The Mess That Greenspan Made - Part 40

Tuesday Morning Links

MUST READS
Ukraine crackdown gets off to slow start – Reuters
EU and US mull further Russia sanctions – BBC
Obama Warns Putin on Ukraine After Deadly Clashes – Bloomberg
China gold demand to rise, World Gold Council says – BBC
China’s gold market: progress and prospects – World Gold Council
China may have 1,000 tonnes of gold tied in financing – WGC – Reuters
Chinese take-away – WGC study leaves many questions unanswered – Mineweb
World Gold Council Report on China Pressuring Gold – Trader Dan
What Happens When ‘All Assets Have Become Too Expensive?’ – Testosterone Pit
The Consumer as a “Shadow of its Former Self” – House of Debt
CBO Says Obamacare Will Cost Less Than Projected – Fiscal Times
Christopher Whalen: The death of mortgage lending – Housing Wire
On tax day, who wants the rich to pay more? – MarketWatch

MARKETS/INVESTING
Stocks: Caution ahead of earnings – CNN/Money
Fund managers unfazed by tech rout – CNBC
Where’s the Golden Age for Investors? – Bloomberg
Stock rebound could hinge on ‘Turnaround Tuesday’ – USA Today
Nasdaq Composite Gains — But Not Without a ’3′-Handle – Barron’s
Capturing on Canvas the Downfall of Wall Street’s Criminals – NY Times
Value Is the New Momentum, in Three Charts – WSJ
Gold slides as strong dollar, U.S. retail sales weigh – MarketWatch
There will be gold – WGC reports on China’s precious decade – Mineweb
Goldman: No reason to change prediction of 20% drop in gold price – Mining.com
Can gold confound the markets and hit $1,400? – CNBC

ECONOMY/WORLD/HOUSING/BANKING
Seasonal Adjustment and Springtime Inflation – E-piphany
Another Spring Head-Fake? No Rebound In The Actual Data – Contra Corner
Draghi’s Euro Warning Seen as Cheap Talk by Currency Traders – Businessweek
U.K. Inflation Rate Falls to 1.6%, Lowest in Four Years – Bloomberg
UK macroeconomists see potential for higher growth – voxeu
The Spark That Could Set Fire to China’s Growth Plans – WSJ
China GDP Gauge Seen Showing Deeper Slowdown – Bloomberg
Massive BOJ-Buying Silences JGB Market – WSJ
Detroit to auction vacant homes online. Starting bid: $1,000 – CNN/Money
Reassessing home ownership as the housing market heats up – MarketWatch
Liquidity Risk, Liquidity Management, and Liquidity Policies – NY Fed
The Mystery of the Dots, Part II – mainly macro

 

We’re Kind of Turning Japanese

This Pew Research report on how the nation will look demographically in the decades ahead is not really surprising for those who have been paying attention over the years to the well established trends that have long been underway.

Basically, we’re becoming less white and grayer (note the link to the left -  someone felt the need to buy the domain greyorgray.com to answer what was, apparently, a commonly asked question and, not surprisingly,  it shows up as the first search result for “grey or gray?”).

Anyway, there’s a really neat interactive graphic with the Pew story about how the nation is aging and the start point (1950) and end point (2060) of said graphic are shown below.

More on the changing ethnicity of the country and the implications of it all make this a report that is well worth reading, especially if you’re  many years younger than me…

Renewed tensions in Ukraine, a weaker U.S. dollar, and a faltering domestic stock market combined to support precious metals prices last week as most risk assets declined. Dollar weakness appears to be the biggest short-term driver for gold while steady demand in China and India continues to be one of the most important long-term factors and recent news from Asia has been encouraging during what is a seasonally weak time of the year.

GoldWhile some gold market analysts are again bullish after recent gains, big investment banks are still mostly bearish, while U.S. investors remain largely uninterested in precious metals, neither buying nor selling. That could soon change, however, as surging U.S. import/export and wholesale prices have suddenly rekindled inflation concerns with more data available this week when the Labor Department releases the March consumer price index.

The technical picture for precious metals has seen a major improvement in recent weeks but, according to this Bloomberg report, big investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley remain very bearish. Better looking charts were a key reason why respondents to Kitco’s weekly gold survey were surprisingly positive with nearly two-thirds of those surveyed seeing higher prices in the week ahead as shown below.

[To continue reading this article, please visit Seeking Alpha and to access precious metals commentary that Tim only shares with subscribers, join Iacono Research.]

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Retail Sales Surge on Spring Thaw

The Commerce Department reported(.pdf) that U.S. retail sales jumped 1.1 percent in March, the biggest monthly increase since September 2012, as Americans released pent-up demand that resulted from an unusually harsh winter.

Last month’s gain was slightly above elevated estimates, exceeding the level of spending last November before the bad weather set in, and the February data was revised upward, from a gain of 0.3 percent to 0.7 percent, all signs of improving underlying demand.

Auto sales drove the overall increase in spending with a 3.1 percent boost last month, this following an upwardly revised gain of 2.5 percent the month prior. Excluding motor vehicles, sales rose 0.7 percent after a gain of 0.3 percent in February.

Gasoline station sales actually dropped 1.3 percent (though they’ll be going back up next month based on recent price increases) and, excluding both autos and gasoline, retail sales rose 1.0 percent.

(more…)

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