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New York Community Bancorp (NYCB) is facing renewed turmoil as it announced the departure of its CEO Thomas Cangemi, revealed significant weaknesses in its internal controls, and reported a massive increase in its fourth-quarter loss, which skyrocketed to $2.7 billion. These developments have severely impacted NYCB's stock, which plummeted 28% at the opening of the market on Friday, reaching its lowest point since 1996. This series of unfortunate events underscores the challenges the commercial real estate lender is grappling with, shaking investor confidence and highlighting the financial instability within the institution.
    Latest Inflation Data Shows Fed Has More Work to Do
Mar 1, 2024 - 07:54:25 PST
Loretta Mester, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, acknowledged in a Yahoo Finance interview that recent inflation data indicates the Federal Reserve still has significant efforts ahead to mitigate price pressures. Despite this, Mester remains optimistic about the Fed's ability to achieve its 2% inflation target over time and anticipates the Federal Reserve will lower interest rates three times this year. The latest data reveals a 0.4% increase in the Fed's preferred inflation measure in January, marking the quickest rise since early 2023. This uptick suggests that the cooling of inflation might not proceed as rapidly as last year, attributed to earlier improvements in supply chains and workforce expansion.
Inflation in the Eurozone slightly cooled to 2.6% in February, yet it remained above economists' expectations, signaling a persistent inflationary pressure within the economy. Despite anticipations of a decline, core inflation, which excludes volatile items such as energy, food, alcohol, and tobacco, also exceeded forecasts at 3.1%. Notably, food, alcohol, and tobacco prices led with a 4% inflation rate, closely followed by services at 3.9%. Meanwhile, energy prices continued their downward trend, albeit at a slower pace, influenced by the ongoing geopolitical tensions stemming from Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The following analysis breaks down the Fed balance sheet in detail. It shows different parts of the balance sheet and how those amounts have changed. It also shows historical interest rate trends. The analysis concludes that the resulting lack of Treasury demand is likely another reason Yellen is betting $2T on lower interest rates… she has to focus on the short-term of the curve to make sure the market can absorb the debt!
The situation couldn't get more bizarre at Nvidia when it released its results last week.  While the company reported record Q4 2023 earnings, there are some troubling signs behind the revenues that provided the profits.  This is only part of a series of very strange financial chip purchases with Nvidia....
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite surged to record highs in February, marking the best performance for the month in almost ten years. This rally was buoyed by investor reactions to a critical inflation report, signaling robust confidence in the market. The Nasdaq Composite experienced a significant upturn of 0.9% to close at 16,091.92, achieving its highest record close since November 2021. Concurrently, the S&P 500 advanced by 0.5%, reaching a new peak at 5,095.88. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also saw gains, albeit modest, increasing by 0.1%. This remarkable February performance for both the Nasdaq and S&P 500 was their most impressive since 2015, reflecting a positive investor sentiment amidst economic indicators.
Gold consumption over the extended Chinese New Year holiday in 2024 demonstrated a strong market appetite, reflecting a positive start to the year. Despite a vibrant start, expectations for the year suggest a more tempered outlook for gold jewelry demand, anticipated to grow but at a slower rate compared to 2023, owing primarily to a slowdown in economic expansion. Meanwhile, sales of bars and coins are expected to remain robust, although they may not achieve the remarkable growth seen in 2023.
Gold consumption over the extended Chinese New Year holiday in 2024 demonstrated a strong market appetite, reflecting a positive start to the year. Despite a vibrant start, expectations for the year suggest a more tempered outlook for gold jewelry demand, anticipated to grow but at a slower rate compared to 2023, owing primarily to a slowdown in economic expansion. Meanwhile, sales of bars and coins are expected to remain robust, although they may not achieve the remarkable growth seen in 2023.
Former Federal Reserve President Thomas Hoenig expressed surprise at the prospect of the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates three times in 2024, considering the current economic landscape. Speaking on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street," Hoenig suggested that, based on the resilience of the economy, persistent inflation above 3%, strong consumer spending, and low unemployment rates, one or two rate cuts would be more probable than three. His comments reflect skepticism about the need for such aggressive monetary policy easing given the economy's enduring strength.
