populism grips Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere, there are few targets as ripe for political assault as the institutions stuffed with unelected technocrats wielding the power to affect the economic fate of millions. That means you, central bankers. And the arrows have started to fly. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve’s freedom to set interest rates is already the target of House Republicans pushing for a rules-based policy. Across the Atlantic, the European Central Bank is under immense pressure to tighten policy at Germany’s behest. In India, a dramatic monetary reform has happened largely over the central bank’s head.
The rating agency is the latest to weigh in on the state of the sector, and has 19 names in its retail and apparel portfolio, 14% of which are now trading at Caa/Ca. That’s deep into speculative, or “junk,” territory. It’s also a percentage close to the 16% considered distressed during the 2008/2009 period, said a Moody’s report led by retail analyst Charles O’Shea. The rise is part of a wider trend affecting sectors across Moody’s coverage that has retail replacing oil and gas as the most-troubled industry.
The man often hailed as the original ‘Dr. Doom’ is warning investors that the U.S. stock market is vulnerable to a seismic sell-off—one that could start any time in a very unassuming way. Marc Faber, the editor of “The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report,” predicted the rally’s disruption won’t be caused by any single catalyst. His argument: Stocks are very overbought and sentiment is way too bullish for the so-called Trump rally to continue. “Very simply, the market starts to go down. As it goes down, it will start triggering selling, and then it will be like an avalanche,” said Faber recently on “Futures Now.” “I would underweight U.S. stocks.”
Retail Apocalypse Gains Momentum As David Stockman Warns ‘Everything Will Grind To A Halt’ After March 15th
J.C. Penney and Family Christian Stores are the latest retail giants to announce widespread store closings. As you will see below, J.C. Penney plans to close between 130 and 140 stores, and Family Christian is closing all of their 240 stores. In recent months the stock market has been absolutely soaring, and so most people have simply assumed that the “real economy” must be doing well. But that is not the case at all. In fact, the retail apocalypse that I have been documenting for quite some time appears to be gaining momentum……These two announcements are part of larger trend that we have been witnessing all over the country. As I have documented previously, Macy’s announced that it would be closing 100 stores earlier this year, and about the same time Sears said that it would be closing another 150 stores.Back in 2010, Sears had a staggering 3,555 stores. Before their recent announcement, Sears was down to 1,503 stores, and now this latest round of cuts will leave them with somewhere around 1,350……One expert that agrees with my assessment is former Reagan Administration White House Budget Director David Stockman. In a recent interview, he explained why he believes that “everything will grind to a halt” after March 15th…
Just recently, David Rosenberg in a recent research note, laid out 10-reasons to be cautious in the market. I thought it would be useful to look at each of these in a visual form to get a better idea of what he is addressing.The obvious reason to look at these indicators is that market records are records for a reason. As I wrote previously: “First, “record levels” of anything are records for a reason. It is where the point where previous limits were reached. Therefore, when a ‘record level’ is reached, it is NOT THE BEGINNING, but rather an indication of the MATURITY of a cycle. While the media has focused on employment, record stock market levels, etc. as a sign of an ongoing economic recovery, history suggests caution. The 4-panel chart below suggests that current levels should be a sign of caution rather than exuberance.”
Trump Misfires Again—-US Crackdown On Weed Would Insult 10th Amendment, Attack Liberty, Kill Jobs, Damage $6 Billion Industry
Along with the District of Columbia, eight states have legalized recreational use among adults, including California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada just this past November. That means one in five American adults can smoke, vape, drink, or eat cannabis as they please under state law…..To have Mr. Spicer say in one sentence that they’re a state’s rights administration and in the very next sentence say they’re going to crack down … it just defies logic,” said Robert Capecchi, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, an organization that lobbies for pot-friendly changes to drug-related legislation.
Vast liabilities are being switched quietly from private banks and investment funds onto the shoulders of taxpayers across southern Europe. It is a variant of the tragic episode in Greece, but this time on a far larger scale, and with systemic global implications…….As always, the debt markets are the barometer of stress. Yields on two-year German debt fell to an all-time low of minus 0.92pc on Wednesday, a sign that something very strange is happening. “Alarm bells are starting to ring again. Our flow data is picking up serious capital flight into German safe-haven assets. It feels like the build-up to the eurozone crisis in 2011,” said Simon Derrick from BNY Mellon….
People who read these reflections may wonder how I arrived at the understanding that socialism has failed. I am describing the whole experience in another book, but here a brief glance at the intellectual road I traveled may be helpful. It has not been so winding a road as some may think…….It was juvenile of me to imagine that humanity as a whole, especially by splitting itself into two halves, could turn a whole period of history into a scientific experiment. Science requires a scientist, or at least an engineer, and the engineer, in this case, would have to have dictatorial power. But that thought, if it entered my mind, I managed to elude.
But close analysis of the entire series of leaks reveals something else that is equally sinister in its implications: an unprecedented campaign by Obama administration intelligence officials, relying on innuendo rather than evidence, to exert pressure on Trump to abandon any idea of ending the New Cold War and to boost the campaign to impeach Trump. A brazen and unprecedented intervention in domestic U.S. politics by the intelligence community established the basic premise of the cascade of leaks about alleged Trump aides’ shady dealing with Russia. Led by CIA Director John Brennan, the CIA, FBI and NSA issued a 25-page assessment on Jan. 6 asserting for the first time that Russia had sought to help Trump win the election.
Awarding “The White Helmets” an Oscar would fit with the desire of Hollywood to appear supportive of “human rights,” even if that means supporting a propaganda operation to justify another bloody “regime change” war in the Middle East. Much of what people think they know about the White Helmets is untrue. The group is not primarily Syrian; it was initiated by British military contractor James LeMesurier and has been heavily funded (about $100 million) by the U.S., U.K. and other governments. The White Helmets are not volunteers; they are paid, which is confirmed in a Al Jazeera video that shows some White Helmet “volunteers” talking about going on strike if they don’t get paid soon…..Still, most of the group’s heavy funding goes to marketing, which is run by “The Syria Campaign” based in New York. The manager is an Irish-American, Anna Nolan, who has never been to Syria……When eastern Aleppo was finally freed from the armed militants, it was discovered that the White Helmets headquarters were alongside the headquarters of Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate. Civilians from east Aleppo reported that the White Helmets primarily rallied their “humanitarian” operations when the militants were attacked.