The Kids No Longer Love Obama. Who Can Blame Them?

Writes Nick Gillespie:

A new Quinnipiac Poll finds that only 36 percent of voters
between the ages of 18 and 29 approve of the job the president is
doing while fully 54 percent of the kids give him the thumbs down
(10 percent didn’t know or care enough to respond to the topic).
Back in March 2009, 62 percent of 18 to 29 years
approved, compared to just 20 percent disapproving.

Millennials may be young, but they’re not stupid. As bad as
Obama’s time in office has been for older
Americans, nobody has taken it on the chin quite as bad
as kids under 30, who are more likely to be unemployed, broke,
and facing decades of sub-par wages if and when they do finally get
a job.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/25/the-kids-no-longer-love-obama-who-can-bl
via IFTTT

What Bubble? NASDAQ Rises Above 4,000, Back To Year 2000, Dot-Com Bubble Levels

Nope, no bubble here… and no complacency either. And while just like last time, the tech companies still have no profits, at least this time they have revenues… most of which originate from the seemingly infinite advertising budgets at struggling discretionary retailers. By way of gentle reminder – In 2000, total US debt was $5.7 trillion. Now it is three times greater, or $17.2 trillion. As Kyle Bass once warned, “we are right back there! The brevity of financial memory is about two years.”

 


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/ux3E6mjcPRM/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Walmart's Now Ex-CEO To Pocket $113 Million Pension, 6182 Times Greater Than Average WMT Worker's 401(k) Balance

Remember when Hank Paulson grudgingly left Goldman to become Treasury Secretary? As was disclosed subsequently, the move may have been ungrudging in retrospect due to a very specific ulterior motive: in July 2006, Henry Paulson liquidated 3.23 million shares of Goldman in a one time public sale. At the then GS stock price of $152 this meant a one time gain of $491 million. But not just $491 million – $491 million tax free. The reason: In 1989, the government created a one-time loophole for select high level positions to “help attract highly talented professionals away from the private sector.” Thanks to the loophole, the candidate could liquidate their entire portfolio without paying a dime in capital gains taxes. Without this loophole, had Henry sold his shares at the exact same price and time, he would have been liable for more than $200 million worth of state and Federal capital gains taxes.

Moments ago, as we reported, the CEO of Walmart, Mike Duke, retired. And while he will hardly pocket quite as much as Hank Paulson, since unlike Hank the Tank he will be subject to taxation, his departure may raise even more eyebrows as his retirement package, to which he is now entitled, is a whopping $113 million, or about 6,182 times greater than the average 401(k) balance of a typical Wal-Mart worker according to a NerdWallet analysis. Naturally, this is orders of magnitude greater than the already debatable ratio of CEO compensation, which was $20.7 million in 2012, or about 305 times more than the average Walmart manager, and 836 more than the take home of the median Walmart worker.

NerdWallet’s take below:

These pension plans, which typically consist of non-qualified retirement plans, are offered at the company’s discretion and are reserved for top executives. CEOs often defer receiving their multimillion-dollar cash bonuses till their retirement years, storing the cash away in a retirement plan that typically allows them to pay lower taxes once they draw on the money.

 

A key factor behind massive CEO pensions is CEO total annual compensation, which typically consists of cash bonuses and stock options awards. In September, the SEC proposed rules requiring publicly traded companies to disclose the ratio of their CEO’s compensation to the median compensation of all other employees. While the rule is currently undergoing a 60-day public comment period, NerdWallet Taxes has calculated the pay gap ratio between CEOs and non-executive employees, which include managers and non-managers.

 

Walmart’s CEO tops the list with a pension that is more than 6,000 times larger than the non-executive employee’s average 401(k) balance of $18,000, according to Walmart’s latest January 2013 figures available from financial information company BrightScope. Walmart’s employee 401(k) plan was valued at $18.1 billion, but covered roughly 1 million employees, the highest in our sample.

WMT discussed this previously, when Walmart spokesperson Brooke Buchanan told HuffPo he took issue with the study’s description of Duke’s retirement package as a pension, noting that it is technically a deferred compensation plan that accrues over time.

