Jim Sinclair’s Commentary
The global recovery strikes again.
JPMorgan Chase to cut thousands more jobs
Published: Monday, 24 Feb 2014 | 7:53 PM ET
By: Tom Braithwaite
JPMorgan Chase is planning more job cuts in its mortgage business on top of the 13,000-15,000 positions already due to be slashed because of plunging demand for home loans.
Several thousand more cuts are planned, according to people familiar with the matter, and could be announced at JPMorgan’s annual investor day on Tuesday. They are part of a new efficiency drive at the largest US bank by assets that also encompasses staffing branches with fewer employees.
Jamie Dimon, chief executive, and his management team are due to address shareholders for the first time since the bank agreed to a record $13bn settlement with the Department of Justice and regulators to resolve allegations of mortgage mis-selling.
Despite two years of giant legal costs and fraught run-ins with regulators, the investor meeting comes at a time when the bank’s share price of $58.03 is close to a record high.
Profitability at JPMorgan remains stronger than at competitors such as Bank of America and Citigroup but the bank is looking to find new savings, partly because of technology that allows greater automation of clerical functions in branches and partly because of a plunge in demand for mortgage refinancings.
Jim Sinclair’s Commentary
The weather excuse again.
Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Activity Withers in February
By Dow Jones Business News, February 25, 2014, 10:29:00 AM EDT
Factory activity in the central Atlantic region withered this month, as orders shrunk and hiring stalled, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond reported Tuesday.
The Richmond Fed’s manufacturing current business conditions index dropped to -6 in February, from 12 in January, now at its lowest reading since July 2013. Numbers above zero indicate expanding activity.
There was a widespread decline in the region’s manufacturing subindexes.
The shipment index fell to -6 from 14 in January. The new orders index dropped to -9 from 14. Each subindex also stands at its lowest since July.
Demand for labor deteriorated. The employment index fell to zero from 6 in December, while the workweek index fell to -5 from 8. Wages were the one silver lining, rising to 14 from 11.
Jim Sinclair’s Commentary
QE, or whatever Chair Yellen called, it to Infinity.
US consumer confidence index dips in February on concerns over business conditions, jobs
Article by: MARTIN CRUTSINGER ,
Updated: February 25, 2014 – 10:15 AM
WASHINGTON — U.S. consumer confidence fell slightly in February over concerns about the near-term outlook for business conditions and jobs.
The Conference Board said Tuesday that its confidence index dipped to 78.1 this month, down from 79.4 in January.
"Consumers believe the economy has improved, but they do not foresee it gaining considerable momentum in the months ahead," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board.
Consumer sentiment is closely watched for indications about how it will impact consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.
Views about current conditions increased for the fourth consecutive month and now stand at the highest level in almost six years. But the index that tracks consumer expectations dipped slightly, pulling the overall reading down.
Jim Sinclair’s Commentary
Another great commentary by Stephen Leeb. The risks for failure with the US trying to bring the Ukraine into the Westerrn fold and Russia and China resisting the moves of the US, the factor for miscalculations are high.
Germany, Russia, China, the US, Gold & World Dominance
With gold drifting higher and the US Dollar Index barely clinging to the critical 80 level, today an acclaimed money manager spoke with King World News about Germany, Russia, the US, gold and global chess moves taking place involving world dominance. Below is what Stephen Leeb had to say in this fascinating and timely interview.
Leeb: “Right now we have gold and silver moving higher along with commodities. Usually I don’t spend time on geopolitical issues, but I want to cover this topic very briefly. Most of the time geopolitical issues are non-starters, but there are situations where you can really see things getting out of control….
Bitcoin Bites The Dust
Tuesday Feb 25th by Adam Hewison
The Bitcoin world is in turmoil this morning as Mt.Gox, once the largest Bitcoin exchange (based in Japan) in the world, closed its website amid rumors of the biggest hacking heist of all time. You may remember that Bitcoin was created as an alternative currency and that it took some serious programming and algorithms to create it. This morning there were allegations that there has been a $350 million hack at Mt.Gox. Mt.Gox appears to have closed its virtual doors and may no longer be in business. Bitcoin insiders have been bracing themselves for weeks against something like this happening, but the magnitude of the virtual heist has shocked even the most astute Bitcoin observer.
Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox goes dark in blow to virtual currency
By Ruairidh Villar, Sophie Knight and Brett Wolf
TOKYO/ST LOUIS Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:55pm EST
(Reuters) – Mt. Gox, once the world’s biggest bitcoin exchange, abruptly stopped trading on Tuesday and its chief executive said the business was at "a turning point," sparking concerns about the future of the unregulated virtual currency.
Several other digital currency exchanges and prominent early-stage investors in bitcoin responded with forceful statements in an attempt to reassure investors of both bitcoin’s viability and their own security protocols.
The website of Mt. Gox suddenly went dark on Tuesday with no explanation, and the company’s Tokyo office was empty – the only activity was outside, where a handful of protesters said they had lost money investing in the virtual currency.
