all the oil fields are located, are primarily Shiite. Their Iranian cousins would absolutely come to their protection, and be more than happy to share in the $150 billion per year of oil revenues at today’s prices. All along, therefore, oil has been about the rule of markets.

But Washington is about the perpetuation of the state and the aggrandizement of its warfare branch. It is the latter, not protection of nature’s bounty under the Arabian sands, that brought the American Imperium to the Persian Gulf and that generates today’s jihadi blowback in the region and rest of the world.

It was 500,000 American troops on the Arabian peninsula and “crusader boots” in the land of the two Islamic holy places that changed everything in 1991.

Until then, the Sunni mujahedeen in Afghanistan were Washington’s mercenary terrorists. Washington had recruited, transported, trained, armed and paid them throughout the 1980s to carry on the anti-Soviet fight by proxy.

The Soviet Union was already dying from the asphyxiating regime of socialism, state bureaucracy and totalitarian rule. But CIA director Bill Casey was mesmerized by the nostalgia of his OSS days during WWII, and his neocon confederates were ex-Trotskyites and statists who did not remotely understand that markets and economic freedom ultimately will out.

After it unnecessarily created the small time nuisance of the mujahedeen, the Washington War party turned it into a monster by virtue of the first gulf war and the subsequent campaign against Saddam Hussein. That of course eventuated in opening the gates to hell during the second gulf war.

So under the false guise of “oil security”, Washington plunged the American war machine into the politics and religious fissures of the Persian Gulf, and launched itself on the path to destroying the very institutions that had kept Sunni extremism in check. Namely, the secular Baathist regimes of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the Assad clan in Syria.

To be sure, these regimes were an unsavory amalgam of socialism, nationalism, authoritarianism and vast corruption. But they tolerated no armed threat to their rule, and understood that the state had to be secular if the various ancient sects and schisms of Islam and other religious minorities within their borders, including Christians, Druze and Jews, were to peaceably co-exist.

Apart from false issue of oil security, the small potatoes conflict between Iraq and Kuwait, which occasioned the elder Bush’s intervention, had no bearing whatsoever on the safety and security of American citizens. As U.S. ambassador Glaspie rightly told Saddam Hussein on the eve of his Kuwait invasion, America had no dog in that hunt.

Kuwait wasn’t even a country; it was a bank account sitting on a swath of oilfields surrounding an ancient trading city that had been abandoned by Ibn Saud in the early 20th century. It did not matter who controlled the southern tip of the Rumaila field — the brutal dictator of Baghdad or the opulent Emir of Kuwait. Not the price of oil, nor the peace of America nor the security of Europe nor the future of Asia depended upon it.

But Bush the Elder was persuaded by Henry Kissinger’s protégés at the national security council and his Texas oilman Secretary of State, James Baker, that “oil security” was at stake, and that 500,000 American troops needed to be planted in the sands of Arabia.

That was a catastrophic error. The arrival of crusader boots on the purportedly sacred soil of Arabia offended and reactivated the CIA-trained Mujahedeen of Afghanistan, who had become unemployed when the Soviet Union collapsed.

In due course this feckless intervention enabled the neocons to pursue their deplorable doctrine of regime change to its logical end. That is, the destruction of the tenuous Iraqi state and the resultant rise of the Frankenstein that became ISIS.

Bin Laden would have amputated Saddam’s secularist head if Washington hadn’t done it first, but that’s just the point. The attempt at regime change in March 2003 was one of the most foolish acts of state in American history.

The younger Bush’s neocon advisers had no clue about the sectarian animosities and historical grievances that Hussein had bottled-up by parsing the oil loot and wielding the sword under the banner of Baathist nationalism. But Shock and Awe blew the lid and the de-baathification campaign unleashed the furies. We all know what followed afterwards. And its effects will be felt for decades to come.

