Wolf Richter

Fear and Trembling In Muni Land

Municipal bond investors, a conservative bunch eager to avoid rollercoasters and cliffhangers, are getting frazzled. Bankruptcies and the Fed’s taper cacophony are a toxic mix. So they’re bailing out of muni bond funds at record rate. Losses are mounting. And so are the fears.

Unleash the lawyers! Mounting Costs Of NSA Scandal To Bleed US Tech For Years

Blowback: What’s rising for US tech companies like a pile of fuming manure? The costs of working hand-in-glove with the NSA to build a seamless, borderless, indiscriminate spy dragnet. Now add an all-American cost to the pile: class-action lawsuits.

Mother Of All Currency Wars in One Chart: Dollar Vs. Swiss Franc

The destruction of the dollar – so clearly visible against the Swiss Franc – took on a sudden virulent form in 1970. It has been going on just about all my life. And it’s still going on. When even the Swiss couldn’t handle it anymore, they too jumped into the currency war.

Putin Liquidates State-Owned Media Groups, Tightens Stranglehold On Survivors (As Other Governments Watch Enviously)

Vladimir Putin issued decrees that liquidate RIA Novosti, a state-run news agency with reporters in 45 countries, publishing in 14 languages including English, and too much of a mind of its own.  And he is building a formidable propaganda machine. Other governments watch enviously.

Silicon Valley Frenzy: Big Bucks, Big Data, and Spying

The government spy-services marketplace, part of Big Data, is juicy. Investors clamor to get in on it. Scores of startups have sprung up. The hottest one is Palantir. Its valuation jumped 50% in three months – to $9 billion! Its technologies, designed for the CIA to track terrorists, have transitioned to track you and me.

Microsoft Protests NSA Taps (I Hear The Crinkly Sounds Of A Bag Being Pulled Over My Head)

That the NSA might have tapped into Microsoft’s “cloud” services, along with Google’s and Yahoo’s, turned into a publicity nightmare. Now Microsoft, which collaborates tightly with the NSA and other agencies on a host of projects, counter-attacks. With very mixed results.

Germany’s Complex Export Religion In One Chart

Today we got another morsel from the German export smorgasbord, along with a beautiful long-term chart from the German statistical agency that says it all.

Why Bitcoin Is Such Dizzying Fun

Even as the world was still desperately trying to figure out what exactly Bitcoin is, it was inducted into the Wall Street hype factory today by an analyst who touted it as the best thing since sliced bread – just when all heck was re-breaking out.

How Crazy Is The Auto Financing Frenzy?

A “positive spiral effect?” Lenders are closing their eyes, sales are soaring, risks are piling up, auto loan balances jumped 15% in 12 months to an all-time high, and repossessions in the subprime segment more than doubled.