Notes From Underground: To the Readers of “Notes From Underground”

November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

It takes readers to make a successful blog and I have been blessed to have readers who are able to add to the discourse that makes for profitable investments and trades. There is no one source for all the answers and a healthy give and take provides for better strategy. Alternative views sometimes urge caution and better trade selection then a one-sided discussion with myself. Again, my wishes to you for a Happy Thanksgiving. I am going to be on with Rick Santelli on Friday morning to discuss whatever he wishes. Hopefully, we’ll discuss SNB, Draghi and whatever else. If any readers have any burning issues, post them in the comments and hopefully they’ll get covered in a very tight time frame.

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Notes From Underground: To Print or Not to Print (For the BOJ and SNB)

November 24, 2014

In the time of “secular stagnation,” the burden of economic policy has fallen on the world’s central bankers. Whatever the question of economic malaise the answer is to print money and stave off the fear of deflation. This is why Ben Bernanke was the captain of the ’37ers, the cadre of central bankers who learned that the mistakes made by the U.S. Secretary of Treasury and the Federal Reserve would not be repeated. As it goes, it is easier to stop inflation then it is to prevent the pains of a deflationary spiral. The central banks of all the developed world economies are in full stop deflation mode. Thus, when in doubt, PRINT.

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Notes From Underground: A Short Hiatus Before Year-End Volatility Rises

November 18, 2014

For the next few days I will be resting, hoping to enjoy some peace before the potential storms that face the financial markets at the end of 2014. Now that the Japanese election has been decided there is certain to be great volatility in all Japanese investments as polls get released and money becomes nervous. It seems that Prime Minister Abe is trying to solidify his hold on the LDP by going directly to the people. In an effort to gain the voters support Abe has decided to delay the scheduled sales tax increase and also announced a corporate tax cut. The game for Abe is to get public support to overcome the fiscal hawks that the prime minister believes are stalling the economy and preventing the completion of Abenomics and the “three arrow agenda.” The stalwarts of the LDP will be defeated by an overwhelming ABE victory.

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Notes From Underground: “I’ll Watch Market Action Like A DOVE” (Andrew Haldane)

November 17, 2014

The Bank of England’s chief-economist had the line of the month in his response to the disinflationary forces confronting Europe and the U.K. It seems that the G-20 did yield much more discussion about Europe’s economic malaise than was revealed in the communique. BOE Governor Mark Carney was warning of stagnant Europe being a drag on the global economy and impacting British growth. Even the economically challenged British Prime Minister David Cameron warned of flashing “red lights” on his economic dashboard. The last inflation data from the BOE revealed that inflation has fallen below its target and the lack of growth in its largest trading partner, the EU, threaten to push inflation lower than previously expected.

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Notes From Underground: Santelli Exchange — Monetary Policy Missteps

November 17, 2014

Santelli Exchange: November 17, 2014

Click on the image to watch Rick and I discuss global central bank policy missteps.

Notes From Underground: Another G-20 Communique … Yada, Yada, Yada

November 16, 2014

The gathering in Brisbane, Australia provided a backdrop for the world’s leaders to reveal their warm and fuzzy sides to the cameras as koalas were distributed for “hugs for the home folk”–see we really care about nature and the environment. As usual, the G-20 meeting ended with the release of a leaders’ communique, which provides areas of future “cooperation” for the global hegemons. The typical areas of concern about the environment and the diminution of fossil fuels are stated, as are areas of concern about the international tax system and globalized funding of terrorism and money laundering.

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Notes From Underground: Let’s Skip to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew

November 12, 2014

It is not often that investors are treated to the wisdom of U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. I am sure that Mr. Lew is a fine man but he is an example of a political appointment serving in a role beyond his pay grade. If I had a question about my 1040-EZ form I would search him out but on global economics and politics I would hope he wouldn’t answer the phone at 3 a.m. In an well-staged leak of his prepared words to be delivered in Brisbane, Australia at the G-20 conclave this weekend, Secretary Lew warns Europe that it risks suffering a lost decade similar to Japan if it fails to undertake fiscal policies to stimulate growth. In a Financial Times article by Robin Harding, Secretary Lew is quoted at the World Affairs Council in Seattle as saying: “Resolute action by national authorities and other European bodies is needed to reduce the risk that the region could fall into a deeper slump. The world cannot afford a European lost decade.” Mr. Lew suggests the usual actions of monetary, fiscal and structural efforts to lift growth or what has become known as Abenomics three arrows.

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Notes From Underground: The Significance of Japan’s Monetary Action

November 11, 2014

A Reuters story today (“Kuroda Sprang Easing Surprise to Head Off Damaging Inflation Forecast”) suggested that the move by the BOJ was a rapid and expedient effort by Governor Kuroda to prevent the markets from believing that the previous Japanese actions to “ignite” inflation had been a failure. The BOJ had been trying to target 2 percent inflation but the recent fall in oil and energy prices was placing downward pressures on inflation, calling into question previous attempts by the Japanese authorities to raise inflation expectations.

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Notes From Underground: Solid Unemployment Report Yet Perplexing Market Reaction

November 9, 2014

In the recent blog post I opined that the nonfarm payrolls (NFP) would be above the long-hoped for 300,000. The actual number was a “tepid” 214,000. The market was certainly anticipating a large addition for why else would the DOLLAR selloff and the BONDS have such a sustained rally. The SPOOS and other equity markets closed unchanged on the day–stronger for the week–but the post-jobs report reflected that it will take strong economic data to push equities higher in a world without FED purchases and a confused ECB. The strongest part of the unemployment report was the fall in the U6 data, which fell 0.3% percentage points to 11.5%. Unfortunately for Chair Yellen wages gained a slight 0.1% indicating little upward pressure on pay.

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Notes From Underground: Mario Draghi, End Your Misery and Resign

November 7, 2014

During the last 30 months I have enjoyed listening to the Draghi press conferences as the ECB has been entertaining while he deftly handled the questions from a cadre of astute European financial journalists. Yesterday was certainly an exception as President Draghi showed none of his usual light banter and seemed unduly stressed by recent rumors of deep divisions in the boardroom of the ECB governing body. Reuters, the medium ¬†of the rumors of factionalization, was treated brusquely by Mr. Draghi when the reporter asked a question. The reporter wanted to know if the losses on any asset-backed securities (ABS) would be shared by the individual national banks or solely by the ECB. This was a very pertinent question because President Draghi insisted that the ECB was not becoming a “bad bank” by buying low quality assets from all the European domestic banks. The ECB president insisted that the ABS and other structured financial instruments in Europe were of much higher quality than the pools of subprime loans that almost collapsed the U.S. and global financial system.

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