Author: Tyler Durden

  • Biggest Short Squeeze In 11 Months Sends S&P 500 Surging Above 2,600

    Equity investors, corporate boards, and momo machines are panic-buying stocks this morning, sending the S&P 500 above 2600 for the first time ever... as the yield curve crashes to decade flats...

    VIX down, Stocks Up...

     

    While USDJPY momo is helping, stocks are quite decoupled...

     

    And so are bonds...

     

    But it's all about the squeeze... the biggest short squeeze since December...

  • Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe Resigns

    Zimbabwe’s Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda had barely finished reading the rules and regulations of how impeachment proceedings would proceed against President Robert Mugabe when the 93-year-old leader and former revolutionary surprised his colleagues by officially resigning the presidency – something he had been reluctant to do even after the military placed him under house arrest last week.

    Both Reuters and the Associated Press confirmed that Mugabe had resigned, citing an announcement made by Mudenda.

     

    BREAKING: President Robert Mugabe has resigned, Speaker of Parliament confirms

    — Zim Media Review (@ZimMediaReview) November 21, 2017

     

    "I Robert Gabriel Mugabe in terms of section 96 of the constitution of Zimbabwe hereby formally tender my resignation... with immediate effect," said speaker Mudenda, reading Mugabe's letter.

    "My decision to resign was voluntary on my part."

    Zimbabwe's Parliament has erupted in cheers as the speaker announces the resignation of President Robert Mugabe. The speaker stopped impeachment proceedings to say they had received a letter from Mugabe with the resignation "with immediate effect." It is an extraordinary end for the world's oldest head of state after 37 years in power.

    Mugabe’s resignation came days after the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party fired him as its leader and ordered him to step down. In his place, Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, who Mugabe dismissed as vice president earlier this month, will take over as interim leader and the leader of ZANU-PF, the country's ruling party. Mnangawa will also be ZANU's candidate in presidential elections next year, the party said.

     

    Drama! Drama!

    As The Speaker was presiding over the impeachment, Justice Minister Bonyongwe interrupted him, carrying a letter. Speaker Mudenda then asked MPs to excuse him. They grumbled.

    But this was it. He announced the letter had come. Mugabe has resigned!

    — Zim Media Review (@ZimMediaReview) November 21, 2017

     

    Mugabe came to power in 1980 after Zimbabwe gained its independence from the UK. He was ousted earlier this month after he fired Mnangagwa and appointed his much-younger wife, Grace, 52, in his stead. Mugabe, it was widely believed, was positioning Grace to succeed him as ruler of Zimbabwe.

    Once an shining example of economic progress, Zimbabwe's economy began crumbling in the early 2000s as Mugabe seized land from white farmers and turned it over to friends of his government. The country's currency experienced a hyperinflationary spiral that rendered the savings of millions of Zimbabweans worthless. The recent unrest has sent many Zimbabweans scrambling to buy bitcoin, which recently traded at $13,000 on Golix, the country's primary bitcoin exchange. That's a more than 50% premium over its global price. Bitcoin's global price of around $8,000.

    Mugabe baffled many of his countrymen on Monday when he refused to resign during a widely watched public address, insisting instead that he would lead the next Congress. In response, both opposition and Zanu-PF lawmakers said they would immediately begin impeachment proceedings.

    The president furnished his resignation after only three cabinet ministers showed up for a cabinet meeting he called for Tuesday.

     

    @ZimMediaReview
    Me: How many ministers attended today's cabinet meeting?
    Zim "journalists" : ????
    Me: hmm...#Zimbabwe pic.twitter.com/wUTdPjmpnG

    — Thandekile Moyo (@Mamoxn) November 21, 2017

    The BBC tweeted footage of Mudenda reading Mugabe's resignation letter aloud:

  • Chinese Online Lenders Are Crashing After Credit Crackdown

    The ADRs of several Chinese lenders, such as recently IPO'd Qudian and Hexindai, are crashing following a report from Netease that the country has decided to halt approvals for new online microlenders, citing risky cash-loan businesses at some firms.

    Bloomberg reports that the Netease report raised concern that the lenders, some of which just recently listed in the U.S., could be subject to further restrictions.

    ADRs of Qudian (green) and China Rapid Finance (blue) fell as much as 20 percent, with Hexindai (red) and Yirendai also dropping...

    Adding to the pain, state-backed business publication Yicai Global earlier said Qudian suffered a data leak related to millions of student users, citing a Nov. 20 article from local media outlet Yibencaijing.

    *  *  *

    Once again the greedy, make-a-quick-buck, what-could-go-wrong, US equity market investor is left holding the bag... Will they ever learn?

  • “Foundation For A Rebound?” – Gold Jumps Above Key Technical Level On Heavy Volume

    The last 3 days have been 'nosiy' in precious metals markets with gold swinging from the best day in 5 months to the worst day in 4 months and now to another high volume surge, breaking the barbarous relic back its 100-day moving-average...

    It sems the 100DMA is a key level with heavy volume being used to push gold futures around it.

    UBS asks "Is gold establishing a foundation for a rebound?"

