The Hang Seng Index was down 0.77 per cent or 168.87 points to 21,851.88 on Monday morning session close.
Shares in Hong Kong and mainland China declined at the mi-day trading pause, following retreats in most Asian equity markets as rate increases announced last week by the US Federal Reserve and Hong Kong Monetary Authority lead to capital outflow back to American shores.
“With the higher rates in US,Hong Kong stocks could be under pressure as capital could flow out of Hong Kong ,” said Ben Kwong Man-bun, executive director of KGI Asia.
Insurers led losses among Chinese companies on the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, amid concerns that mainland regulators will further place their market investments under scrutiny.
Ping An Insurance Group Co. fell 1.7 per cent to a four-month low of HK$39.75 while AIA Group Ltd fell 1.5 per cent to HK$43.75.
China Vanke Co. fell in Shenzhen and Hong Kong after the country’s largest property developer scrapped a white knight rescue plan involving Shenzhen Metro, which was intended to help defend it from a hostile takeover.
Vanke shares fell by as much as 6.3 per cent, closing 4.5 per cent lower at HK$18.48 during the lunch pause. In Shenzhen, Vanke’s shares fell as much as 5.3 per cent, dropping 4.7 per cent to 21.40 yuan.
The Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.1 per cent to 3,119.65. The Shenzhen Component index dropped 0.26 to 10,307.48, while the Shenzhen Composite Index declined 0.21 per cent to 1,987.49.
The Nasdaq style ChiNext closed 0.60 per cent lower at 1,986.22.
China’s monetary policy will be pursued in a “neutral” manner in the coming year, a departure from last year’s “flexible” stance, according to an analysis by Macquarie Capital’s Larry Hu, parsing the Communist Party’s Central Economic Work Conference last Friday. Read the rest of this entry »
She even made more money speaking to UBS and Goldman Sachs than her husband Bill did.
As Clinton tries to talk tough about how she will stand up to America’s biggest banks, her Democratic rivals are likely to remind voters just how cozy she’s been with Wall Street.
“Her closeness with big banks on Wall Street is sincere, it’s heart-felt, long-established and well known.”
— former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley
While Clinton has given paid speeches to many groups, Wall Street banks and investment houses made up a third of her speech income.
She even made more money speaking to UBS and Goldman Sachs than her husband Bill did. Goldman Sachs in New York paid Bill $200,000 for a speech in June 2013 and Hillary $225,000 for a speech in October of that year.
“If the other candidates want to make this an issue, they’ve got plenty of material.”
— Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
Sanders has been outspoken that the big banks are still “too big to fail” and should be broken up.
APPL is still on track to log its worst performance in six years.
“Some of the bloom is off the rose. I think that’s a little bit unfair. We still think it’s a great story, we still think its going to have a good six months, but some of the excitement and momentum traders have backed off, probably in part because of a risk-off general attitude in the markets.”
However, the stock is still on track to log its worst performance in six years.
In 2008, Apple shares fell more than 50 percent. Since then, the stock has consistently risen 5 percent or more.
“We tend to see a little bit of a trail down in Apple going into earnings, we tend to see people be worried. And then we see the shares strengthen after the earnings are reported.”
Max Wolff, chief economist at Manhattan Venture Partners, said the stock’s lackluster performance this year is likely due to concern about the completion of the Apple car, sales of the new Apple watch and more risk-averse investors.
“Some of the bloom is off the rose,” Wolff said Friday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.” “I think that’s a little bit unfair. We still think it’s a great story, we still think its going to have a good six months, but some of the excitement and momentum traders have backed off, probably in part because of a risk-off general attitude in the markets.”
However, Wolff said Apple’s third-quarter earnings report, which is scheduled for Oct. 27, could bring some of that excitement back. Read the rest of this entry »
China’s stock market, a crude knockoff of Western versions, was practically slapped together overnight and featured countless obvious structural weak points.
“Sure, it looked fine from the outside, but anybody who saw it up close knew that it was of such poor quality that it wasn’t built to last.”
SHANGHAI—Proving to be just as flimsy and precarious as many observers had previously warned, the Chinese-made Shanghai Composite index completely collapsed Monday, sources confirmed. Read the rest of this entry »
“Thanks to Greece’s socialist policies, its economy has long been creaking under the weight of crushing debt. It only endured in the debt-averse European Union because, with the help of Wall Street honchos like Goldman Sachs, it cunningly concealed its red ink for over a decade.”
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has called for a referendum over the latest concessions demanded by Germany and the European Commission. Votes will be cast on Sunday and Tspiras is actively campaigning against Greek cooperation. Four days earlier comes Tuesday, which is the deadline for Greece forking over an additional 1.6 billion euros to the International Monetary Fund. It’s now unknown whether Tspiras intends to default.
What is known is that the uncertainty is causing Greeks to party like it’s 1930. NBC News reports:
Greece imposed restrictions on money withdrawals and banking transactions to keep its financial system from collapsing due to a run on the banks.
Anxious Greeks rushed to ATMs to withdraw cash after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called late Friday for a referendum on the creditors’ reform proposals. …
Meanwhile, retirees lined up just after dawn at bank branches hoping they would be able to receive their pensions, which were due to be paid Monday. The finance ministry said the manner in which pensions would be disbursed would be announced later in the afternoon.