Regime change and nation building can never be accomplished by the lethal violence of 21st century armed forces. And they were an especially preposterous assignment in the context of a land rent with 13 century-old religious fissures and animosities.

If bombing really worked, the Islamic State would be sand and gravel by now. Indeed, it is really not much more than that anyway, which contains an important lesson.

The dusty, broken, impoverished towns and villages along the margins of the Euphrates River and in the bombed out precincts of Anbar province do not attract thousands of wannabe jihadists from the failed states of the Middle East and the alienated Muslim townships of Europe because the caliphate offers prosperity, salvation or any future at all.

What recruits them is outrage at the bombs and drones being dropped on Sunni communities by the U.S. Air Force. And by the cruise missiles launched from the Mediterranean which rip apart homes, shops, offices and mosques containing as many innocent civilians as ISIS terrorists.

The truth is, the Islamic State was destined for a short half-life anyway. It was contained by the Kurds in the north and east and by Turkey, with NATO’s second largest army and air force in the northwest. And it was surrounded by the Shiite crescent in the populated, economically viable regions of lower Syria and Iraq.

So absent Washington’s misbegotten campaign to unseat Assad in Damascus and demonize his Iranian ally, there would have been nowhere for the murderous fanatics who pitched a makeshift capital in Raqqa to go. They would have run out of money, recruits, momentum and public acquiesce in their horrific rule in due course.

But with the U.S. Air Force functioning as their recruiting arm and France’s anti-Assad foreign policy helping to foment a final spasm of anarchy in Syria, the gates of hell have been opened wide. What has been puked out is not an organized war on Western civilization as western politicians like Hollande so hysterically proclaim in response to the mayhem of each new incident.

It is just blowback carried out by that infinitesimally small group of mentally deformed young men who can be persuaded to strap on a suicide belt.

Needless to say, bombing won’t stop them; it will just make more of them.

Ironically, what can stop them is the Assad government and the ground forces of its Hezbollah and the Iranian Republican Guard allies. It’s time to let them settle an ancient quarrel that has never been any of America’s business anyway.

But Imperial Washington is so caught up in its myths, lies and hegemonic stupidity that it can not see the obvious. After decades in the region, it has done everything wrong that could be done. It has destroyed the Baathist states that kept religious fanaticism in check; it has alienated the vast crescent of Shiite forces, which are capably armed and have never advocated or launched terrorist attacks in the west.

And it has aligned itself with a few thousand fat, tyrannical princes in Saudi Arabia and the gulf petro-states who would have a shorter tenure, if the people were given a choice, than did the Romanovs. It’s the Saudis’ medievalist Wahhabi regime of religious fanaticism that has recruited, trained, motivated and dispatched more jihadi terrorists than the Iranians ever have.

And that gets to the heart of why there is no ‘world war’ emanating from Islam aimed at the west and America. The Islamic nations are at war with themselves, and have been for centuries, not with us.

To stop the episodic incursions of jihadi terrorism — organized or “inspired” — in the west, Washington does not need to make the desert glow in the backwaters of the upper Euphrates valley. It only needs to vacate the region, and invite the Iranians and their Shiite Crescent allies to finish the job.

The caliphate would be gone in no time. Then, there would be no war zone for recruiting, training and radicalizing the alienated young Muslim men of Europe to return to their home communities on missions of murder and mayhem.

There would be no jihadi fighters and martyrs “heroically” resisting the bombs and drones of the U.S. Air Force to “inspire” copycat acts of violence in the homeland, or to disseminate social media videos and propaganda that appeal to the alienated and mentally troubled losers who have been responsible for most of the recent “terrorist” episodes in the U.S.

But for that constructive resolution to come about Washington’s Big Lies would need to be decisively refuted. Namely, that the Iranian regime has been hell-bent on obtaining nuclear weapons and that it is the leading exporter of terrorism in the Middle East.