“Our CEO has been with us since 1996, and so [the compensation package] is obviously something that’s been acquired over many years,” Buchanan said.

 

“We are the world’s largest retailer, and this [the CEO job] is a pretty tough job,” Buchanan said. “We want to make sure the right person is in that job. We have a responsibility to our shareholders to have the right people in the job.”

And now that the CEO has had enough of doing his tough job, Mike will have much more time to work on practicing his smile.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/rFjeHAJtnMw/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Walmart’s Now Ex-CEO To Pocket $113 Million Pension, 6182 Times Greater Than Average WMT Worker’s 401(k) Balance

Remember when Hank Paulson grudgingly left Goldman to become Treasury Secretary? As was disclosed subsequently, the move may have been ungrudging in retrospect due to a very specific ulterior motive: in July 2006, Henry Paulson liquidated 3.23 million shares of Goldman in a one time public sale. At the then GS stock price of $152 this meant a one time gain of $491 million. But not just $491 million – $491 million tax free. The reason: In 1989, the government created a one-time loophole for select high level positions to “help attract highly talented professionals away from the private sector.” Thanks to the loophole, the candidate could liquidate their entire portfolio without paying a dime in capital gains taxes. Without this loophole, had Henry sold his shares at the exact same price and time, he would have been liable for more than $200 million worth of state and Federal capital gains taxes.

Moments ago, as we reported, the CEO of Walmart, Mike Duke, retired. And while he will hardly pocket quite as much as Hank Paulson, since unlike Hank the Tank he will be subject to taxation, his departure may raise even more eyebrows as his retirement package, to which he is now entitled, is a whopping $113 million, or about 6,182 times greater than the average 401(k) balance of a typical Wal-Mart worker according to a NerdWallet analysis. Naturally, this is orders of magnitude greater than the already debatable ratio of CEO compensation, which was $20.7 million in 2012, or about 305 times more than the average Walmart manager, and 836 more than the take home of the median Walmart worker.

NerdWallet’s take below:

These pension plans, which typically consist of non-qualified retirement plans, are offered at the company’s discretion and are reserved for top executives. CEOs often defer receiving their multimillion-dollar cash bonuses till their retirement years, storing the cash away in a retirement plan that typically allows them to pay lower taxes once they draw on the money.

 

A key factor behind massive CEO pensions is CEO total annual compensation, which typically consists of cash bonuses and stock options awards. In September, the SEC proposed rules requiring publicly traded companies to disclose the ratio of their CEO’s compensation to the median compensation of all other employees. While the rule is currently undergoing a 60-day public comment period, NerdWallet Taxes has calculated the pay gap ratio between CEOs and non-executive employees, which include managers and non-managers.

 

Walmart’s CEO tops the list with a pension that is more than 6,000 times larger than the non-executive employee’s average 401(k) balance of $18,000, according to Walmart’s latest January 2013 figures available from financial information company BrightScope. Walmart’s employee 401(k) plan was valued at $18.1 billion, but covered roughly 1 million employees, the highest in our sample.

WMT discussed this previously, when Walmart spokesperson Brooke Buchanan told HuffPo he took issue with the study’s description of Duke’s retirement package as a pension, noting that it is technically a deferred compensation plan that accrues over time.

“Our CEO has been with us since 1996, and so [the compensation package] is obviously something that’s been acquired over many years,” Buchanan said.

 

“We are the world’s largest retailer, and this [the CEO job] is a pretty tough job,” Buchanan said. “We want to make sure the right person is in that job. We have a responsibility to our shareholders to have the right people in the job.”

And now that the CEO has had enough of doing his tough job, Mike will have much more time to work on practicing his smile.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/rFjeHAJtnMw/story01.htm Tyler Durden

"We've Been Conditioned Over The Years To Trust Paper Money"

Today’s AM fix was USD 1,231.75, EUR 911.60 and GBP 760.57 per ounce.
Friday’s AM fix was USD 1,241.75, EUR 918.59 and GBP 766.75 per ounce

Download our eBook: 10 Important Points To Consider Before You Buy Gold

Gold remained unchanged Friday, closing at $1,243.20/oz. Silver slipped $0.12 or 0.6% closing at $19.87/oz. Platinum fell $5.50 or 0.4% to $1,437.74/oz, while palladium dropped $6.50 or 0.9% to $729.72/oz. Gold and silver both fell on the week at 3.46% and 4.24% respectively.