    Gold longs rebuild while shorts continue to hesitate

    Gold is holding reasonably well near the highs of the range established in the past couple of months. A few macro factors have been supportive of late: the pullback in the dollar, a pause in the rise in US nominal and real rates particularly on the long end, consolidation in equities, and political and fiscal uncertainty in the US. Latest political headlines out of Europe are probably helping at the margins, although currency moves could complicate the impact. Stepping back from near-term developments, it's worth noting that the gold market's correction and subsequent consolidation has generally been orderly. The relatively measured unwinding of positions on Comex from the year's highs reached in September is a reflection of this. Latest CFTC data shows that gold net long positions have been tentatively rebuilding over the past couple of weeks; at 22.33moz, market net length looks relatively lean around 60% of the all-time high, albeit still higher than the 12-month average around 17 moz. The recent build in net positioning was mainly due to gains in gross longs. Although gold shorts increased for the first time in four weeks as of November  14, volumes were very modest.

    Gold resilience helps position the market for a rebound up ahead

    A combination of resilient longs and hesitant shorts has helped gold form a decent base and enabled prices to climb above some support levels, improving the overall technical picture. As we have previously noted, we think gold's resilience is in large part due to lingering uncertainty; although macro risks in general are perceived to be lower, there is an acknowledgment that known unknowns and unknown unknowns continue to lurk. Additionally, some seasonal demand is likely also keep gold supported. Bits and pieces of interest are evident out of China, although there seems to be no urgency to stock up for the Lunar New Year holidays which will occur later in February this time around. Market participants have also indicated a preference to hold off until after the FOMC December meeting is out of the way. We think gold's performance of late and the prospect for further seasonal demand to kick in – albeit with unexceptional volumes – should put gold in a reasonably healthy position for a rebound above $1300 towards the year-end through to early 2018.

  • Peso, Loonie Spike On Positive NAFTA News

    With NAFTA negotiations currently taking place, and NAFTA currencies very sensitive to every headline, both the Peso and Loonie suddenly spiked on a Bloomberg headline that suggests that talks just may be progessing in a favorable fashion: NAFTA DEAL ...

  • “It’s A Designed Cover-Up” – Powerful Democratic Congressman John Conyers Sexually Harassed Staffers

    Last week, we reported how Congress’s Office of Compliance paid out $17 million for 264 settlements with federal employees over 20 years for various violations, including sexual harassment – information that was brought to light by California Rep. Jackie Speiers, who claimed that two men with a history of sexual harassment continued to serve in the House – one of whom was a Republican and one a Democrat.

    Now, thanks to Buzzfeed News, the mystery Democrat has been identified as Michigan Rep. John Conyers, the ranking member on the powerful House Judiciary Committee and the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives. In 2014, a former Conyers staffer filed a complaint claiming she was fired for refusing his sexual advances, and that she had been subsequently blackballed from working with Congress.

    The woman received a $30,000 settlement, which was paid out of Conyers’s taxpayer-funded office budget.

    The woman who settled with Conyers launched the complaint with the Office of Compliance in 2014, alleging she was fired for refusing his sexual advances, and ended up facing a daunting process that ended with a confidentiality agreement in exchange for a settlement of more than $27,000. Her settlement, however, came from Conyers’ office budget rather than the designated fund for settlements.

     

    Congress has no human resources department. Instead, congressional employees have 180 days to report a sexual harassment incident to the Office of Compliance, which then leads to a lengthy process that involves counseling and mediation, and requires the signing of a confidentiality agreement before a complaint can go forward.

     

    After this an employee can choose to take the matter to federal district court, but another avenue is available: an administrative hearing, after which a negotiation and settlement may follow.

    A law clerk who represented the woman, who was not named by Buzzfeed and has never come forward with her story, said the settlement process was like “being abused twice” for the poor woman.  In the settlement papers, other staffers in Conyers’ office discuss acting as couriers who transported women with who Conyers was allegedly having affairs.

    The process was “disgusting,” said Matthew Peterson, who worked as a law clerk representing the complainant, and who listed as a signatory to some of the documents.

     

    “It is a designed cover-up,” said Peterson, who declined to discuss details of the case but agreed to characterize it in general terms. “You feel like they were betrayed by their government just for coming forward. It’s like being abused twice."

     

    Other lawyers named as representing the accuser could not be reached for comment. The Office of Compliance did not confirm or deny that it had dealt with the case.

    The documents were first provided to BuzzFeed News by Mike Cernovich, who said he gave the documents to BuzzFeed News for vetting and further reporting, and because he said if he published them himself, Democrats and congressional leaders would “try to discredit the story by attacking the messenger.” He provided them without conditions. BuzzFeed News independently confirmed the authenticity of the documents with four people directly involved with the case, including the accuser.

    In a series of tweets published last night, Cernovich explained why he leaked the story to Buzzfeed, and also blamed House Speaker Paul Ryan for covering up Conyers’ harassment.

