Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Stock Market

Big Banks Gamble on Derivatives at Taxpayers’ Risk

Risk Tournament

When Bank of America announced that it was moving its derivatives-laden portfolio at its subsidiary Merrill Lynch over to its bank holding company, it said it was merely responding to pressure from some of its partners to take advantage of the holding company’s higher credit rating. It would also reduce the need for the bank to post an additional $3.3 billion in collateral because of the recent downgrade it suffered at the hands of Moody’s last month.

But the real reason, according to Bloomberg, is that the FDIC insures the bank but not Merrill Lynch, and in the event of a failure in

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How Bad Will This “New” Recession Get?

A homeless man in Paris

The prediction by the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) that the United States is headed into another recession was greeted by a rise in the stock market from 1,074 on the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index on Tuesday, October 4, to 1,238 on Friday, October 21, a gain of 15 percent in just 13 days.

This sudden rise happened in the face of ECRI’s spokesman Laksman Achuthan’s emphatic forecast that “it’s going to get a lot worse…you haven’t seen anything yet.” Furthermore, Achuthan said that

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UBS CEO Grübel Hastily Resigns Over Rogue Trading Losses

UBS AG Headquarters in London, Liverpool Stree...

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The announcement by Kaspar Villiger, Board Chairman of UBS (Union Bank of Switzerland), that CEO Oswald Grübel had resigned on Saturday caught many by surprise, partly because just the day before he had said he had the board’s complete support. According to Villiger, “The Board regrets Oswald Grübel’s decision. Oswald Grübel feels that it is his duty to assume responsibility for the recent unauthorized trading incident.” He added:

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The Fed: QE3 is All but Certain

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The latest report from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System confirms what every sentient being already knows: The economy is in the dumper, with little improvement expected. The report used words like “considerably slower,” “deterioration,” “flattened out,” “weak,” and “depressed” to describe current conditions, and it even noted that excuses such as bad weather and the earthquake in Japan “appear[ed] to account for only some of the current weakness in economic activity.” (Emphasis added.)

In other words, the Board had a BFO (blinding flash of the obvious) and

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Chile’s Privatized Social Security Program is 30 Years Old, and Prospering

The Coat of arms of Chile

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As a quiet example of how privatizing Social Security works in the real world, Chile’s 30-year experiment is succeeding beyond expectations. Instead of running huge deficits to fund the old “PayGo” system, private savings now exceed 50 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Prior to May 1, 1981, the Chilean system required contributions from workers and was clearly in grave financial trouble. Instead of nibbling around the edges to shore up the program for another few years, José Piñera, Secretary of Labor and Pensions under Augusto Pinochet, decided to do a major overhaul of the system:

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The Great Recession and American Boomer Reality

Gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date

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In its extensive study of how the Boomer generation is faring, the Wall Street Journal focused mostly on their difficulties, challenges, disappointments and missed opportunities. It had little to say about the outside event no one saw coming, the Great Recession, and nothing at all about the resilience of the individuals moving into what used to be called the “golden” years.

For example, Steven Rutschmann, age 60, has a 401(k) plan with about $500,000 in it, and his wife also has a 401(k) plan and is expecting a small pension when she retires from her nursing position. They went to see a financial planner who told them that

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What If the Debt Ceiling Isn’t Raised?

Ceiling Fan

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Following the petulant pronouncement from the Obama administration’s chief economics advisor that any suggestion of not raising the debt ceiling was engaging in a “game of chicken,” two other establishment types noisily concurred.

Timothy Geithner, the U. S. Secretary of the Treasury, said that failure to raise the ceiling “could make it impossible for the U. S. to access global credit markets,” while Bill Gross, the co-CEO of PIMCO, the world’s largest bond fund manager, plainly implied that unless the ceiling were raised promptly, the U.S. could lose its coveted AAA credit rating: “Ultimately, if we continue a trillion-dollar-plus [annual deficit] then, yes, your credit rating will be threatened.”

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Reality Checks from New Jersey, Illinois

Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie

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Steve Kroft called it “The Day of Reckoning” on his “60 Minutes” segment on Sunday, but many weren’t buying it. Despite persuasive statistics showing that states have overpromised and overspent, Kroft’s conclusion about time having run out on the states was met with denial, even anger. He interviewed Meredith Whitney (who accurately predicted the decline in bank stocks as far back as 2007), who reiterated her conclusion that states’ debts are the next big bubble to burst. Her biggest concern is complacency:

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Great Depression II: Here We Go Again?

The Causes of The Great Depression / FDR Memor...

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The unremitting flow of negative news about the economy has finally caught the attention of the mainstream media, causing an increasing number of economists to make comparisons between today’s recession and the Great Depression.