Gold in U.S. Dollars, 1 Day – (Bloomberg)

Gold initially ticked slightly higher in Asia overnight after the U.S., China, Russia, the UK, France and Germany reached an agreement with Iran yesterday to limit Iran’s nuclear programme. The agreement allows for the easing of sanctions on trading gold with Iran. This has prevented Iran from diversifying into gold in recent months.

Two hours into trading and gold was slightly higher at $1,244.50/oz. However, gold prices then came under pressure, with more concentrated, significant sell orders commencing at exactly 0600 GMT. Sharp, concentrated selling took place which pushed gold prices from $1,238/oz to $1,225 or $13 in less than two minutes. Interestingly, a volume buyer then stepped in and gold then bounced higher to $1,233/oz.

The detente with Iran is not as bearish for gold as is thought. While the threat of any imminent conflict with Iran has eased in the short term, the move allows Iran to begin accumulating gold again – another source of significant sovereign demand.

There is also still risks of a military confrontation in the region. Israel and Saudi Arabia were extremely opposed to the deal and significant tensions remain in the powder keg that is the Middle East.

On Friday, gold managed to close with a slight gain, but that didn’t stop prices from suffering their biggest weekly loss in 10 weeks – down 3.4%. Gold’s falls came amid peculiar trading on the COMEX last week which saw COMEX suspend trading twice on Wednesday. The incessant speculative chatter over possible, but unlikely, tapering of the Federal Reserve’s debt monetisation programme continues.

DEMAND IN CHINA remains robust as seen in Shanghai gold premiums. Closing wholesale premiums continue to strengthen, gold closed at a $33 premium at $1,265.69 (see table below) today, up from a $11.25 premium at $1,265.69/oz on Friday.


Gold Prices / Fixes / Rates / Vols – (Bloomberg)

The Shanghai Gold Exchange saw ‘recorded deliveries’ of 17.950 tonnes bringing November totals to 216.018 tonnes. Gold deliveries on the SGE are headed for another extremely large delivery month once settled as Chinese jewellers and bullion dealers stock up for Chinese New Year.

LATEST CFTC DATA from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed hedge funds got increasingly bearish on gold, with speculators scaling back exposure after the most aggressive pullback in positioning since March 2012 the week prior. Net longs on gold dropped to the lowest level in four months.

COMEX warehouse activity was interesting Friday as physical silver bullion saw very significant movement in COMEX warehouses. 2,554,353 troy ounces were received and 18,335 troy ounces shipped out.  HSBC USA was the large recipient of 1.954 million ounces of silver.

JOHN PAULSON, hedge fund billionaire recently told his clients that he won’t invest any more of his own money in his gold fund, owing to an uncertainty over when inflation will accelerate. Paulson’s PFR Gold Fund is reportedly down 63% year-to-date.

It is important to note that Paulson is not selling his gold and is maintaining his very large position in gold which is a vote of confidence by one of the largest investors in the world.


Gold in U.S. Dollars, 5 Days – (Bloomberg)

GOLDCORE’S MARK O’BYRNE was interviewed by the SGT Report over the weekend and the video has just been released and can be viewed here .

“We have these huge fundamental factors that should be contributing to higher gold (and silver) prices, and that’s why many people are scratching their heads and asking ‘why isn’t this happening?’”

“We’re down about 25% year to date despite these strong fundamentals.”

Mark explains how for 53 years the Chinese people were banned from owning gold. But that all changed in 2003, and now the enormous demand by 1.3 billion Chinese over the last ten years is causing a paradigm shift, as gold and silver moves from the West to the East.

He says how silver remains very undervalued and will likely reach its inflation adjusted high of $140/oz in the coming years.