However benighted and medieval its religious views, the theocracy which rules Iran does not consist of demented war mongers. In the heat of battle, they were willing to sacrifice their own forces rather than violate their religious scruples to counter Saddam’s chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq War.

The truth is, Iran is no better or worse than any of the other major powers in the Middle East. In many ways, it is far less of a threat to regional peace and stability than the military butchers who now run Egypt on $1.5 billion per year of U.S. aid.

And it is surely no worse than the fat tyrants who squander the massive oil resources of Saudi Arabia in pursuit of unspeakable opulence and decadence to the detriment of the 27 million citizens which are not part of the regime, and who one day may well reach the point of revolt. And when it comes to the support of terrorism, the Saudis have funded more jihadists and terrorists throughout the region than Iran ever even imagined.

Yes, the Iranians support the Assad government in Syria, but that’s a long-standing alliance that goes back to his father’s era and is rooted in the historic confessional politics of the Islamic world.

The Assad regime is Alawite, a branch of the Shiite, and despite the regime’s brutality, it has been a bulwark of protection for all of Syria’s minority sects, including Christians, against a majority-Sunni ethnic cleansing. The latter would surely occur if the Saudi supported rebels, led by ISIS, were ever to take power.

At the end of the day, there is no reason for the vast war machine of Washington and its client states to be in the Middle East at all. The terrible violence it has inflicted on the region has generated far more terrorists than all the fiery sermons and social media propaganda that a few thousand Sunni fanatics have ever been able to muster.

So if the Donald wants to really stop the blowback, eliminate the copycats and lone wolves and reduce the unjustified but palpable fears of terrorism among American voters, he only needs to do what Eisenhower did in 1952.

That is, go to Tehran, make a deal and then bring Washington’s vast, destructive and unaffordable war machine home.

Regards,

David Stockman
for The Daily Reckoning

Ed. note: “A charmingly mordant take on the stock news of the day, accentuated by philosophical maunderings…” That’s how one leading financial magazine described the free daily email edition of The Daily Reckoning. You’ll find cutting-edge analysis from the complex worlds of finance, politics and culture. Presented in an entertaining style few can match. Click here now to sign up for FREE.

The post Stockman: No, Donald, It’s Not a ‘World War’ appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Categories: Economic Blogs

The Final Round in the War on Cancer

The Daily Reckoning - Mon, 18/07/2016 - 19:00

This post The Final Round in the War on Cancer appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

After decades of false starts and dead ends, we’re close. Close to ending cancer. Closer than we’ve ever been before.

Breakthrough tech can now “reprogram” our immune system to fight cancers.

Soon, these new treatments could prove successful against nearly every cancer type you can name.

Our immune system is already great at fighting disease. But with a few tweaks, we can make it even better.

The key is to “trick” the immune system into attacking cancer cells.

It’s called immunotherapy.

Some of the ways we’re learning to reprogram the immune system are amazing…

Consider the recent research from Duke University. Researchers there announced early results on a cancer treatment based on the virus that causes polio.

Polio, as you know, was once a disease that plagued mankind. Now, we can harness the virus to make the immune system destroy cancer cells.

Even better, this process leaves healthy cells alone.

Recently, the FDA granted “breakthrough therapy designation” to the treatment.

The FDA wants to fast-track the drug to make it marketable as soon as possible.

But the work at Duke is far from the first immunotherapy breakthrough.

Anti-cancer immunotherapy drugs like Opdivo and Keytruda are already on the market, helping patients beat back cancer.

Plus, mankind has been trying to boost the immune system for centuries.

Vaccines are a good example. A vaccine infects you with viruses to “train” your body to fight them.

Doing the same thing for cancer long seemed possible, but remained elusive.

The immune system is, of course, incredibly complex. Cancer presents special problems. Your immune system doesn’t always recognize cancerous cells as foreign.

In some cases, the cancerous cells even inhibit the immune system from realizing something is wrong. So tumors grow unchecked.

