March 10: Daily Contrarian Reads

The Bull’s 8th Anniversary—-And The Freakish Calm All Around

If the bull market is worried about dying, it’s not letting on. Eight years along and no existential crisis plagues this advance, whose unbroken march from the depths of the Great Recession is the second longest ever. Valuations are stretched and going by its age the rally is in rarefied air. But volatility, the ticker tape of investor anxiety, is nowhere to be found.

Stockman Releases Urgent Warning About Wednesday

David Stockman, Reagan’s former budget director, has issued a major market warning for next Wednesday. He’s recorded a brand new 1-minute video describing a perfect storm happening next week. The historical evidence he’s provided going back to 1919 show a disturbing market pattern that’s proceeded every crash for 100 years.

False Flag Hack Attack—- Maybe It Was The CIA, Not The Russkies!

WikiLeaks’ disclosure of documents revealing CIA cyber-spying capabilities underscores why much more skepticism should have been applied to the U.S. intelligence community’s allegations about Russia “hacking” last year’s American presidential election. It turns out that the CIA maintains a library of foreign malware that could be used to pin the blame for a “hack” on another intelligence service…..That reinforces the suggestion from WikiLeaks’ associate, former British Ambassador Craig Murray, that the emails purloined from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta originated from U.S. intelligence intercepts and were then leaked by an American insider to WikiLeaks, not obtained via a “hack” directed by the Russian government.

The Bears Smell Blood—It’s Starting In The Mall REIT Sector

While longs are grudingly parting ways with some of the prized holdings, it is the short sellers that have emerged from hibernation and have smelled blood, first and foremost among mall REITs – the most vulnerable of the lot – and are turning their attention to the struggling chains’ retail landlords. The underlying retail story is familiar, but just in case here is a brief recap from WSJ: shares of retail-focused real-estate investment trusts, which own malls and shopping centers, have slumped since August last year, when Macy’s Inc. announced it would close 100 stores. Sears Holdings and J.C. Penney Co. later said they would close more than 100 stores each.

Oil Hit With Perfect Storm—-With Storage At Record High And Production Rising Could Drop to $42

The amount of crude oil in U.S. storage rose to another record high on Wednesday, jumping 8.2 million barrels from the previous week, the Energy Information Administration reported. The increase was more than four times what analysts expected. Weekly figures also showed U.S. oil production continuing to tick up toward 9.1 million barrels a day, the highest level in more than a year. That provided further evidence that rising American output is confounding efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and 10 other exporters to reduce global oil inventories by curbing their own output.

The Cost Of Ryan’s Obamacare Light—–GOP Doesn’t Know, Doesn’t Care

Now that Republicans are in control they no longer care about the deficit, the debt ceiling, or even the price tag on an Obamacare replacement. We are not even sure if the revisions will save any money….Shades of Nancy Pelosi. I guess we have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it and what it will cost.

Why No One’s Going to Drain this Swamp

The Financial Sector – whose products, risk-taking, and shenanigans blew up the sector and everything around it during the Financial Crisis – has finally gotten the memo in a serious way: During the past election cycle (2015-2016), it doused the members of the US Congress with a record amount of money to “influence decision making” and get what they want: deregulation, handouts, and subsidies. So how much? Over $2 billion. That’s over $3.7 million per sitting member of Congress, according to a report released today by Americans for Financial Reform.

The GOP Fight Over Revenue-Neutral Tax Cuts Is Just Getting Started

A fight is brewing among congressional Republicans over whether a planned tax overhaul should pay for itself. The plan favored by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) aims to be revenue-neutral: Lowering taxes without increasing the deficit—though their math comes with some caveats. But President Donald Trump hasn’t signed onto that budgetary straitjacket, and some lawmakers are sympathetic to the idea of dumping the revenue-neutral goal.

Urban Outfitters CEO Confesses—-Huge Retail Capacity Bubble Is Bursting

Retail square feet per capital in the United States is more than six times that of Europe or Japan. And this doesn’t count digital commerce. Our industry, not unlike the housing industry, saw too much square footage capacity added in the 1990s and early 2000s. Thousands of new doors opened and rents soared. This created a bubble, and like housing, that bubble has now burst. We are seeing the results: doors shuttering and rents retreating. This trend will continue for the foreseeable future and may even accelerate.

The Massive Hack Attack On America—By The CIA!

Yesterday Wikileaks released 8,761 CIA documents detailing the agency’s hacking of smart phones, routers, computers, and even televisions. These files reveal that the CIA can and has hacked devices that were supposedly secure– iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.The documents further reveal that the CIA is deliberately infecting personal computers with spyware, including Windows, Mac OS/X, Solaris, Linux, and other operating systems……Even if you think the TV is off, it’s not. CIA hackers have been able to spoof the on/off display and set the television to a “false off” mode.

The Marines Have Landed—-In Syria With No Congressional Authorization

Although the Syrian army, with its ally Russia, has made significant gains against ISIS over the past week or so, the Washington Post is reporting tonight that President Trump has for the first time sent regular US military personnel into that country in combat positions. This is an unprecedented escalation of US involvement in the Syrian war and it comes without Congressional authorization, without UN authorization, and without the authorization of the government of Syria. In short it is three ways illegal.