Silver remains a tiny market with all above ground refined silver in the world at roughly 1 billion ounces for a total valuation of less than $20 billion at today’s prices.

Therefore, all the silver in the world is worth less than the total market capitalisation of one tech darling, Twitter. It is worth less than the  total market capitalisation of Tesla.

All the investment grade silver in the world, is worth roughly what the Federal Reserve prints in one week – $19.6 billion. Incredibly, at $85 billion per month, the Federal Reserve is printing money and buying its own debt to the tune of $19.6 billion a week – “mind boggling”.

As for the race to debase and the manipulation of precious metal prices, Mark says, “They can mess around with the price all they want, ultimately the price of everything in the long term will be dictated by supply and demand, particularly for a physical commodity like gold.”

VIDEO: “China’s Insatiable Demand For GOLD Causing PARADIGM SHIFT”

Click Gold News For This Week’s Breaking Gold And Silver News
Click Gold and Silver Commentary For This Week’s Leading Gold, Silver Opinion
Like Our YouTube Page For The Latest Insights, Documentaries and Interviews
Like Our Facebook Page For Interesting Insights, Blogs, Prizes and Special Offers  


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/ISpuQigfz-U/story01.htm GoldCore

“We’ve Been Conditioned Over The Years To Trust Paper Money”

Today’s AM fix was USD 1,231.75, EUR 911.60 and GBP 760.57 per ounce.
Friday’s AM fix was USD 1,241.75, EUR 918.59 and GBP 766.75 per ounce

Download our eBook: 10 Important Points To Consider Before You Buy Gold

Gold remained unchanged Friday, closing at $1,243.20/oz. Silver slipped $0.12 or 0.6% closing at $19.87/oz. Platinum fell $5.50 or 0.4% to $1,437.74/oz, while palladium dropped $6.50 or 0.9% to $729.72/oz. Gold and silver both fell on the week at 3.46% and 4.24% respectively.


Gold in U.S. Dollars, 1 Day – (Bloomberg)

Gold initially ticked slightly higher in Asia overnight after the U.S., China, Russia, the UK, France and Germany reached an agreement with Iran yesterday to limit Iran’s nuclear programme. The agreement allows for the easing of sanctions on trading gold with Iran. This has prevented Iran from diversifying into gold in recent months.

Two hours into trading and gold was slightly higher at $1,244.50/oz. However, gold prices then came under pressure, with more concentrated, significant sell orders commencing at exactly 0600 GMT. Sharp, concentrated selling took place which pushed gold prices from $1,238/oz to $1,225 or $13 in less than two minutes. Interestingly, a volume buyer then stepped in and gold then bounced higher to $1,233/oz.

The detente with Iran is not as bearish for gold as is thought. While the threat of any imminent conflict with Iran has eased in the short term, the move allows Iran to begin accumulating gold again – another source of significant sovereign demand.

There is also still risks of a military confrontation in the region. Israel and Saudi Arabia were extremely opposed to the deal and significant tensions remain in the powder keg that is the Middle East.

On Friday, gold managed to close with a slight gain, but that didn’t stop prices from suffering their biggest weekly loss in 10 weeks – down 3.4%. Gold’s falls came amid peculiar trading on the COMEX last week which saw COMEX suspend trading twice on Wednesday. The incessant speculative chatter over possible, but unlikely, tapering of the Federal Reserve’s debt monetisation programme continues.

DEMAND IN CHINA remains robust as seen in Shanghai gold premiums. Closing wholesale premiums continue to strengthen, gold closed at a $33 premium at $1,265.69 (see table below) today, up from a $11.25 premium at $1,265.69/oz on Friday.


Gold Prices / Fixes / Rates / Vols – (Bloomberg)

The Shanghai Gold Exchange saw ‘recorded deliveries’ of 17.950 tonnes bringing November totals to 216.018 tonnes. Gold deliveries on the SGE are headed for another extremely large delivery month once settled as Chinese jewellers and bullion dealers stock up for Chinese New Year.