The president of the European Commission has declared that Greece’s departure from the euro is not an option, but even the most impenetrable of Eurocrats must comprehend that their little science project is falling apart.
This weekend’s referendum isn’t just about the current bailout package; a “no” vote will effectively jettison Greece from the euro and resurrect their old drachma currency. A “Grexit,” the prospect of which has long triggered dramatic sting music in the minds of European financial ministers, is looming over the Continent.
“That debt is often attributed to the fact that ‘Greeks don’t pay their taxes,’ which has now reached near-aphorism status among economic writers. But rarely does anyone explore the reasons for all this tax dodging.”
And why not? The referendum is likely a leverage tactic by Tspiras—who’s resorted to such risibly desperate measures in the past as calling on Germany to pay Greece Nazi war reparations—but it intersects with one of the seminal themes of his election campaign last year: giving the Greek people a choice. Why should Athens, fuzzily remembered as the “birthplace of democracy,” have its finances determined in the back room of a foreign accounting office? Read the rest of this entry »
Wall Street Firm Develops New High-Speed Algorithm Capable Of Performing Over 10,000 Ethical Violations Per SecondPosted: March 12, 2015
NEW YORK—Calling it a major breakthrough that will significantly expedite and streamline its daily operations, Wall Street financial firm Goldman Sachs revealed Thursday it has developed a new high-speed algorithm that is capable of performing more than 10,000 ethical violations per second.
“With this new automated program, we’ll be able to systematically deceive investors, engage in conflicts of interest, and execute thousands of other blatantly unethical dealings in the time it takes to press a button.”
…said John Waldron, co-head of Goldman Sachs’ investment banking division, who added that the high-frequency impropriety system will be able to break more rules in a minute than an entire floor of morally suspect securities traders, financial analysts, and portfolio managers could over the course of a week.
“In the past, if one of our brokers wanted to exploit a questionably legal regulatory loophole or breach the covenant of good faith with an investment client, that would require hours of manually contravening the basic principles of professional integrity. But this innovative system will allow millions of such transgressions to go through every single day. Going forward, I expect this revolutionary program to be the cornerstone of our business.”
— John Waldron, co-head of Goldman Sachs’ investment banking division
For New York Post, Kyle Smith writes: To understand the latest outrage in the IRS scandal, mull over what might happen if regulators found significant evidence to implicate Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein in an insider trading scheme.
“This is “the dog ate my hard drive, broke into another building, ate the backup of the hard drive, then broke into six other top officials’ offices and ate their hard drives also.”
Let’s say Blankfein asserted his Fifth Amendment right not to answer any questions. Say Goldman was subpoenaed to provide all of Blankfein’s e-mails. Goldman replied that, instead of complying with the subpoena, it was itself reviewing the e-mails in question and was considering which ones to release.
It’s already been 13 months, and no one has even been charged. And no one will be charged. Congress has called the cops — the Justice Department — and the cops simply don’t care.
Now imagine that, nearly a year later, Goldman admitted that it had not, in fact, reviewed the e-mails in question, because they had been lost in a computer crash two months before it claimed to be reviewing them. Imagine Goldman also said copies of the e-mails were lost, because while under subpoena it had destroyed the “backup tapes” (whatever those are) that held them and that it had also thrown away Blankfein’s actual hard drive.
The thing about dogs eating homework is, it could actually happen. This can’t.
This is “the dog ate my hard drive, broke into another building, ate the backup of the hard drive, then broke into six other top officials’ offices and ate their hard drives also.”
What we learned about the IRS this week is that there is an obvious criminal coverup that comes in addition to the possible underlying crimes. Prosecutions need to be brought against all of those involved.
Why isn’t this happening already? Read the rest of this entry »
For Washington Wire, Rhodes Cook writes: California has long been a dead zone for Republicans. The GOP has not carried it in a presidential or Senate election since 1988. The only Republican to win the governorship since 1994 is Arnold Schwarzenegger, who cultivated a distinct brand of his own. And the GOP holds only 28% of California’s U.S. House seats (15 out of 53), which matches its share of registered voters in the nation’s most populous state.
Yet in last Tuesday’s primary returns, there were inklings that the California GOP might be ready to launch a comeback. Neel Kashkari, a 40-year-old Hindu of Indian descent, emerged as the Republican gubernatorial nominee. He is an intriguing choice in a minority-majority state such as California. Read the rest of this entry »
Sheldon Richman writes: If you share my belief that the major obstacle to the free society is the national-security/corporate state, 2016 is shaping up to be a year of apprehension. The Wall Streeters, who are among the biggest advocates of partnership between big government and big business, are looking forward to a presidential contest between Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie, a contest the bankers can’t lose.
They have already discounted any populist rhetoric Clinton may need to fight off a primary challenge from, say, Sen. Elizabeth Warren. As “one well-placed Democrat” told Politico, “Wall Street folks are so happy about [having Clinton run] that they won’t care what she says.”