Hours later, Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles told Reuters in an email: "We should have an official announcement ready soon-ish. We are currently at a turning point for the business. I can’t tell much more for now as this also involves other parties." He did not elaborate on the details or give his location.
Bitcoin has gained increasing acceptance as a method of payment and has attracted a number of large venture capital investors. At a current price of about $517, the total bitcoins in circulation are worth approximately $6.4 billion.
Jim Sinclair’s Commentary
The future of your retirement programs by Jim Rogers and Ron Paul.
Another "Successful Banker" Found Dead
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/24/2014 21:04 -0500
The dismal trail of dead bankers continues. As The Journal Star reports, a successful Lincoln businessman and member of a prominent local family died last week. Former National Bank of Commerce CEO James Stuart Jr. was found dead in Scottsdale, Ariz., the morning of Feb. 19. A family spokesman did not say what caused the death. This brings the total of banker deaths in recent weeks to 9 as Stuart is sadly survived by three sons and four daughters.
Mr Stuart’s background (via The Journal Star),
Stuart was a native of Lincoln and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Business Administration.
In 1969, Stuart joined Citibank in New York City and served as a loan officer until 1973, when he joined First Commerce Bancshares (then NBC Co.) as executive vice president. He was named president in 1976, chairman and CEO in 1978, and also became chairman and CEO of National Bank of Commerce in 1985. Stuart spent his life building the organization into an important business voice in Lincoln, friend and colleague Brad Korell said.
“He was a very successful banker,” said Korell, who worked with Stuart for more than 30 years. “I always felt that he was a visionary. He really did build one of the most successful and admired banking organizations in the Midwest.”
Jim Sinclair’s Commentary
Sounds a lot like Dr. Nenner to me.
The Bearish Call to End All Bearish Calls
By TOMI KILGORE
In what may be the bearish call to end all bearish calls, one technician believes 2014 will be the year of “major reversals,” with the Dow Jones Industrial Average expected to start a two-year decline that could eventually take it down more than 70% to below 5000.
United-ICAP chief market technician Walter Zimmerman said the Dow Industrials could still rally another 4% or so first, to a high around 17150, before the great reversal begins. And for those who thought 2008 was the worst bear market they will ever see, just wait.
“Based on our longer-term time cycles the present stock market rally must be considered the bubble to end all bubbles,” Mr. Zimmerman wrote in a note to clients.
He doesn’t believe the Dow Industrials will hit a long-term cycle low until 2016, somewhere in the 5770 to 4650 range. The Dow hasn’t seen those levels, which are 65% to 72% below current prices, since late-1995 to mid-1996.
Is Lassonde really so ignorant of his own organization’s work?
Submitted by cpowell on Mon, 2014-02-24 21:14. Section: Daily Dispatches
4:23p ET Monday, February 24, 2014
Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:
GATA’s researcher, consultant, and friend R.M. had to laugh at World Gold Council board member Pierre Lassonde’s insistence in his interview today with Kitco News that central bankers "spend no time whatsoever thinking about gold":
For if central bankers really don’t bother with gold at all, R.M. wonders, why does the World Gold Council spend so much time talking to them about it? And how can a World Gold Council board member be so ignorant of his organization’s work?
Or is Lassonde really not ignorant at all but working hard at disinformation for people who are not central bankers?
R.M.’s commentary is appended.
CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.
While Pierre Lassonde may maintain the fiction that central banks "spend no time whatsoever thinking about gold," the evidence from the World Gold Council, on whose Board of Directors he sits, suggests otherwise, and the highly paid gold council staffers who specialize in dealing with central banks might be forgiven for raising an eyebrow or two at his strange remark.
A few minutes of research into the organization Lassonde purportedly is helping to supervise would show him the following:
1. The World Gold Council says its "government affairs team works with policymakers and influencers globally, such as central bankers, politicians, regulators, academics, and the financial services industry, equipping them with tools and research to make an informed decision about the role of gold":
A review of the council’s government affairs publications shows 68 research reports especially relevant to central banks:
Democracy Murdered By Protest
Ukraine Falls To Intrigue and violence
Paul Craig Roberts
Who’s in charge? Certainly not the bought-and-paid-for-moderates that Washington and the EU hoped to install as the new government of Ukraine. The agreement that the Washington and EU supported opposition concluded with President Yanukovich to end the crisis did not last an hour. Even the former boxing champion, Vitaly Klitschko, who was riding high as an opposition leader until a few hours ago has been booed by the rioters and shoved aside. The newly appointed president by what is perhaps an irrelevant parliament, Oleksandr Turchynov, has no support base among those who overthrew the government. As the BBC reports, “like all of the mainstream opposition politicians, Mr. Turchynov is not entirely trusted or respected by the protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square.”