For decades, we focused on surgery, chemotherapy and radiation as common treatment.

The treatment using the modified polio virus is just one of many promising advancements in immunotherapy. This amazing new field could change medicine and finally win the war on cancer.

A host of small companies have jumped into the research race to develop the next cancer-fighting blockbuster.

Make no mistake — the immunotherapy market will be enormous. This massive biotech trend is only just now gaining steam.

To a bright future,

Ray Blanco
for The Daily Reckoning

 

The post The Final Round in the War on Cancer appeared first on Daily Reckoning.

Categories: Economic Blogs

The Entire Financial System Is Exposed To This 'Junk' Bond Market

Zero Hedge - Mon, 18/07/2016 - 16:33

Submitted by Tim Price via SovereignMan.com,

Japan got there first. 15 years ago, we met a Japanese equity manager who made an astonishing prediction:

“Japan was the dress rehearsal. The rest of the world will be the main event.”

That seemed an extraordinary suggestion 15 years ago. Today, not so much.

In the aftermath of the late 1980s real estate and stock market bubble, and its subsequent banking crisis, Japan became a giant laboratory experiment for novel insane monetary policies.

In 2001 the Bank of Japan tried Quantitative Easing. It was a policy that Richard Koo of the Nomura Research Institute described as the “greatest monetary non-event”.

It turned out, not for the first time, that academic economists had it all wrong.

Borrowers, not lenders, were the fundamental bottleneck in Japan’s recession:

“The central bank’s implementation of QE at a time of zero interest rates was similar to a shopkeeper who, unable to sell more than 100 apples a day at $1 each, tries stocking the shelves with 1,000 apples, and when that has no effect, adds another 1,000.

 

As long as the price remains the same, there is no reason consumer behaviour should change – sales will remain stuck at about 100 even if the shopkeeper puts 3,000 apples on display.

 

This is essentially the story of QE, which not only failed to bring about economic recovery, but also failed to stop asset prices from falling well into 2003.”

The central banks of the rest of the developed world have had more success in boosting asset prices through their own deployment of QE, but they have had just as little impact on their real economies.

What QE has done is made the asset-rich richer, and the poor relatively poorer. Inasmuch as social equality is a stated aim of most governments, QE has been a disaster.

But it has done wonders for bond prices.

John Seagrim of CLSA points out that despite having yielded very little for a very long time, Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs) have been surprise performers in 2016.

The 40-year JGB has risen by 50 percent in price since the start of the year, reducing the annual yield to a level that’s now just 7 basis points (i.e. 0.07%).

Assuming investors hold the JGB to maturity in 2056, they will achieve a total return of just 2.96 percent over the life of the bond, not accounting for inflation or taxes.

Those investors might be interested to see what they could earn from a different asset class.

If they bought and held a Topix ETF (Japanese stocks) instead, they would earn a current dividend yield of 2.37 percent per year, not including any gains from potential appreciation in the share prices.

Of course, many government bonds are more expensive than the 40 year JGB in that they offer no yield whatsoever, or only a negative one.

10-year German bonds currently yield minus 0.07 percent. 10-year Swiss paper currently yields minus 0.64 percent. The 10-year US Treasury yield of 1.58% seems almost too good to be true at this point, a sad reflection of our investing environment.

Yet somehow, despite policy failures that are made obvious by the lowest interest rates ever recorded in human history, a persistent narrative still dominates financial markets: all-knowing, omnipotent central bankers are still in full control of the situation and will do ‘whatever it takes’ to maintain order.

As Richard Koo puts it:

“Even though QE failed to produce the expected results, the belief that monetary policy is always effective persists among economists in Japan and elsewhere.

 

To these economists, QE did not fail, it simply was not tried hard enough. According to this view, if boosting excess reserves of commercial banks to $25 trillion has no effect, then we should try injecting $50 trillion, or $100 trillion.”

But investors are starting to realize that ‘whatever it takes’ may not be enough.

