The Mess That Greenspan Made - Part 32

Americans, Religion, and Evolution

A reminder of how different we, as a nation, are as compared to the rest of the developed world when it comes to the things we believe in (or don’t believe in) comes via this story at Vox where they found someone who thought it might be a good idea to create a scatter plot to demonstrate just how much of an outlier we really are.

Reports such as Among Wealthy Nations U.S. Stands Alone in Its Embrace of Religion from Pew Research and the sortable results of this Gallup poll about the importance of religion in countries around the world provide added context to the West’s heightened tensions with other religions around the world while, at the same time, add weight to the argument that Devo may have been right all along about our collective future.

MLK Day Morning Links

MUST READS
Richest 1% to own more than the rest – BBC
China shares plunge, Europe eyes crunch ECB meeting – Reuters
Hollande: ECB will pull trigger on QE this week – MarketWatch
The ECB’s QE Is Coming, Too Small, Late And Might Well Fail – Forbes
Swiss Franc Wiped Out Everest’s Main Fund – Bloomberg
Swiss brace for ‘dramatic’ impact of franc’s 15-per-cent jump – AFP
What the Swiss FX shock says about risk models – voxeu
The Swiss currency bombshell – cause and effect – Financial Times
Humans Destroying Environment at Rate Unprecedented in 10,000 Years – Vice News
State of the Union: Obama Will Focus on Wealth Inequality—Not Just Income – Atlantic
Five things about Barack Obama’s Robin Hood tax plan – Politico
QE and the ECB: “Authorize” is a Slippery Word – Hussman Funds

MARKETS/INVESTING
China shares dive as regulators clamp down on margin – AP
China stocks suffer biggest one-day tumble since 2008 – Reuters
Hedge Funds Cut Oil Bets After Worst Drop Since 2008 – Bloomberg
Oil prices fall as JPMorgan is  latest to slash forecast – MarketWatch
How bull and bear markets fight and co-exist – FP
It’s Time to End Financial Advisers’ 1% Fees – WSJ
German Bonds Outperform Italy’s Amid ECB QE Bets – Bloomberg
Gold edges off 4-month high but haven appeal lends support – Reuters
Gold Price Exploding In All Currencies Worldwide – GoldSilverWorlds
Germany Repatriates 120 Tonnes Of Gold In 2014 – BullionStreet

ECONOMY/WORLD/HOUSING/BANKING
The minimum wage economic recovery – MyBudget360
Percentage of Poor Students in Public Schools Rises – NY Times
Americans Kick Off 2015 Feeling Good About Their Finances – WSJ
How Target’s reveal of store locations contributed to its demise in Canada – FP
China’s shipyards brace for leaner times as oil slump slows rig building – Reuters
China December housing prices fall – Marketwatch
$100 Million One57 PH Officially Closes, Breaks NYC Record – Curbed
Fed’s Bullard: Current Low Inflation Doesn’t Support Zero Rates – WSJ
Will The Fed Take a Dovish Turn Next Week? – Fed Watch
The Big Banks Are Back – Project Syndicate

 

Jim Grant of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer opines on the “noisy and sudden” impact of artificial interest rates and exchange rates engineered by the world’s central bankers, concluding “It is a day to take measure of our infatuation with central banking”.

Grant reportedly called this move a few months back and recommended cheap (at the time) call options on the CHF/EUR exchange rate that are, today, doing quite well.

Not surprisingly, the key takeaway here for Grant is that, as it relates to influencing prices, Mr. Market is much more powerful than any or all of the world’s central bankers, recent developments demonstrating the temporary nature of the latter.

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Friday Morning Links

MUST READS
Going cuckoo for the Swiss – Economist
Swiss companies and currency brokers bleed – CNN/Money
Asia FX brokers hit hard by Swiss franc shock, regulators probe – Reuters
Carnage continues as Swiss stocks head for worst week in six years – MarketWatch
Two Greek Banks Request Emergency Liquidity Assistance – Greek Reporter
Eastern European Currencies Dive as Swiss Loan Costs Hurt Banks – Bloomberg
Crude oil’s collapse will cost 9,000 jobs at Schlumberger – USA Today
The Problem Is Not Insufficient “Aggregate Demand” – Contra Corner
Why the currency wars are likely to hit the stock market – MarketWatch
Still Trying to Make Sense of SNB’s Bombshell – Marc to Market
End of CB Power – SNB Folds – Bruce Krasting
Francs, Fear and Folly – Krugman, NY Times

MARKETS/INVESTING
Global markets fall after Swiss stunner – AP
RayJay’s Saut: ‘It is too late to panic’ – CNBC
Oil up after IEA cuts non-OPEC supply forecast – MarketWatch
Warning: Bond rates are going negative – CNN/Money
The Bond Market Is Warning of Huge Trouble Ahead – Fiscal Times
Euro-Area Bonds Jump as SNB Shock Adds to Speculation for ECB QE – Bloomberg
Gold set for biggest weekly gain in 10 months on risk aversion – Reuters
HSBC Gold Outlook: Bearish Factors May Not Be So Bearish In 2015 – Kitco
China Continues To Drain Global Gold Inventory – BullionStar
Monster rally for gold stocks – Mining.com

ECONOMY/WORLD/HOUSING/BANKING
Is low inflation good news? – WCI
Why below target inflation is a big problem – mainly macro
Don’t Expect an Economic Boom From Cheap Oil – Bloomberg
How Plunging Oil Prices Could Create Economic Upheaval – Fiscal Times
Why China’s New Power-Use Record Isn’t as Electrifying As it Sounds – WSJ
US housing market booms as foreclosures drop 69% from 2009 peak – Guardian
Without QE, “Eurozone Financial Markets Would Collapse” – Wolf Street
Unfazed by market swings, Fed sticks to mid-2015 hike scenario – Reuters
WSJ Survey: Economists Pare Back Fed Rate Rise Expectations – WSJ
Who Needs A Bank? – Points and Figures

 
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