In western Ukraine the only organized and armed force is the ultra-nationalist Right Sector. From the way this group’s leaders speak, they assume that they are in charge. One of the group’s leaders, Aleksandr Muzychko, has pledged to fight against “Jews and Russians until I die.” Asserting the Right Sector’s authority over the situation, Muzychko declared that now that the democratically elected government has been overthrown, “there will be order and discipline” or “Right Sector squads will shoot the bastards on the spot.”
The bastards are any protesters who dare to protest the Right Sector’s control.
Muzychko declared, “The next president of Ukraine will be from Right Sector.”
Another Right Sector leader, Dmitry Yarosh, declared: “the Right Sector will not lay down its arms.” He declared the deal made between the opposition and the President to be “unacceptable” and demanded the liquidation of President Yanukovich’s political party.
The Right Sector’s roots go back to the Ukrainians who fought for Adolf Hitler against the Soviet Union during World War 2. It was the Right Sector that introduced armed fighters and turned the tide of the protests in Kiev from peaceful protests in favor of joining the EU to violent attacks on police with the view of overthrowing the democratically elected government, which the Right Sector succeeded in doing.
London gold fix may be manipulating half the time, research concludes
Submitted by cpowell on Mon, 2014-02-24 00:39. Section: Daily Dispatches
Fears Over Gold Price Rigging Put Investors on Alert; German and UK Regulators Investigate
By Madison Marriage
Financial Times, London
Monday, February 24, 2014
Global gold prices may have been manipulated on 50 percent of occasions between January 2010 and December 2013, according to analysis by Fideres, a consultancy.
The findings come amid a probe by German and UK regulators into alleged manipulation of the gold price, which is set twice a day by Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Barclays, Bank of Nova Scotia, and Societe Generale in a process known as the London gold fixing.
Fideres’ research found the gold price frequently climbs (or falls) once a twice-daily conference call between the five banks begins, peaks (or troughs) almost exactly as the call ends, and then experiences a sharp reversal, a pattern it alleged may be evidence of "collusive behavior."
This "is indicative of panel banks’ pushing the gold price upwards on the basis of a strategy that was likely predetermined before the start of the call in order to benefit their existing positions or pending orders," Fideres concluded.
"The behavior of the gold price is very suspicious in 50 percent of cases. This is not something you would expect to see if you take into account normal market factors," said Alberto Thomas, a partner at Fideres.
Alasdair Macleod, head of research at GoldMoney, a dealer in physical gold, added: "When the banks fix the price, the advantage they have is that they know what orders they have in the pocket. There is a possibility that they are gaming the system."
Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox disappears in blow to virtual currency
Submitted by cpowell on 05:10AM ET Tuesday, February 25, 2014. Section: Daily Dispatches
By Ruairidh Villar and Sophie Knight
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
TOKYO — Mt. Gox, once the world’s biggest bitcoin exchange, looked to have essentially disappeared on Tuesday, with its website down, its founder unaccounted for, and a Tokyo office empty except for a handful of protesters saying they had lost money investing in the virtual currency.
The digital marketplace operator, which began as a venue for trading cards, had surged to the top of the bitcoin world, but critics — from rival exchanges to burned investors — said Mt. Gox had long been lax over its security.
It was not clear what has become of the exchange, which this month halted withdrawals indefinitely after detecting "unusual activity." A global bitcoin organization referred to the exchange’s "exit," while angry investors questioned whether it was still solvent. …
… For the full story:
Russian units transferred from securing the Sochi games to the Ukraine border
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report February 24, 2014, 6:08 PM (IST)
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that units of the Russian forces which formed a steel ring around the Olympic Winter Games that ended in Sochi Sunday were flown and shipped Monday, Feb. 24 to Russian bases at the Ukrainian Crimean port of Sevastopol, as Moscow refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new authorities in Kiev.
Giant Russian Air Force transports and rapid deployment forces were placed on alert at the Rostov on-Don base east of the predominantly Russian-speaking southeastern Ukrainian town of Donetsk.
Russian military movements were also sighted near Belgorod, a Russian town 40 kilometers from the Ukraine border and north of its second largest town of Kharkov. There, too, most of the inhabitants are Russian speaking with a strong affinity to Moscow – in contrast to their European-oriented compatriots in the capital, Kiev.
These military movements were accompanied by sharp Russian rhetoric in Moscow’s first direct response to the tumult in Kiev and ouster of the pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, against whom Kiev police Monday issued a warrant for mass murder.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Monday: “Today I see no legitimate Ukrainian partners for a dialogue. If people crossing Kyiv in black masks and Kalashnikov rifles are considered a government, it will be difficult for us to work with such a government," he said, calling it “the result of a mutiny.”
The prime minister spoke of a “real threat to our interests, and to our citizens’ lives and health.”
With these comments, the Russian leader laid down a pretext for Russian military intervention in Ukraine. It was Moscow’s response to the warning issued by US National Security Adviser Susan Rice Sunday, Feb. 23, that “it would be a grave mistake for Russia to send military force.”
An area emerging as a potential flashpoint in the Ukraine crisis is the Crimean peninsula in the south.