LATEST CFTC DATA from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed hedge funds got increasingly bearish on gold, with speculators scaling back exposure after the most aggressive pullback in positioning since March 2012 the week prior. Net longs on gold dropped to the lowest level in four months.

COMEX warehouse activity was interesting Friday as physical silver bullion saw very significant movement in COMEX warehouses. 2,554,353 troy ounces were received and 18,335 troy ounces shipped out.  HSBC USA was the large recipient of 1.954 million ounces of silver.

JOHN PAULSON, hedge fund billionaire recently told his clients that he won’t invest any more of his own money in his gold fund, owing to an uncertainty over when inflation will accelerate. Paulson’s PFR Gold Fund is reportedly down 63% year-to-date.

It is important to note that Paulson is not selling his gold and is maintaining his very large position in gold which is a vote of confidence by one of the largest investors in the world.


Gold in U.S. Dollars, 5 Days – (Bloomberg)

GOLDCORE’S MARK O’BYRNE was interviewed by the SGT Report over the weekend and the video has just been released and can be viewed here .

“We have these huge fundamental factors that should be contributing to higher gold (and silver) prices, and that’s why many people are scratching their heads and asking ‘why isn’t this happening?’”

“We’re down about 25% year to date despite these strong fundamentals.”

Mark explains how for 53 years the Chinese people were banned from owning gold. But that all changed in 2003, and now the enormous demand by 1.3 billion Chinese over the last ten years is causing a paradigm shift, as gold and silver moves from the West to the East.

He says how silver remains very undervalued and will likely reach its inflation adjusted high of $140/oz in the coming years.

Silver remains a tiny market with all above ground refined silver in the world at roughly 1 billion ounces for a total valuation of less than $20 billion at today’s prices.

Therefore, all the silver in the world is worth less than the total market capitalisation of one tech darling, Twitter. It is worth less than the  total market capitalisation of Tesla.

All the investment grade silver in the world, is worth roughly what the Federal Reserve prints in one week – $19.6 billion. Incredibly, at $85 billion per month, the Federal Reserve is printing money and buying its own debt to the tune of $19.6 billion a week – “mind boggling”.

As for the race to debase and the manipulation of precious metal prices, Mark says, “They can mess around with the price all they want, ultimately the price of everything in the long term will be dictated by supply and demand, particularly for a physical commodity like gold.”

VIDEO: “China’s Insatiable Demand For GOLD Causing PARADIGM SHIFT”

Click Gold News For This Week’s Breaking Gold And Silver News
Click Gold and Silver Commentary For This Week’s Leading Gold, Silver Opinion
Like Our YouTube Page For The Latest Insights, Documentaries and Interviews
Like Our Facebook Page For Interesting Insights, Blogs, Prizes and Special Offers  


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/ISpuQigfz-U/story01.htm GoldCore

Guest Post: Inflation Is Raging – If You Know Where To Look

Submitted by John Rubino via Dollar Collapse blog,

Most people – certainly most governments and economists – define inflation as a general rise in prices. But this is wrong. Inflation is an increase in the money supply, of which a rising general price level is just one possible result – and not the most common one.

More often, excessive money creation shows up as asset bubbles, where the new money, instead of flowing equally to all the products that are for sale at a given time, flow disproportionately into the ‘hottest’ asset classes. Readers who were paying attention in the 1990s might recall that the consumer price index was well-behaved while huge amounts of money flowed into financial assets, producing the dot-com bubble.

The same thing happened in the 2000s, when excess currency flowed into housing and equities. In each case, mainstream economists and government officials pointed to modest consumer price inflation as a sign that things were fine. And in each case they were simply looking in the wrong place and completely missing the destabilizing effects of an inflating money supply.

Now we’re at it again, with economists, legislators and central bankers using low consumer price inflation as a rationale for even easier money, while ignoring epic bubbles in sovereign bonds, equities, high-end real estate and collectibles around the world. These bubbles are the true evidence of inflation, and since they’re growing progressively larger, it’s accurate to say that inflation is high and accelerating. Let’s take some exotic examples, first from the art world:

Art prices painting a disturbing picture of inflation

The Francis Bacon painting “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” was sold for a whopping $142.4 million as part of a $691.6 million Christie’s sale on Tuesday night, making it the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction.