     

    Congressman John Conyers is a sexual predator, and Paul Ryan covered it all up https://t.co/rHAzX4Hevo

    — Mike Cernovich ???????? (@Cernovich) November 21, 2017

     

     

    Twitter manually removed John Conyers name, which had 50K tweets (way more than other trends), from the trending section! They are literally covering up for a rapist.

    — Mike Cernovich ???????? (@Cernovich) November 21, 2017

     

    In her wrongful dismissal complaint, the former employee said Conyers repeatedly asked her for sexual favors and often asked her to join him in a hotel room. On one occasion, she alleges that Conyers asked her to work out of his room for the evening, but when she arrived the congressman started talking about his sexual desires. She alleged he then told her she needed to “touch it,” in reference to his penis, or find him a woman who would meet his sexual demands.

    As Buzzfeed pointed out, Congress has no human resources department. Instead, congressional employees have 180 days to report a sexual harassment incident to the Office of Compliance, which then leads to a lengthy process that involves counseling and mediation, and requires the signing of a confidentiality agreement before a complaint can go forward. After this, the complainant can choose to either pursue the matter in federal district court or seek a settlement through an administrative hearing.

    In the complaint, which is available in full below, the woman alleges that Conyers sexually harassed her by asking her to touch his penis, or find another woman who would meet his sexual demands. Conyers also made her work nights, weekends and holidays on occasion to “keep him company.”

    In her complaint, the former employee said Conyers repeatedly asked her for sexual favors and often asked her to join him in a hotel room. On one occasion, she alleges that Conyers asked her to work out of his room for the evening, but when she arrived the congressman started talking about his sexual desires. She alleged he then told her she needed to “touch it,” in reference to his penis, or find him a woman who would meet his sexual demands. She alleged Conyers made her work nights, evenings, and holidays to keep him company.

     

    In another incident, the former employee alleged the congressman insisted she stay in his room while they traveled together for a fundraising event. When she told him that she would not stay with him, she alleged he told her to “just cuddle up with me and caress me before you go.”

     

    “Rep. Conyers strongly postulated that the performing of personal service or favors would be looked upon favorably and lead to salary increases or promotions,” the former employee said in the documents.

    Three other staff members provided affidavits submitted to the Office Of Compliance that outlined a pattern of behavior from Conyers that included touching the woman in a sexual manner and growing angry when she brought her husband around.

     

    One affidavit from a former female employee states that she was tasked with flying in women for the congressman. “One of my duties while working for Rep. Conyers was to keep a list of women that I assumed he was having affairs with and call them at his request and, if necessary, have them flown in using Congressional resources,” said her affidavit. (A second staffer alleged in an interview that Conyers used taxpayer resources to fly women to him.)

    One male employee who corroborated the victim’s claims in an affidavit said he witnessed Conyers touch his staffers in an inappropriate, sexual manner. The women in his office said it was widely known that Conyers had sexual relationships with his staff, something the women felt undermined their credibility.

    The employee said in her affidavit that Conyers also made sexual advances toward her: “I was driving the Congressman in my personal car and was resting my hand on the stick shift. Rep. Conyers reached over and began to caress my hand in a sexual manner.”

     

    The woman said she told Conyers she was married and not interested in pursuing a sexual relationship, according to the affidavit. She said she was told many times by constituents that it was well-known that Conyers had sexual relationships with his staff, and said she and other female staffers felt this undermined their credibility.

     

    “I am personally aware of several women who have experienced the same or similar sexual advances made towards them by Rep[.] John Conyers,” she said in her affidavit.

     

    A male employee wrote that he witnessed Rep. Conyers rub the legs and other body parts of the complainant “in what appeared to be a sexual manner” and saw the congressman rub and touch other women “in an inappropriate manner.” The employee said he confronted Conyers about this behavior.

     

    “Rep. Conyers said he needed to be ‘more careful’ because bad publicity would not be helpful as he runs for re-election. He ended the conversation with me by saying he would ‘work on’ his behavior,” the male staffer said in his affidavit.

    One reason Conyers’ staffers tolerated his behavior, as Buzzfeed points out, was the Congressman’s status as a civil rights icon, something his staffers believed insulated him from criticism. He is also incredibly popular among his constituents in Detroir.

    Conyers is a civil rights icon. He was lauded by Martin Luther King Jr. and is a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

     

    “Your story won’t do shit to him,” said the staffer. “He’s untouchable.”

    Representatives for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and former Speaker John Boehner said both lawmakers were unaware of the settlements because of the confidentiality agreements. Paul Ryan’s office didn’t return Buzzfeed’s request for comment.

    To help rectify Congress’s broken system, Rep. Speiers has introduced legislation to overhaul the complaint process, including requiring the Office of Compliance to publicly name the office of any member who enters into a settlement. The bill would also allow complainants to waive mediation and counseling, set up a victims' counsel, and require all congressional offices to go through harassment training every year.

    In the meantime, we imagine this won’t be the last bombshell disclosure implicating a high-ranking member of Congress. Indeed, if recent trends are any guide, it’s only a matter of time, we believe, before the Republican whom Speiers alluded to is unmasked.

    Read the complaint in its entirety below:

     

    2017.11.21buzzfeed by zerohedge on Scribd