The Mess That Greenspan Made - Part 3

The Wall Street Journal reports ($) that the Justice Department is hot on the trail of those who have, possibly, manipulated precious metals markets over the years.

Big Banks Face Scrutiny Over Pricing of Metals

U.S. officials are investigating at least 10 major banks for possible rigging of precious-metals markets, even though European regulators dropped a similar probe after finding no evidence of wrongdoing, according to people close to the inquiries.

Prosecutors in the Justice Department’s antitrust division are scrutinizing the price-setting process for gold, silver, platinum and palladium in London, while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has opened a civil investigation, these people said. The agencies have made initial requests for information, including a subpoena from the CFTC to HSBC Holdings PLC related to precious-metals trading, the bank said in its annual report Monday.

HSBC also said the Justice Department sought documents related to the antitrust investigation in November. The two probes “are at an early stage,” the bank added, saying it is cooperating with U.S. regulators.

Also under scrutiny are Bank of Nova Scotia , Barclays, Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Société Générale SA, Standard Bank Group Ltd. and UBS AG , according to one of the people close to the investigation.

… and that’s probably about the last anyone will hear about this particular investigation.

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Tuesday Morning Links

Big Banks Face Scrutiny Over Pricing of Metals – WSJ
Yellen faces Senate grilling on policy, transparency – Reuters
Janet Yellen’s 3-Part Message to Congress – Bloomberg
Fed chief could sharpen interest rate guidance – USA Today
Greece submits proposed reforms in bid for loan extension – BBC
With conditions, Schaeuble paves way for German vote on Greece – CNA
A Threat to Europe: The Islamic State’s Dangerous Gains in Libya – Spiegel
Tales From an Oil-Sands Slide: Angst Amid Bravado in Alberta – Bloomberg
HSBC needs to change: it is still destroying more value than it is creating – Telegraph
Punishing Banker Would Send “Message of Uncertainty to the Markets” – Wolf Street
Alaska Leads U.S. States in Well-Being for First Time – Gallup
A Student-Debt Revolt Begins – New Yorker

Stocks mixed ahead of Yellen comments; Greek shares jump – AP
Oil rebounds above $59 after Libya’s largest field shuts – Reuters
Apple stock makes smart people look dumb – USA Today
Nasdaq nears 5,000—does a tech bubble loom? – CNBC
Oil Continues to Fall, and OPEC Isn’t Helping – Bloomberg
Treasuries Misery Deepens as Investors Await Yellen Rate Signals – Bloomberg
Gold dips back below $1,200 on relief over Greece; Fed eyed – Reuters
Eurozone Gold Holdings Up – ECB’s “Reserve of Safety” Accumulated – Gold Core
SGE Chairman: India Will Become SGE’s Largest Partner – BullionStar
Russia cools gold reserve additions in January – Mineweb

How 14,000 Workers Slowed Down the Entire Economy – Atlantic
German industrial workers to get 3.4 percent pay raise – AP
Turkish Central Bank Cuts All Three Main Interest Rates – Bloomberg
BOE: Low interest rates could threaten UK economy – Telegraph
OECD: Boosting UK productivity is key to prosperity – BBC
Slump in crued oil price threatens easy life of affluent Norwegians – AP
Calgary housing market chills, homeowners wonder what’s next – FP
There’s a new mortgage crisis brewing – CNBC
Too Many Houses, Not Enough Jobs – Dollar Collapse
How Do You Spell ‘Fed’?D-U-I –


Crude Oil Inventories, Prices

Not having looked at the graphic below that is updated weekly by the Department of Energy as part of their This Week in Petroleum publication, I was kind of shocked (for pretty obvious reasons) to have stumbled across it this morning.

Markets did a good job of signalling what was to come late last year as shown below.

Of course, that’s pretty much the end of the story…

Let’s all now watch the Nasdaq eclipse its internet bubble high from early-2000 as some foreign stock markets also notch fresh records in what can only be described as a “job well done” by the world’s central banks…

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Monday Morning Links

To Nasdaq 5000 and Beyond – Barron’s
FTSE 100 reaches 1999 record high – Telegraph
DEAR SILICON VALLEY: Here’s your wake-up call – Business Insider
Yellen Faces Congress Amid Audit Threat to Fed – Bloomberg
Greece readies reform plans to signs of leftist unrest – Reuters
Ukraine says it cannot start heavy weapons withdrawal – BBC
Report to Allege Direct Kremlin Link to Ukraine Invasion – Voice of America
U.S. Banks Hoard $2 Trillion of Ultra-Safe Bonds – Bloomberg
Fracking Bust Deepens, Sets Records – Wolf Street
Will America’s shale boomtowns bust? – Fortune
A New Secular Bull Market? – Alhambra Partners
The Curse of Moneyness – CBB

World shares mostly higher following Greek bailout progress – AP
Oil prices fall as dollar strengthens and oversupply adds pressure – Reuters
This ain’t no pipe-dream propelling the Nasdaq towards 5,000 – MarketWatch
Treasuries Cheap to Peers Raise Question Yellen Poised to Answer – Bloomberg
Blackstone Draws Tokyo Junk Investors Amid Warnings of Froth – Bloomberg
4 reasons to boost your foreign-stock exposure – MarketWatch
Gold hits 7-week low on Greek debt deal, China absence – Reuters
COMEX Gold Analysis – Has Gold Bottomed? – GoldSilverWorlds
Gold Meeting Nixon & Pompidou 1971, Azores – BullionStreet
Why Gold Is Looking Lustrous Once Again – Forbes

Facebook’s bus drivers set for raises after union vote – CNN/Money
Why We’re All Becoming Independent Contractors – Robert Reich
Rent walkouts point to strains in U.S. farm economy – Reuters
The Non-Problem of Chinese Currency Manipulation – Project Syndicate
Is SPFTZ the first step towards China’s new development model? – voxeu
Is it time to sell your U.S. snowbird property? – Globe & Mail
Lenders Step Up Financing to Subprime Borrowers – WSJ
Unrealistic market expectations of the first Fed rate hike – Sober Look
Yellen Heading to the Senate – Fed Watch
Trickle-Down QE – Zero Hedge

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