The Mess That Greenspan Made - Part 40

It seems that those who write about billionaire Warren Buffett may have already laid claim to using the name Warren as a verb, but with any more contentious exchanges like the one yesterday with Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) may give the Oracle from Omaha a run for his money (i.e., Yellen was Warrened yesterday).

Also see:

Elizabeth Warren went full Elizabeth Warren today at a Senate hearing – Washington Post
Warren Sharply Criticizes Fed Staff Over Dodd-Frank Views – American Banker

Wednesday Morning Links

World stocks near all-time highs after Fed signals – Reuters
Yellen removes another obstacle to an eventual rate hike – MarketWatch
Hilsenrath’s Take: Goodbye patient, hello reasonably confident – WSJ
Why Congressional challenges to the Yellen Fed matter – Washington Post
Elizabeth Warren’s Next Target Is The Fed’s Top Lawyer – HuffPost
Warren Sharply Criticizes Fed Staff Over Dodd-Frank Views – American Banker
Yellen Defends Greenspanian General Counsel Scott Alvarez After Warren Grilling – NC
The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden ‘black site’ – Guardian
Europe risks right-wing backlash, Greece’s Varoufakis tells Charlie Hebdo – Reuters
Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right. – Washington Post
The White House has no back-up plan if SCOTUS rules against Obamacare – Vox
Morgan Stanley’s Hunger Games video – Investment News

Markets subdued ahead of Yellen’s second testimony – AP
Energy Stocks: Is it Time to Buy, Sell or Hold? – Barron’s
Oil rises to $59 as Saudis say demand growing – Reuters
The Nasdaq is doing some very bullish things – MarketWatch
The Nasdaq nears its Internet bubble-era record – Fortune
As FTSE Hits a Record, Scratch Beneath the Surface – WSJ
Yes, the World Is Out to Get Active Managers – Bloomberg
Gold climbs as Fed signals no rush to raise rates – Reuters
Gold vs Fed debt shows fair price today is $1,800 –
The Gold Standard For Skeptics – Forbes

Consumer confidence slides after big Jan. gain – USA Today
U.S. Economic Confidence Index Back in Negative Territory – Gallup
What the Heck Has Suddenly Hit American Consumers? – Wolf Street
The Economic Consequences of Greece – Project Syndicate
Broad Support for Higher Wages in Germany Despite Falling Prices – WSJ
China Readies Measures to Counter Housing Market Slump – Bloomberg
Case-Shiller: “The housing recovery is faltering” – Housing Wire
In Tepid Housing Market, Builders Cater to Desires of Well-Off – NY Times
Why Lenders Love the $2.5 Million Home Loan – Bloomberg
Janet Yellen’s Audit – NY Sun


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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