 

Some argue that the sale is giving us a message about inflation that investors aren’t getting from the action in gold, the Dollar Index, or the government’s official consumer price index data.

 

“Asset inflation took another leg higher last night,” wrote Peter Boockvar in a Wednesday morning note. “Thank you Federal Reserve, and thank you Bureau of Labor Statistics for not including art in the consumer price index.”

And this from…would you call it the jewelry world?:

Most expensive diamond ever sold goes for $83.2M

Sotheby’s just dropped the hammer on the most expensive diamond ever sold. The stone, a 59.6-carat flawless pink diamond called the “Pink Star,” was auctioned for $83.2 million, according to Sotheby’s. That made it the most expensive jewel or diamond ever sold at auction.

The previous record for a diamond sold at auction was $46 million, for a 24.68-carat pink diamond bought by Laurence Graff in 2010. The auction follows yesterday’s Christie’s sale of the largest fancy-vivid orange diamond known to exist, a 14.82-carat stone that sold for $36 million—the highest price-per-carat ever paid at auction.

Now, if the super-rich are going to covert their paper currency into tangible things – at a time when governments around the world are contemplating wealth taxes – they need safe, confidential storage. And the market is responding:

Über-warehouses for the ultra-rich

PASSENGERS at Findel airport in Luxembourg may have noticed a cluster of cranes a few hundred yards from the runway. The structure being erected looks fairly unremarkable (though it will eventually be topped with striking hexagonal skylights). Along its side is a line of loading bays, suggesting it could be intended as a spillover site for the brimming cargo terminal nearby. This new addition to one of Europe’s busiest air-freight hubs will not hold any old goods, however. It will soon be home to billions of dollars’ worth of fine art and other treasures, much of which will have been whisked straight from collectors’ private jets along a dedicated road linking the runway to the warehouse.

The world’s rich are increasingly investing in expensive stuff, and “freeports” such as Luxembourg’s are becoming their repositories of choice. Their attractions are similar to those offered by offshore financial centres: security and confidentiality, not much scrutiny, the ability for owners to hide behind nominees, and an array of tax advantages. This special treatment is possible because goods in freeports are technically in transit, even if in reality the ports are used more and more as permanent homes for accumulated wealth. If anyone knows how to game the rules, it is the super-rich and their advisers.

Because of the confidentiality, the value of goods stashed in freeports is unknowable. It is thought to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars, and rising. Though much of what lies within is perfectly legitimate, the protection offered from prying eyes ensures that they appeal to kleptocrats and tax-dodgers as well as plutocrats. Freeports have been among the beneficiaries as undeclared money has fled offshore bank accounts as a result of tax-evasion crackdowns in America and Europe.

Parallel fiscal universe

Freeports are something of a fiscal no-man’s-land. The “free” refers to the suspension of customs duties and taxes. This benefit may have been originally intended as temporary, while goods were in transit, but for much of the stored wealth it is, in effect, permanent, as there is no time limit: a painting can be flown in from another country and stored for decades without attracting a levy. Better still, sales of goods in freeports generally incur no value-added or capital-gains taxes. These are (technically) payable in the destination country when an item leaves this parallel fiscal universe, but by then it may have changed hands several times.

Some thoughts
Clearly, inflation is raging. But because so much of society’s wealth is flowing to the top 1% — who after all can only drive one car at a time and tend to eat no more than the rest of us – inflation isn’t showing up in food, suburban houses or other mass-market products. Instead, trillions of disposable dollars are pouring into real assets that are then hoarded in mansions and high-end storage facilities. This is a truly startling asset grab when you think about it.

The one unique thing about this episode is that past migrations of capital from fi
nancial to tangible assets have included precious metals, which tend to be in demand when paper currencies are being mismanaged. That gold and silver aren’t participating is the strongest proof yet that they’re being manipulated to hide the impact of rising debt and excessive currency creation. After all, if you’re going to spend $100 million on art, your financial adviser will almost certainly tell you to diversify into farmland, oil wells and gold bars.