Clinton recently spoke to a gathering in New York organized by Goldman Sachs, the giant, influential (and bailed-out) investment bank, a gathering that Politico says was attended by “a few hundred major investors.”
Ordinarily these masters of the universe might have groaned at the idea of a politician taking the microphone. In the contentious years since the crash of 2008, they’ve grown wearily accustomed to being called names — labeled “fat cats” by President Obama and worse by those on the left — and gotten used to being largely shunned by Tea Party Republicans for their association with the Washington establishment. And of course there are all those infuriating new rules and regulations, culminating this week with the imposition of the so-called Volcker Rule to make risky trades by big banks illegal.
“But,” Politico continues, “Clinton offered a message that the collected plutocrats found reassuring, according to accounts offered by several attendees, declaring that the banker-bashing so popular within both political parties was unproductive and indeed foolish.”
Striking a soothing note on the global financial crisis, she told the audience, in effect: We all got into this mess together, and we’re all going to have to work together to get out of it. What the bankers heard her to say was just what they would hope for from a prospective presidential candidate: Beating up the finance industry isn’t going to improve the economy — it needs to stop. And indeed Goldman’s Tim O’Neill, who heads the bank’s asset management business, introduced Clinton by saying how courageous she was for speaking at the bank. (Brave, perhaps, but also well-compensated: Clinton’s minimum fee for paid remarks is $200,000).
She got one thing right: The politicians and big bankers “all got into this mess together.” The financial and housing collapse of 2008 was the fruit of that malign partnership of big government and big business. (See my article “Wall Street Couldn’t Have Done It Alone.”) But the big banks are doing fine now, thank you, and there’s no reason to think that too-big-to-fail is over. It’s regular people who are still hurting.
Gary Shapiro writes: When we talk about American exceptionalism, we think of examples like Apple, a bevy of Internet companies, biotech, Hollywood, medicine and space flight. American creativity gave birth to all of these things and much more. But while the glamorously inventive intellectual property ventures capture headlines and kudos, breakthrough innovations in drilling have been quietly transforming our nation’s economic, manufacturing, and even foreign policy prospects.
The revolution in shale drilling is transforming the U.S. from a major fuel importer to a major exporter of oil and natural gas. In fact, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that the U.S. is about to overtake Russia as the number one producer of oil and gas in the world. Last fall, the International Energy Agency estimated that by 2020, the U.S. will surpass Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil supplier. By 2030, we will be virtually self-sufficient for our fuel needs. Read the rest of this entry »
Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has taken plenty of flack for running a company that is supposedly well past its glory days—and the iPhone smartphone franchise is sometimes dismissed as a spent force, losing ground to more innovative brands such as Android and Samsung. Well, here’s a little perspective for the Apple-haters.
The iPhone 5s and 5c sold a record 9 million units during the first weekend after its launch. Consider this: The brand’s sales haul over the last four reported quarters eclipses that of such companies as Home Depot (HD), Microsoft (MSFT), Target (TGT), Goldman Sachs(GS), Amazon (AMZN), PepsiCo (PEP), Comcast (CMCSA), Dell (DELL), Google(GOOG), Pfizer (PFE), and UPS (UPS).
If this single product were its own company in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, IPhone Inc. would outsell 474 of those companies—ranking between Wells Fargo (WFC) ($90.5 billion) and Marathon Petroleum (MPC) ($84.9 billion).
Victor Davis Hanson writes: The American middle class, like the American economy in general, is ailing. Labor-force participation has hit a 35-year low.
Median household income is lower than it was five years ago. Only the top 5 percent of households have seen their incomes rise under President Obama.
Commuters are paying more than twice as much for gas as they were in 2008. Federal payouts for food stamps, unemployment insurance, and disability insurance have reached unprecedented levels.
Meanwhile, the country is still running near-record budget deficits and is burdened by $17 trillion in aggregate debt. Yet the stock market is soaring.
How can we make sense of all this contradictory nonsense? Irony.
Harry Binswanger writes: It’s time to gore another collectivist sacred cow. This time it’s the popular idea that the successful are obliged to “give back to the community.” That oft-heard claim assumes that the wealth of high-earners is taken away from “the community.” And beneath that lies the perverted Marxist notion that wealth is accumulated by “exploiting” people, not by creating value–as if Henry Ford was not necessary for Fords to roll off the (non-existent) assembly lines and Steve Jobs was not necessary for iPhones and iPads to spring into existence. Read the rest of this entry »
The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) latest civil suit against Bank of America (B of A) is an embarrassment of tragic proportions on multiple dimensions. I’m “only” going to explore seven of its epic fails here. There are many more. The two most obvious fails (except to most of the media, which failed to mention either) are that the DOJ has once again refused to prosecute either the elite bankers or bank that committed what the DOJ describes as massive frauds and that the DOJ has refused to bring even a civil suit against the senior officers of the banks despite filing a complaint that alleges facts showing that those officers committed multiple felonies that made them wealthy by causing massive harm to others. Those two fails should have been the lead in every article about the civil suit.
Bill Black knows his topic. He spent years working on regulatory policy and fraud prevention as executive director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention, litigation director of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and deputy director of the National Commission on Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement, among other positions. Black continues…