Our U.S. Army contacts in the area have told us this is not what happened. There was no Syrian “chemical weapons attack.” Instead, a Syrian aircraft bombed an al-Qaeda-in-Syria ammunition depot that turned out to be full of noxious chemicals and a strong wind blew the chemical-laden cloud over a nearby village where many consequently died……
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association 4Q 2016 commercial real estate loan originations survey, mortgage originations related to discretionary segments of the economy are in complete free fall with retail and hotel volumes down 19% and 39%, respectively……..A decrease in originations for hotel, health care, and retail properties led the overall decline in commercial/multifamily lending volumes when compared to the fourth quarter of 2015. The fourth quarter saw a 39 percent year-over-year decrease in the dollar volume of loans for hotel properties, a 24 percent decrease for health care properties, a 19 percent decrease for retail properties, a 4 percent decrease for industrial properties, a one percent decrease in multifamily property loans, and a 6 percent increase in office property loans.
Tesla shares rose to $313.38 this morning, giving the company a market capitalization of about $51 billion, surpassing GM for a moment as the most valuable American automaker. This left some industry insiders wondering about tulip bulbs. “It’s either one of the great Ponzi schemes of all time, or it’s all going to work out,” mused Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation, the largest dealer group in the US. He was speaking at a conference hosted by the National Automobile Dealers Association and J.D. Power. “It’s totally inexplicable, as far as its valuation,” he said.
Thus, if “reflation” breaks down more completely, it would be China that might experience the most in the backlash from it. Not to depart into the realm of conspiracy, but who might have had motive to intervene in “dollars” on Friday? It might have been the market all on its own deciding to toggle risk despite all the breakdowns being presented at that moment, or maybe it was the hint of “somebody” trying to keep alive at least the balance that has persisted since December because if nothing else volatility is everyone’s enemy (except bond bulls and eurodollar longs).
Wishful thinking, as we all know, is the death knoll for many investors. Getting carried away by emotion has rarely, if ever, been a recipe for accumulating vast riches. It seems that a lot of people have missed that distinction between wishful thinking and reality lately—and I fear it’s going to hurt them badly…..If the US economy is a coiled spring ready to surge, it has a strange way of showing it. Even the most optimistic projections show real GDP growth for 2017 will be little better than last year’s disappointing 1.6%. I think our economy is the opposite of a coiled spring. It’s been stretched past its limits by debt. Aside from insane federal, state and local government debt, we owe trillions more in credit card, auto, student loan, and mortgage loans. That stands in the way of any meaningful expansion.
One of the common side effects of debt-fueled speculation/spending is financialization, and one should immediately look to the growth and prominence of the financial industry (since the 1980s) with alarm, hesitation and concern; how and why is it that an industry that produces no physical product has grown to its current size? After all, the financial industry exists as a non-production-utility — its very purpose is to properly allocate capital and resources to desirable (in-demand) industries; it’s an industry whose very existence relies on the success of other industries. If the financial industry is able to properly allocate capital/resources to desirable industries, it’s rewarded and is able to grow along with those other fundamental industries; and if a misallocation occurs, capital/resources are allocated to (and used up by) unsuccessful industries — those industries then shrink, along with the finance industry and economic growth.
With Rex Tillerson on his way to Russia, moments ago Russian president Vladimir Putin shocked reporters when he said that Russia has received intelligence from “trusted sources” that more attacks using chemical weapons are being prepared on the Damascus region, meant to pin the blame on the Assad government “We have reports from multiple sources that false flags like this one – and I cannot call it otherwise – are being prepared in other parts of Syria, including the southern suburbs of Damascus. They plan to plant some chemical there and accuse the Syrian government of an attack,” he said at a joint press conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in Moscow.The Russian President announced that Russia will officially turn to the UN in the Hague for an investigation of the chemical weapons’ use in Idlib. Moscow has dismissed suggestions that the Syrian government that it backs could be behind the attack in Idlib province.
By our calculation, it took just 76 days for President Trump to get on board with the Clinton-Bush-Obama agenda. Now there can be no doubt where he’s headed. He’s gone Full Empire. Not that it was unexpected. But the speed with which the president abandoned his supporters and went over to the Deep State is breathtaking…….Among the noise and hubbub of the election campaign, there was one message coming from the Trump team that was music to our ears. Middle East wars? He was against them, he said. He claimed to have opposed the 2003 attack on Iraq. He said it was one of the “worst mistakes” the country ever made. As for further involvement, why waste American lives and American wealth on wars you can’t win“. America First,” he said. This was a refreshing position. It put the Republican neo-cons and Establishment Republicans against him; many went over to Hillary rather than risk giving up their think tank grants and consulting fees.
Now that the bubbles have been blown (but still remain invisible to the Fed), Fed Chair Janet Yellen Yellen conveniently pats herself and the Fed on the back for a job piss-poorly done. Her self-serving assessment is the Fed is “doing pretty well”. And her new message of the day is Era of Stimulative Monetary Policy Is Ending.
Donald Trump’s missile strikes on Syria have attracted worldwide attention (and disgraceful plaudits) in recent days. But much less airtime is being given to his administration’s risky and increasingly barbaric military escalations on several other fronts across the world. As troubling as these developments are, we should be just as concerned about the explosion of civilian deaths – more than 1,000 in March alone – that have come directly as the result of the Trump administration’s other reckless military campaigns across the Middle East over the past few weeks. Recently, US airstrikes have claimed the lives of 200 civilians in Iraq, dozens were killed in separate strikes supposedly aimed at Islamic State in Syria and several more women and children died in a raid gone awry in Yemen.