Zero Hedge Highlights


by Tyler Durden{jcomments on}


Guest Post: “Chart of the Month” TSX-V Speaks Volumes – Gold Mania Still Ahead

With the gold price hitting nominal highs last month, there is a lot of “mania” and “bubble” ranting going on in the gold community. Should we start selling? A bull market typically progresses through 3 phases: the Stealth Phase, in which early adopters start buying; the Wall of Worry Phase (or Awareness Phase), when institutions begin buying and every significant fluctuation makes investors worry that the bull market is over; and the Mania Phase when the general public piles on, driving prices beyond reason or sustainability. This is followed by the Blow-off Phase, when the bear takes over from the bull and the herd gets slaughtered. Judging by the volume on the TSX Venture Exchange (TSX-V), where a lot of gold juniors are listed, we conclude that the next phase of our current gold bull market, the Mania, still lies ahead.

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Virginia Judge Finds Obama Health Care Law Unconstitutional

Some curious headlines flashing on Bloomberg: a Virginia judge has just found that the Obama healthcare law is unconstitutional, and that Congress has exceeded its authority with its requirement that individuals should buy insurance. Also, the judge apparently wants portions of the law overturned, specfically the “individual mandate” provision of the Obama health care law. — known legally as Sec. 1501. Good thing Obama is a constitutional lawyer and can explain to the judge why he is so very wrong. In the meantime, expect a Supreme Court appeal, and possibly delays to the US debt hitting $1 quadrillion.

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ECB Considering Requesting A Rise In Capital

Reuters is reporting that the ECB is considering requesting a rise in capital. It is unclear how much would be requested, but a “doubling” is considered. The current subscribed capital at the ECB is  €5.8 billion currently, and  payments for the ECB capital hike would be staggered. Presumably this is to validate that the backstopper of all those other insolvent, pardon, stress test-passing banks (just like the Irish ones during stress test 1) that will soon pass Euro stress test 2 with flying colors, is not itself insolvent. And now for some compare and contrast: the ECB has €5.8 billion of capital on €1.924 trillion of assets: roughly 331x leverage. As a reminder the Fed has $57 billion leverage on $2,385 billion in assets, or a 42x leverage ratio. On the other hand, the ECB only holds €72 billion in directly purchased bonds as part of its “assets”, whereas the bulk of the Fed’s assets are rate-sensitive instruments: roughly $2.1 trillion in “securities held outright.” The bottom line: the ECB uses about 8 times more leverage than the Fed, which means that the two biggest hedge funds in the world can sustain a combined $65 billion in asset value reductions before they are technically insolvent. Of course, that would be the case in an ideal world where data actually mattered, and capital deficiencies could not be plugged up by just printing some more worthless linen.

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Simon Black On Apple As A Symbol Of “Peak Empire”

“Sovereign Man” Simon Black’s daily musing comes today from the Franz Josef glacier in New Zealand where he contemplates the present and future of a civilization in which the biggest company in the world (soon enough) will be one that creates a la carte fads and focuses on one-time mindless gratification. “We live in rather interesting times, though; the technology sector’s engineering brilliance goes where demand and financial incentives are the greatest… and for now, that seems to be designing devices that can mimic flatulence or geolocate the nearest pizzeria. This will change eventually as the problems worsen and society’s priorities shift… but for now, I think that Apple’s soaring profits and society’s evangelical devotion to its products may be a social reflection of the final days of Rome.” If Apple is a sign of the end of empire, we would be even more curious with Simon’s take on Netflix’ symbology (which continues trading at such ludicrous forward multiples that excel goes straight to the BSOD when any modeling is attempted).

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JP Morgan Admits Defeat, Cuts Silver Short Position, Proves Millions Of Conspiracy Theorists Absolutely Correct

In the latest example that virtually every conspiracy theory is almost always inevitably proven to be fact, the Financial Times reports that JP Morgan, the firm targeted by thousands of “tin foil hat” wearing, conspiratorially-oriented “gold bugs”, has cut back on its US silver futures. “JPMorgan has quietly reduced a large position in the US silver futures market which had been at the centre of a controversy about its impact on global prices for the precious metal.” And in what can only be considered an unprecedented victory for all those who have over the past year agitated to putting JP Morgan out of business, most recently spearheded by the likes of Mike Krieger and Max Keiser, by forcing a massive short squeeze on its commodities trading desk, we learn that “the decision by JPMorgan was an attempt to deflect public criticism of the bank’s dealings in silver, a person familiar with the matter said. The person added that the bank’s position in silver would from now on be “materially smaller” than in the past.” Of course, the latter is pure and total bullshit: as Bart Chilton indicated over the weekend, it is JP Morgan who at one point or another (and possibly very recently) controlled as much as 40% of the silver market, via a massive short. Attempting to make others believe that this short could be covered without pushing the price of the silver metal to over $100/ounce is an indication of either how stupid JPM believes the general population to be, or just how desperate the firm is to end the ongoing short squeeze onslaught. Either way, we are confident that this first unprecedented confirmation that a) JPM is indeed massively short silver and b) that it is hurting bad, will merely redouble efforts to put the world’s biggest financial company out of business.

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