The first shot was fired on Monday. Teradata, which sells analytics tools for Big Data, warned that revenues plunged 21% in Asia. Wednesday, it was IBM’s turn to confess: hardware sales in China had collapsed. Every word was colored by Snowden’s revelations about NSA’s collaboration with American tech companies, from startups to mastodons like IBM.
“The company could disappear,” said Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes, not exactly the kind of wondrous hype CEOs normally sputter to bamboozle people into plowing their money into the company’s stock. The end, after two decades of ingenious Wall-Street engineering, fee extraction, fanciful accounting, executive wisdom, and brilliant strategic thinking.
The amount in Federal assistance received by families of workers in the fast-food industry, who’re dogged by low wages, part-time work, and scarce employer-provided health benefits, amounted to $7 billion per year. A way for the $200 billion industry to shuffle off part of the costs of doing business to the hapless taxpayer.
European regulators are desperate. The only thing known about the holes in bank balance sheets stuffed with decomposing assets is that they’re deep. No one knows how deep. No one is allowed to know – not until Eurocrats decide who will pay for bailing out these banks. How do we know? ECB President Mario Draghi said that.
The US has abused its three phenomenal privileges – including the control of the only world currency – to put global financial stability at risk, “like a truck full of dynamite heading right toward us,” said the chairman of the International Advisory Board of the Universal Credit Rating Group. But a “new financial order” is forming. And there’s a timeframe.
They’re getting hilarious, the shenanigans on Wall Street. Revenues have been lousy all year, and despite feverish cost cutting, earnings are sliding. The third quarter has been over for almost two weeks, but Q3 earnings estimates are still being pushed down. A lot! So that companies can “exceed expectations.” They’re now at stagnation levels. And stocks soar.
Alarm bells went off: “Yellen props stocks,” the headline read. Somebody needs to. Politicians are actively contemplating how to most effectively send the largest and brokest debtor in history into default. Corporate revenues can’t keep up with inflation. Earnings estimates and actual earnings growth plunge. And the S&P 500 soared 16% year to date.
The fight over the government shutdown and the debt ceiling, carried out in the media with maximum intensity, barrages of sound bites, folksy sounding talking heads, and a good portion of twisted logic, has cost both parties dearly. But it has hammered the GOP. A chart with an ugly plunge.
The costs of nuclear accidents can be catastrophic, for generations. But there are also the routine costs after reactors are shut down, when decommissioning expenses pile up, for timeframes beyond human comprehension. True costs are unknown. Now, the scandal-plagued San Onofre plant in Southern California has become a test case – indefinitely.
In its report on shadow banking, the New York Fed buried some nuggets: Hedge funds and banks are bailing out of the highest-risk “opaque” but now relatively low-yielding loans – low yielding thanks to the Fed’s repressive monetary policies – by selling them to small investors via harmless-sounding and conservative-appearing mutual funds and ETFs.