April 17, 2014

How Russia Has Turned Ukraine's Economic Crisis into A Geopolitical Warfare

By Robert Bensh for Oilprice.com 

As protests in Ukraine's eastern region turned violent leading to the death of a Ukrainian security officer in a shootout with pro-Russian militia, Kiev threatens military action while Moscow flexes its geo-economic warfare muscles. 

Pro-Russian militia groups have seized government buildings and police headquarters in Ukraine's eastern city of Donetsk and Slovyanks--where the shoot-out took place--and despite a morning ultimatum by the Ukrainian government, these groups have shown no sign of giving in. 

April 16, 2014

U.S. Economy: Are We Heading into A Recession Or A Continued Expansion?

By Lance Roberts at Street Talk Live

I have written extensively about the data behind the headline media reports. I have also discussed the importance of the relationship between the underlying data trends relative to broader macroeconomic perspectives.  However, it is sometimes helpful just to view the various economic indicators and draw your own conclusions outside of someone else's opinion. 

Asset Allocation & Rebalancing Review - 15 Apr 2014

By James Picerno of The Capital Speculator
The US stock market is nothing if not resilient. There’s no shortage of risks lurking around the world, but the American equity market shows minimal signs of relinquishing its role as the leading performer among the major asset classes.Sure, the bears mount a challenge every so often (including last week’s selloff), but any setbacks have been temporary affairs… so far. Indeed, the bulls took control again yesterday and stocks mounted a modest recovery. 

April 14, 2014

FDIC Is Suing Big Banks for Rigging The System

Taxpayers are paying billions of dollars for a swindle pulled off by the world’s biggest banks, using a form of derivative called interest-rate swaps; and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has now joined a chorus of litigants suing over it. According to an SEIU report:
Derivatives . . . have turned into a windfall for banks and a nightmare for taxpayers. . . . While banks are still collecting fixed rates of 3 to 6 percent, they are now regularly paying public entities as little as a tenth of one percent on the outstanding bonds, with rates expected to remain low in the future. Over the life of the deals, banks are now projected to collect billions more than they pay state and local governments – an outcome which amounts to a second bailout for banks, this one paid directly out of state and local budgets.
It is not just that local governments, universities and pension funds made a bad bet on these swaps. The game itself was rigged, as explained below. The FDIC is now suing in civil court for damages and punitive damages, a lead that other injured local governments and agencies would be well-advised to follow. But they need to hurry, because time on the statute of limitations is running out.