That this hasn’t happened doesn’t mean it won’t. Picture a chart tracking the tangible asset classes of the super-rich: art, jewelry, high-end London and Manhattan apartments, beachfront property, gold bullion, etc., the things that are exist in limited supply and continue to exist no matter what the S&P 500 or 10-year Treasuries are doing. Virtually all the lines on that chart would would be looking parabolic right about now – except precious metals. A billionaire, trying to figure out where to move his next hundred mil would look at this chart and see one outlier, one thing that hasn’t yet gone through the roof, and make the obvious choice. That day is coming.

But looked at another way – in terms of the amount of paper currency being used to buy them – you could say that gold and silver are by far the most popular tangible assets in the world. China, India, and Russia between them have snapped up about 4,000 tons of gold this year, worth about $153 billion at the current price. That’s a lot more than was spent on art. It’s just that these purchases, massive though they are, aren’t moving the price.

But they are moving something: the gold reserves of the western central banks that are sending their gold eastward. They’re moving those down, at an unsustainable rate. So Western central banks face a tough choice: keep sending their gold to Asia until it’s gone, or let the super-rich bid it into the stratosphere in line with art and diamonds. Sooner or later, they’ll have to choose door number two.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/ayzQS6tHCbs/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Wal-Mart Stores CEO Gets The Boot As Do Blackberry COO And CMO

Yet another case of rodents departing a sinking ship as the pent up discrepancy between reality and future expectations means imminent scapegoating of executives for poor performance:

  • WAL-MART STORES NAMES DOUG MCMILLON CEO, SUCCEEDING MIKE DUKE 
  • BLACKBERRY SAYS ROGER MARTIN RESIGNS FROM BOARD
  • BLACKBERRY SAYS COO, MARKETING CHIEF TO LEAVE; REPLACES CFO

You decide… The press releases are mind-blowingly full of fluff.

 

BlackBerry Announces Management and Board Changes

BlackBerry, a world leader in mobile communications, today announced that as part of the on-going reorganization of BlackBerry, Kristian Tear, the Company’s Chief Operating Officer, and Frank Boulben, the Company’s Chief Marketing Officer, will leave the Company. BlackBerry also announced that James Yersh will replace Brian Bidulka as its Chief Financial Officer. Yersh, who has worked at BlackBerry since 2008, previously served as Senior Vice President, Controller and as the Company’s head of Compliance. Bidulka will stay  on as a special advisor to the CEO for the remainder of the fiscal year to assist with the transition.
 
“I thank Kristian and Frank for their efforts on behalf of BlackBerry. I look forward to working more directly with the talented teams of engineers, and the sales and marketing teams around the world to facilitate the BlackBerry turn-around and to drive innovation,” said John Chen, Executive Chair and CEO of BlackBerry. “I also thank Brian for his eight years of dedicated service to BlackBerry. I look forward to working with James and his Finance team as we move forward, execute on our plans and deliver long-term value for our shareholders.”
 
Chen added, “BlackBerry has a strong cash position and continues, by a significant margin, to be the top provider of trusted and secure mobile device management solutions to enterprise customers around the world. Building on this core strength, and in conjunction with these management changes, I will continue to align my senior management team and organizational structure, and refine the Company’s strategy to ensure we deliver the best devices, mobile security and device management through BES 10, provide multi-platform messaging solutions with BBM, and expand adoption of QNX embedded systems.”
 
BlackBerry also announced today that Roger Martin, a Board member since 2007, has resigned. “Our Board has benefitted from Roger’s expertise and insights over the past six years and we wish him the best,” said Barbara Stymiest, Board Member and Former Chair of the Board.
 
James Yersh has more than 15 years of experience in the technology and telecommunications industries. Yersh previously served as the Senior Vice President, Controller and head of Compliance for BlackBerry. Prior to joining BlackBerry in 2008, he held various senior positions at Cognos Incorporated and Deloitte.

