Quant-focused hedge funds – they specialize in algorithmic rather than human trading – gained $4.6 billion of net new assets in the first quarter, and now hold $932 billion, or about 30% to the $3.1 trillion in total hedge-fund assets. At the same time, investors yanked $5.5 billion out of non-quant hedge funds. This comes on top of last year when investors had yanked $83 billion out of non-quant hedge funds and had poured $13 billion into quant funds……
Has there been a more disgusting spectacle during the four months of this presidency than the sight of Donald Trump slobbering all over the barbarous Saudi monarch and his murderous family of petty princelings? It’s enough to make any normal American retch, especially when one remembers what Trump said about them during the election: “Saudi Arabia and many of the countries that gave vast amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation want women as slaves and to kill gays. Hillary must return all money from such countries! Now Trump’s son in law, Jared Kushner, is calling up Lockheed-Martin to get a discount for the Saudis, personally brokering the biggest arms deal in US history. What a difference a presidency makes! The old Trump told us that the Saudis were “mouth pieces, bullies, cowards,” who were “paying ISIS,” but now they’re our partners in the “war on terrorism.” Why it seems like only yesterday that he was calling out Saudi princes like Alwaleed bin Talal for thinking they can “control our US politicians” – today he’s kowtowing to them.
The evidence that the middle class in America is dying continues to mount. As you will see below, nearly half the country would be unable “to cover an unexpected $400 expense”, and about two-thirds of the population lives paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time. Of course the economy has not been doing that well overall in recent years. Barack Obama was the only president in all of U.S. history not to have a single year when the economy grew by at least 3 percent, and U.S. GDP growth during the first quarter of 2017 was an anemic 0.7 percent. During the Obama era, it is true that wealthy enclaves in New York, northern California and Washington D.C. did thrive, but meanwhile most of the rest of the country has been left behind.
The Iranian population’s political sophistication continues to impress. Despite a highly flawed political system where the elections are neither fair nor free, the overwhelmingly majority chose a non-violent path to bring about progress. The Iranian population’s political sophistication continues to impress. Despite a highly flawed political system where the elections are neither fair nor free, the overwhelmingly majority chose a non-violent path to bring about progress.
More importantly, Fitch has also revised its “retail concern list” which compiles issuers with a significant risk of default within the next 12 months, and which now lists nite retailers, up from eight the last time we showed the list in April, including…..Sears Holdings, Gymboree, Nine West Holdings…..
In case you wonder how our politics fell into such a slough of despond, the answer is pretty simple. Neither main political party, or their trains of experts, specialists, and mouthpieces, can construct a coherent story about what is happening in this country — and the result is a roaring wave of recursive objurgation and wrath that loops purposelessly towards gathering darkness. What’s happening is a slow-motion collapse of the economy. Neither Democrats or Republicans know why it is so remorselessly underway. A tiny number of well-positioned scavengers thrive on the debris cast off by the process of disintegration, but they don’t really understand the process either — the lobbyists, lawyers, bankers, contractors, feeders at the troughs of government could not be more cynical or clueless.
According to the latest Fed data, the all-important C&I loan growth contraction has not only continued, but over the past two months, another 50% has been chopped off, and what in early March was a 4.0% annual growth is now barely positive, down to just 2.0%, and set to turn negative in just a few weeks. This was the lowest growth rate since May 2011, right around the time the Fed was about to launch QE2. At the same time, total loan growth has likewise continued to decline, and as of the second week of May was down to 3.8%, the weakest overall loan creation in three years.
Commercial office space has had a fantastic run since hitting bottom in 2009/2010. Much of it with the help of The Federal Reserve’s patented asset bubble blowing technology!Bloomberg — Concern is mounting that real estate prices have peaked following six years of record-shattering growth, and there are signs of overbuilding in large cities such as New York and San Francisco—the biggest beneficiaries of the recent boom. Landlords are cutting rents and prices, spooked lenders are holding back, and the industry loses hope for Trump tax cuts.
The Pentagon has generated almost $6 billion over the past seven years by charging the armed forces excessive prices for fuel and has used the money — called the “bishop’s fund” by some critics — to bolster mismanaged or underfunded military programs, documents show. Since 2015, the Defense Department has tapped surpluses from its fuel accounts for $80 million to train Syrian rebels, $450 million to shore up a prescription-drug program riddled with fraud and $1.4 billion to cover unanticipated expenses from the war in Afghanistan, according to military accounting records. The Pentagon has amassed the extra cash by billing the armed forces for fuel at rates often much higher — sometimes $1 per gallon or more — than what commercial airlines paid for jet fuel on the open market.
Every conventional “solution” to the systemic ills of our economy and society boils down to some version of free money: Universal Basic Income (UBI) schemes– free money for everyone, funded by borrowing from future taxpayers (robots, people, Martians, any fantasy will do); debt jubilees funded by central banks creating trillions out of thin air, a.k.a. free money, and so on.