David Rosenberg, Gluskin Sheff’s chief market economist, commented to his clients that the monster drop in new home sales in June compared to May was not exactly “a one-month wonder” but instead invited comparison of the current recession’s similarities with those of the Great Depression. He said they include:

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The Invisible Recovery

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On Friday Reuters reported that non-government payrolls rose only slightly in June and overall employment fell “for the first time this year…indicating the economic recovery is failing to pick up steam.” This report followed several others last week indicating weakness in consumer spending, housing, and manufacturing which “have heightened fears [that] the economy could slip back into a recession.”

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Double Dip Evidence Piling Up

Double Dipped Cones

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When John Hussman, in his Weekly Market Comment, noted that the Economic Cycle Research Institute’s (ECRI) Index “has slumped to the lowest level in 44 weeks and has now gone to a negative reading,” he was confirming other recent signals that the economy was giving off, notably here and here, that the possibility of a double dip recession continues to increase.

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New York’s Plan: Kick the Can

An empty tin can.

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New York Governor David Paterson said in a radio interview on June 10 that his state might have to issue IOUs to pay its bills, or else face “anarchy in the streets.” The state faces a $9.2 billion deficit, and the legislature is two months late in voting on the budget.  An actual shutdown of state services has been avoided, temporarily, by enacting temporary emergency spending bills.  Even if the government shuts down, there is serious question about whether police, firefighters, prison guards and emergency and healthcare workers could continue to work without pay. “You could have anarchy literally in the streets if the government shuts down,” Paterson said.

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Dow Theory’s Russell Says Major Crash Coming

Charles Dow -an American journalist who co-fou...

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The day after the “flash crash” in the stock market on May 6th, Richard Russell, the octogenarian author of the Dow Theory Letterssaid:

Something dramatic lies ahead…Most players believe that yesterday’s “sell-off” was a direct result of the mess in Greece…but that seems too simple and obvious to me. The far more important question is whether the entire advance from the March 2009 low is fated to be wiped out…my suspicion is that the stock market is back in the grip of the bear.

Russell founded the Dow Theory Letters in 1958 and has a remarkable record of calling tops and bottoms in the markets ever since.  He believes in the basic tenets of Dow Theory which were first discovered, refined, and then explained by Charles Dow who began publishing a little newspaper in 1889 called The Wall Street Journal.

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Greenspan’s Implausible Denial

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In his 48-page paper presented on March 19 to the Brookings Institution, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan now blames the collapse of the Soviet Union and the resurgence of the Chinese economy as causes of the Great Recession that was ushered in on his watch. And his arguments have just enough plausibility to be considered, if only briefly. But looking more closely is another matter.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, millions of workers were then free to “enter the global marketplace,” creating huge demand for consumer goods. And with the Chinese government allowing a modicum of free enterprise to placate their workers, many of them have created such significant savings that many billions of dollars were looking for a home. And consequently, many of those dollars returned to the United States in the form of mortgage capital that helped fund the housing boom. Greenspan said, “In short, geopolitical events ultimately led to a fall in long-term mortgage interest rates that in turn led, with a lag, to the unsustainable boom in house prices globally.”

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The Fed: Forever Blowing Bubbles

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An article in the New York Times asked that since the Federal Reserve “failed to recognize the last bubble…why should Congress, or anyone else, have faith that future Fed officials will recognize the next [one]?”

The roots of the present Great Recession stretch back to the bursting of the last bubble—the tech bubble—in the late 1990s. As the stock market declined sharply, the Fed under then-chairman Alan Greenspan lowered interest rates in an attempt to keep the economy from collapsing. The Times succinctly noted in its overview of the credit crisis that “lower interest rates make mortgage payments cheaper, and demand for homes began to rise, sending prices up. In addition, millions of homeowners took advantage of the rate drop to refinance their existing mortgages. As the industry ramped up, the quality of the mortgages went down.”

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Stock Rally Owing to Plunge Protection Team Conspiracy?

Polar Bear Plunge 2008

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The 60 percent gain in stocks since March was largely caused by secret government purchases of stock-index futures, the CEO of TrimTabs claims.

The Plunge Protection Team (PPT), otherwise known as the Working Group on Financial Markets, has been the target of conspiracy theorists ever since an article in the Washington Post in 1997 first shed light on the operation. The Working Group was created by Executive Order following Black Monday’s market crash on October 19, 1987, when the stock market declined more than 20 percent in a single session. Its purpose was to give recommendations for legislative and private sector solutions for “enhancing the integrity, efficiency, orderliness, and competitiveness of financial markets and maintaining investor confidence.”

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Sarbanes-Oxley and the Separation of Powers

Michael Oxley , U.S. Senator from Maryland.

On Monday, December 7, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments concerning Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).

While perhaps not as memorable as the “date which shall live in infamy,” this case has been called the most important “separation of powers” case in 20 years by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the dissenter in the 2-1 decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that ruled for the PCAOB, prior to the case going to the Supreme Court for review).

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.