 

 

Doug McMillon Elected New Chief Executive Officer of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Mike Duke retires as CEO after delivering strong financial performance and developing building blocks that position the company for continued success

Wal-Mart Stores today announced that its board of directors elected company veteran Doug McMillon, 47, to succeed Mike Duke, 63, as president and chief executive officer, effective February 1, 2014. McMillon was also elected to the company’s board of directors, effective immediately.

“This leadership change comes at a time of strength and growth at Walmart,” said Rob Walton, chairman of Walmart’s board of directors. “The company has the right strategy to serve the changing customer around the world, and Doug has been actively involved in this process. The company has a strong management team to execute that strategy.”

Walton continued, “Doug is uniquely positioned to lead our growing global company and to serve the changing customer, while remaining true to our culture and values. He has broad experience – with successful senior leadership roles in all of Walmart’s business segments – and a deep understanding of the economic, social and technological trends shaping our world. A merchant at heart, Doug has both a long history with our company and a keen sense of where our customers globally are heading next. He has also shown strong leadership on environmental sustainability and a commitment to using Walmart’s size and scale to make a difference in the lives of people, wherever they might be.”

“The opportunity to lead Walmart is a great privilege,” McMillon said. “Our company has a rich history of delivering value to customers across the globe and, as their needs grow and change, we will be there to serve them. Our management team is talented and experienced, and our strategy gives me confidence that our future is bright. By keeping our promise to customers, we will drive shareholder value, create opportunity for our associates and grow our business.”   

“Mike put in place the building blocks for the next generation Walmart and today the company is stronger, more global and more unified across all our stores, mobile and online,” said Walton.  “He also reinvigorated the productivity loop and delivered strong financial performance. During his tenure the company made critical investments in talent and technology to expand Walmart to even more customers globally and stepped up its progress on social and environmental issues.  Mike also has a strong commitment to diversity, and has been especially engaged in advancing women throughout organization. He set a tone at the top to never be satisfied, to always accelerate and do better, while remaining true to the culture that has been core to the company’s success.”

“This is a great company and it has been an honor to help advance Sam Walton’s vision of giving people around the world a better life,” said Duke. “Our associates make it all possible and I’ve learned so much from them. No matter where I traveled, our associates continued to inspire me with their commitment to living our values, serving our customers and taking care of each other.

Duke will continue serving as chairman of the executive committee of the board and, in the tradition of his predecessors, stay on as an advisor to McMillon for one year. The company plans to make an announcement on McMillon’s successor as CEO of Walmart International by the end of the fiscal year.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/qH-7cyejhCs/story01.htm Tyler Durden

A.M. Links: Congressional Republicans Not Fans of Iran Nuke Deal, Prosecutor Expected To Release Sandy Hook Police Report, Syria Peace Talks To Be Held Early Next Year


  • Congressional Republicans
    are not fans of the Iran nuclear deal
    announced over the weekend. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius
    has said that some European Union
    sanctions on Iran
    could be lifted next month.
  • The
    United Nations
    has announced that peace talks between the
    Syrian government and opposition groups will take place on January
    22, 2014 in Geneva.
  • A
    prosecutor
    is expected to release a report relating to last
    year’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School later today.
  • NSA Director
    Gen. Keith Alexander
    reportedly offered to resign after Edward
    Snowden began leaking classified information.
  • Microsoft sold one million
    Xbox One
    consoles within 24 hours of its release.
  • An
    Amtrak train
    partially derailed overnight in South Carolina,
    there are no reports of serious injuries.

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from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/25/am-links-congressional-republicans-not-f
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Katherine Mangu-Ward on the Death of Intrade

If you’ve heard of Intrade, you probably know
about the site’s impressive record predicting the outcome of the
last several U.S. presidential elections. Last November, traders at
the online prediction market correctly called every state except
Florida and Virginia. In 2008, Intrade missed Barack Obama’s final
Electoral College tally by just a single vote. Katherine Mangu-Ward
explains how the Intrade experiment—and much of the promise of
public prediction markets—was soon squashed by overzealous
regulators.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/25/katherine-mangu-ward-on-the-death-of-int
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