Spectre of 1929 crash looms over FTSE 100 as traders take on record debts

Margin debt at record high

 

The spectre of the 1929 stock market crash looms large for UK investors as traders borrow record amounts to invest in rising stock markets

Nothing has been learnt from the madness of the 1929 stock market crash as once again traders reach for record amounts of debt to pile into rising share prices.

The level of margin debt that traders are using to buy shares in the stock market reached the highest levels on record, according the latest data from the New York stock exchange. Continue reading

The Hegemony over Southeast Europe

BERLIN/BELGRADE (Own report) -The “Western Balkans Conference”, opening in Berlin today, is overshadow [sic] by the dispute over sanctions against Russia and criticism of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND). Serbia, a participant in the conference, has declared, it will not join the EU’s sanctions. Serbian enterprises are therefore not affected by Russian countermeasures and are even replacing agricultural products, whose importation from the EU has been banned by Moscow. The German government is attempting to prevent this. Berlin, in turn, has been forced to admit that, for years, the BND had systematically spied on Albania. Albania, Germany’s NATO ally, will also attend the conference. Berlin has initiated the “Western Balkans Conference” to shore up the hegemony over Southeast Europe, which it had acquired in the 1990s against the growing influence of China, Turkey and, particularly, Russia.

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FBI Examining Whether Russia Is Tied to JPMorgan Hacking

Russian hackers attacked the U.S. financial system in mid-August, infiltrating and stealing data from JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and at least one other bank, an incident the FBI is investigating as a possible retaliation for government-sponsored sanctions, according to two people familiar with the probe.

The attack resulted in the loss of gigabytes of sensitive data, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the probe is still preliminary. Authorities are investigating whether recent infiltrations of major European banks using a similar vulnerability are also linked to the attack, one of the people said.

In one case, the hackers used a software flaw known as a zero-day vulnerability in one of the banks’ websites. They then plowed through layers of elaborate security to steal the data, a feat security experts said appeared far beyond the capability of ordinary criminal hackers. The incidents occurred at a low point in relations between Russia and the West. Russian troops continue to mass on the Ukrainian border and the West tightens sanctions aimed at crippling Russian companies, including some of the country’s most important banks. Continue reading

JPMorgan, Four Other Banks Hit by Hackers: U.S. Official

Computer hackers targeted JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and at least four other banks in a coordinated attack on major financial institutions this month, according to a U.S. official.

The attack led to the theft of customer data that could be used to drain accounts, according to another person briefed by U.S. law enforcement. The two people, who asked not to be identified because the investigation is continuing, discussed the incident after Bloomberg News reported a breach on banks earlier today.

Hackers targeted customer and employee information, said a third person involved in the investigation, who was also briefed by the government. The theft involved gigabytes of data, said several people familiar with the attacks. The scale indicates a potential for significant financial fraud.

Most thefts of financial information involve retailers or personal computers of consumers. Stealing data from big banks is rare, because they have elaborate firewalls and security systems.

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Hungary seeks EU alliance to push closer ties with Russia

BUDAPEST: Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Monday said he would seek to form a political alliance to stop the European Union pulling away from Russia over the crisis in Ukraine.

“The EU gets further away from Russia every day. That’s not only bad for Hungary, but for the entire EU,” Orban told Hungarian ambassadors in Budapest. Continue reading

Ten more countries that may default on debt after Argentina

Ecuador, Egypt, Pakistan, Venezuela, Belize, Cuba, Cyprus, Greece, Jamaica and Ukraine are all on the verge of a default, according to Moody’s ratings.

Argentina defaulted for the second time in 12 years after hopes for a midnight deal with holdout creditors were dashed, setting up stock and bond prices for declines on Thursday and raising chances a recession could worsen this year.

After a long legal battle with hedge funds that rejected Argentina’s debt restructuring following its 2002 default, Latin America’s third-biggest economy failed to strike a deal in time to meet a midnight deadline for a coupon payment on exchange bonds.

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Western sanctions push Russia, China closer; hurt dollar

TOKYO — By forcing Russia to conduct more business in the yuan and other Asian currencies, the U.S. may be speeding up the end of the petrodollar and giving China more prominence on the world stage.

As the West tightens financial sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, Russian businesses are reducing their exposure to the dollar to minimize the damage from still tougher punishments. Many of these businesses have turned to the Hong Kong dollar as an alternative to the greenback.

Hong Kong harbor

The Hong Kong dollar is an ideal safe haven for Russian companies looking to park their cash. Because the currency is pegged to the greenback, the foreign-exchange risk of holding Hong Kong dollars is no different from owning the U.S. currency. But because Hong Kong is part of China, funds held in the Hong Kong dollar are unlikely to be affected, even if the U.S. and Europe introduce tougher sanctions against Russia, such as asset freeze.

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Strategic alliance with India, Myanmar to exploit sea resources mooted

C Raja Mohan, who is the head of strategic studies and distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, recently at a lecture in Dhaka had mooted the idea to form a trilateral group.