Ben Hunt of Salient Partners writes convincingly that this status quo narrative is starting to falter very badly, and in the face of events like Brexit, becoming harder and harder to maintain:

“… status quo political and economic institutions – particularly Central Banks – have failed to protect incomes and have pushed income and wealth inequality past a political breaking point.

 

They made a big bet: we’re going to bail-out / paper-over the banks to prevent massive losses in the financial sector, we’re going to inflate the stock market so that the household sector feels wealthier, and we’re going to make vast sums of money available for the corporate and government sectors to borrow really cheaply.”

Narratives die hard, but when the ‘omnipotent central bank’ narrative finally and conclusively fails, bond investors will suffer a religious experience as the market rushes to reprice these heavily overvalued bonds.

Think about it: how much will a bond with a NEGATIVE yield be worth on the day that investors lose confidence in their central bankers’ abilities to control the weather financial markets?

Investors holding these junk bonds are going to take a big hit.

Here’s the rub: even if you don’t own bonds personally, you may still have significant exposure.

More than likely your pension fund and your bank all have substantial positions in low (or negative) yielding debt. So there may be a system-wide hit once this repricing occurs.

Ben Hunt again:

“Our portfolios should minimize the maximum risk the world actually presents, not maximize the reward our crystal ball models predict. . .

 

For me, that means real assets and real yield, fractional ownership in real companies with real cash flows from real economic activity with real people. You know, what a stock market used to mean before it became a Central Bank casino.”

Categories: Economic Blogs

Keep an Eye on ‘Bitcoin’ as the Next ‘Financial Crisis’ Starts!

The Market Oracle - Mon, 18/07/2016 - 16:17
‘Bitcoin’ is on a tear away rally. Its’ performance, over the last year, has been outstanding and it has outperformed most ‘asset classes’, by a wide margin. It is probably the only asset class which beats out both gold and silver, in 2016. Why is it shooting into outer space?
Categories: Economic Blogs

Fiat Chrysler Shares Slide On Reports Of SEC Securities Fraud Probe

Zero Hedge - Mon, 18/07/2016 - 16:16

Fiat Chrysler is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for fraud, according to people familiar with the matter. As Bloomberg reports, prosecutors are scrutinizing whether the carmaker violated U.S. securities laws, they said. The inquiry is in early stages, according to two people, who asked not to be identified because the investigation is confidential and declined to specify what conduct is being investigated.

A civil lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler may provide clues about what prosecutors are looking at.

 A Chicago-area dealer alleges the company inflated its U.S. car sales by paying dealers to report selling more vehicles than they actually did.

Fiat Chrysler shares are sliding on the news...

A criminal investigation could deliver a blow to the automaker, which has posted record vehicle sales since Fiat acquired full control of Chrysler in 2014 through a government-backed bailout that brought the maker of Jeep and Dodge brands out of bankruptcy in 2009. In December, Fiat Chrysler said it had the best month of U.S. sales in the company’s 90-year history with 217,527 vehicles sold -- recording its 69th consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains.

That performance was challenged in a private lawsuit filed in January by dealerships in Illinois and Florida that alleged the sales were padded through a scheme by which dealers -- sometimes unbeknownst to their owners -- were paid to create false New Vehicle Delivery Reports. Similar claims were made in a 2015 lawsuit filed by a dealer of Fiat Chrysler-owned Maseratis.

 

Fiat Chrysler, in a Jan. 14 regulatory filing, said an internal investigation concluded the padding allegations were baseless and that the lawsuit was "nothing more than the product of two disgruntled dealers."

 

In the sales-padding cases, a federal judge in Chicago is considering Fiat Chrysler’s request to dismiss one of the lawsuits while a judge in Brooklyn is deciding whether to merge two other cases.