On Thursday, the Commerce Department is set to release the January figures for the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, which is highly regarded by the Federal Reserve as a key measure of inflation. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones anticipate a monthly increase of 0.3% and a year-over-year rise of 2.4%. This upcoming release is drawing significant attention due to its potential implications for Federal Reserve policy decisions. Economist Mark Zandi has expressed concern that if the Federal Reserve maintains its current stringent economic policies, it could significantly risk the ongoing economic expansion. This report, often overlooked in the past, is now in the spotlight as investors and policymakers alike assess its impact on future monetary policy.
    Could the Chinese Yuan Overtake the US Dollar?
Feb 29, 2024 - 11:46:48 PST
The longstanding dominance of the US dollar in global markets is being challenged by the rising prominence of the Chinese Yuan. For years, the dollar's status as the world's reserve currency made it a cornerstone of international finance, but recent trends towards de-dollarization, spurred by high inflation and geopolitical tensions, have begun to erode its stability and prestige. In this climate, China is aggressively promoting the Yuan, positioning it as a formidable contender capable of reshaping global financial dynamics. This shift reflects broader changes in the economic landscape, where the potential for a new leading currency emerges amidst the complexities of international relations and economic policies.
The collapse of Chinese real estate giant Evergrande is being called, by some, China’s “Lehman Moment.” Whether or not it will be enough to trigger a cratering of China’s broader economy, it’s a massive reality check for a country that has transformed itself over the decades with unprecedentedly massive urbanization and economic growth. Evergrande, since its creation in 1996, has been at the forefront of that rise.
For the past 16 months, one of Wall Street's most trusted indicators for predicting recessions, the inverted yield curve, has been signaling a potential economic downturn. This phenomenon occurs when the interest rates on short-term bonds exceed those of long-term bonds, traditionally seen as a harbinger of recession. However, despite this alarm, the actual economic performance has remained robust, leaving analysts puzzled over the apparent contradiction. DataTrek Research highlights that while the inverted yield curve is a critical component in forecasting economic slowdowns, it is not the sole factor. The absence of other key recession indicators means that the economy has yet to fulfill all the traditional criteria for a downturn, suggesting that while caution is warranted, a recession is not yet a foregone conclusion.
The Billion-Dollar Sell-Off: This month, notable figures including Jeff Bezos, Leon Black, Jamie Dimon, and the Walton family have collectively divested $11 billion worth of their company shares, marking a first for some in this high-profile group. Do they know something we don't?
Harmony Gold, South Africa's largest gold miner by volume, has announced a record interim dividend following a significant increase in both gold production and profits for the six-month period ending in December. The company's strategic operations, including the enhancement of mine grades and the augmentation of gold output, have culminated in a 35% revenue boost and a remarkable 220% surge in net profit to nearly 6 billion rand. With a 14% increase in gold production, totaling approximately 832,000 ounces during this period, and an anticipated annual output of about 1.48 million ounces, Harmony has found success in some of the world's most challenging mining conditions.
In January, inflation rates aligned with expectations, spotlighting the Federal Reserve's key inflation metric as it contemplates interest rate adjustments. The core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, rose by 0.4% for the month and 2.8% from the previous year, matching Dow Jones consensus estimates. This follows a modest 0.1% monthly increase in December, with a yearly rise of 2.9%. The overall PCE index, including food and energy, saw a 0.3% monthly increase and a 2.4% rise on a year-over-year basis, as anticipated.
Join Mike Maloney and Alan Hibbard in this insightful discussion on the performance of precious metals versus mining stocks.
Even as central banks buy more gold than ever, coin premiums have been driven lower throughout the retail precious metals market. One of the big factors: is disappointing sales from the US Mint.
Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman has expressed a stance of caution regarding the adjustment of U.S. interest rates, emphasizing the ongoing risks of inflation that might undermine the progress in stabilizing prices. In her speech prepared for a Florida Bankers Association event in Miami, Bowman highlighted her expectation that inflation would continue to decrease if the policy rate remains unchanged. She stressed the importance of a careful approach towards any future policy changes, signaling no immediate inclination towards cutting interest rates due to the potential inflationary risks.
Morgan Stanley's chief US economist, Ellen Zentner, says a hard-landing recession for the US economy is basically guaranteed. Zentner says the full impacts of the Federal Reserve's tightening hadn't been fully felt in the economy. It could take 18 months after the last rate hike to feel the full weight of higher rates.