On Tuesday at a roundtable on ‘blue economy’, the idea also came up from the private sector who believed Bangladesh should have a “strategic partnership alliance” with India and Myanmar to exploit sea resources.

The suggestion came up as Bangladesh resolved the maritime dispute with the two neighbours “peacefully”.

Dhaka established its sovereign rights on more than 118,000 sq kms of territorial sea, 200 nautical miles (NM) of exclusive economic zone and 354 NM continental shelves from the Chittagong coast through international courts. Continue reading

10 George Orwell Quotes That Predicted Life In 2014 America

George Orwell ranks among the most profound social critics of the modern era. Some of his quotations, more than a half a century old, show the depth of understanding an enlightened mind can have about the future.

2)  “All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.”

Examining the nightly news in the run up to almost any military intervention will find scores of talking heads crying for blood to flow in the streets of some city the name of which they just learned to pronounce. Once the bullets start flying, those that clamored for war will still be safely on set bringing you up-to-the-minute coverage of the carnage while their stock in Raytheon climbs. Continue reading

Shanghai to San Francisco in 100 minutes by Chinese supersonic submarine

With military application of this technology today, the world’s most powerful navies could be rendered useless. As so little is known about what the PLA, one of the most secretive militaries, they also might not be far off from even having one with military application. Some nations also fake test failures in order to lull their adversaries into a false sense of security.

 

 

China has moved a step closer to creating a supersonic submarine that could travel from Shanghai to San Francisco in less than two hours.

New technology developed by a team of scientists at Harbin Institute of Technology’s Complex Flow and Heat Transfer Lab has made it easier for a submarine, or torpedo, to travel at extremely high speeds underwater.

Li Fengchen, professor of fluid machinery and engineering, said the team’s innovative approach meant they could now create the complicated air “bubble” required for rapid underwater travel. “We are very excited by its potential,” he said.

Water produces more friction, or drag, on an object than air, which means conventional submarines cannot travel as fast as an aircraft.

However, during the cold war, the Soviet military developed a technology called supercavitation, which involves enveloping a submerged vessel inside an air bubble to avoid problems caused by water drag. Continue reading

Subglacial volcanic eruption begins in Iceland

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) — Iceland raised its aviation alert to red Saturday as a subglacial eruption began at the restless Bardarbunga volcano, which has been rattled by thousands of earthquakes in the past week, the country’s Meteorological Office said.

Seismic data indicated that lava from the volcano was melting ice beneath the Vatnajokull glacier, Iceland’s largest, Met Office vulcanologist Melissa Pfeffer said.

The eruption led Iceland to raise its aviation alert level to red, indicating an eruption that could cause “significant emission of ash into the atmosphere.” Red is the highest alert warning on a five-point scale. Continue reading

“Federal Reserve and Other Central Banks Own Close to Half of All Stock Markets”

These links reveal that the US Federal Reserve Board and other central banks around the world own “close to half of all [the] stock markets.” The title of this post is the title of the first link. Please re-read the first sentence and let it sink in to grasp the meaning of this shocking revelation. I think most citizen-investors around the world assumed that all stocks were owned by private investors, sovereign investment funds, pension funds, mutual funds, etc. Not true! The first three links reveal that vast amounts of stock equities are owned by the US Federal Reserve Board and other central banks! The Fed and the central banks have surely been buying these stock funds with fantasy money, money created by the central banks “out of thin air.” If a private investor tried to do that, it would be called “counterfeiting.” Continue reading

Hundreds evacuated after more than 300 earthquakes herald ANOTHER ASH CLOUD

Scientists detected about 300 earthquakes in the area around the Bardarbunga volcano since Tuesday, which could herald an eruption.

The volcano, in the north-west region of Iceland’s Vatnajokull glacier, could be set to spew out a huge ash cloud.

It said: “It cannot be ruled out that the seismic activity in Bardarbunga could lead to a volcanic eruption.”

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US banks bracing for Brexit

According to sources quoted by the Financial Times, three American banks — Bank of America, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley — are “drawing up plans to move some London-based activities to Ireland to address concerns” the UK would leave the European Union after a referendum on EU membership to be held possibly in 2017.

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South Stream ‘Plan B’ opts for route through Greece and Turkey

A Russian newspaper has published an article suggesting that the Kremlin-favoured South Stream gas pipeline could drop Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, and Slovenia for its route, and instead reach its final destinations, Italy and Austria, through Turkey and Greece.

On Monday (18 August), Russian business newspaper Vzglyad published an article by journalist Oleg Makarenko, claiming that Gazprom has a “plan B” in case Bulgaria continues to obstruct the construction of the South Stream pipeline.

A caretaker government in Sofia, which took office on 6 August, has frozen the construction of South Stream, following clear indications from Brussels that the EU executive would impose infringements on Bulgaria, unless the country re-negotiates its bilateral agreement with Russia for the construction of the pipeline, which is in breach of EU law.

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