 

Fiat Chrysler isn’t the only carmaker accused of boosting sales numbers by getting dealers to inflate their figures. Similar claims have also been made against Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, also known as BMW, for paying its dealers as much as $1,750 a vehicle in December to put new models in their service fleets, the cars owners use when their vehicles are being worked on. Dealers booked the sales immediately, and the deliveries helped the company hit its target, people familiar with the practice told Bloomberg News in February.

And dare we suggest that if Fiat Chrysler was doing it (and its sales numbers did not appear outlying relative to its peers), then perhaps, just perhaps, every other car-maker is playing similar tricks.

Categories: Economic Blogs

European Central Banks Disclose Which Corporate Bonds They Own

Zero Hedge - Mon, 18/07/2016 - 16:08

Earlier today, alongside the ECB's latest weekly disclosure of total corporate bond purchases under the CSPP program, which as of July 15 had risen by approximately €2 billion to €10.427 billion, suggesting a daily purchase pace of about €400 million, Europe's various regional central banks also disclosed for the first time the CUSIP list of which specific bonds they had purchased over the past month and a half.

Of these, the most interesting report belonged to the ECB because alongside the CUSIPs, the German central banks also disclosed the names of the companies whose bonds it has subsidized.

As disclosed in the Bundesbank's list which reveals which newly acquired holdings will be eligible for lending under with the Automated Securities Lending (ASL) program or the ASL plus program, the Bundesbank now holds bonds from at least 42 different issuers, sorted alphabetically as follows:

  • Allianz Finance II B.V.
  • Alstria Office Reit-AG
  • BASF
  • Bayer AG
  • Bayer Capital Corp BV
  • Bertelsmann Se & Co Kgaa
  • BMW Finance Nv
  • Continental AG
  • Covestro AG
  • Daimler AG
  • Deutsche Bahn Finance BV
  • Deutsche Boerse AG
  • Deutsche Lufthansa AG
  • Deutsche Post AG
  • Deutsche Telekom Int Fin
  • Deutsche Wohnen AG
  • E.On Intl Finance BV
  • Enbw Intl Finance BV
  • Eurogrid Gmbh
  • Evonik Industries AG
  • Ewe AG
  • Hella Kgaa Hueck & Co
  • Infineon Technologies AG
  • K+S AG
  • Lanxess AG
  • Linde AG
  • Linde Finance BV
  • Man SE
  • Merck Fin Services Gmbh
  • Metro AG
  • Metro Finance BV
  • Robert Bosch Gmbh
  • Robert Bosch Investment
  • Rwe Finance BV
  • Sap SE
  • Siemens Financieringsmat
  • Talanx AG
  • Telfonica Deutsch Finan
  • Vier Gas Transport Gmbh
  • VolkswAGen Intl Fin Nv
  • Vonovia Finance BV
  • Wuerth Finance Intl BV

The complete Bundesbank list is showing below (source).

Finally, those looking for other European central bank holdings, they can be found at the following links:

One quick comment: with the ECB now an activist investor in the above names, it is safe to say that one can keep purchasing these bonds without fear of fundamental risk. The Bundesbank (and ECB) will never allow them to drop so much as to impair the central banks' own balance sheets. And while it remains unclear what happens in case a given bond is downgraded to junk by all the appropriate rating agencies, we are confident Draghi will find a loophole to hold on to them.

In other words, when it comes to the above subsidized corporations, there is now only return - the risk has been eliminated, and is instead offset by promises of even more monetary printing in the future to cover up any potential shortfalls.

Categories: Economic Blogs

Erdogan Might Have Known about the Coup but Didn’t Prevent It on Purpose

The Market Oracle - Mon, 18/07/2016 - 16:02
A coup has to be carefully planned for many weeks. It requires endless meetings and preparation. Many thousands of troops, tanks, helicopters, and all the rest, must suddenly appear in the streets and take over. And all of this planning has to take place in complete secrecy. Without the element of surprise, there is no coup.
Categories: Economic Blogs
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