Monday, March 16, 2015

Stcks soar on No News; Michael Hudson's Scathing Remarks on Wealth Inequality

On a day in which there was an absolute vacuum of substantial news concerning the economy or stocks in general, markets did what they have become used to doing on such days in the era of ZIRP and QE. Stocks went straight up at the open and added to gains throughout the day.

It is specifically on days like today that the banks and brokerages make their best money, capturing the gains right at the opening bell, without interference from retail riff-raff, and holding them up with small trades during the session. Anybody even thinking about shorting or playing puts against the small tide of buyers gets what's come to be known as having one's face ripped off.

As gruesome as it sounds, the reality of losing money because one is not a member of the 1% tribe and does not believe stocks should be trading at astronomical levels, is painful to the pocket and a cause for many small-time investors and traders to throw in the towel completely.

Such is the nature of markets completely under the control of the biggest and most well-heeled players, complete with front-running HTF computer algos that are able to nab 20% or more of any gains simply by being there a millisecond ahead of any order. while that fact may not be disturbing to some, it should be a concern to anybody who feels that wealth inequality is consistently changing the nature of society, markets and money, and not in any good way.

To that effect, professor Michael Hudson recently provided a glimpse into the new world of finance - unregulated, unbalanced and utterly destructive - in an article published at Counterpunch called Quantitative Easing for Whom?

Hudson, a distinguished research professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, was interviewed by SHARMINI PERIES, and his commentary spells out in detail how zero interest rates and quantitative easing has helped the elite to the detriment of the rest of society.

It's quite a read and elegant in its straightforward honesty and truthful simplicity. Perhaps the most poignant phrase is the following:
Banks lend money mainly to transfer ownership of real estate. They also lend money to corporate raiders. They lend money to buy assets. But they don’t lend money for companies to invest in equipment and hire more workers. Just the opposite. When they lend money to corporate raiders to take over companies, the new buyers outsource labor, downsize the work force, and try to squeeze out more work. They also try to grab the pensions.

or this:
...when hedge funds and the big banks – Goldman Sachs, Citibank – see a pension fund manager coming through the door, they think, “How can I take what’s in his pocket and put it in mine?” So they rip them off. That is why there are so many big lawsuits against Wall Street for mismanaging pension fund money.

It's a very good read for such a short article, and points up just how enslaved the middle class (what's left of it) has become and how government and the Fed have completely distorted the economy to the exclusive benefit of a small handful of very, very wealthy families.

The condition of the world is sad and true.

Dow 17,977.42, +228.11 (1.29%)
S&P 500, 2,081.19, +27.79 (1.35%)
NASDAQ 4,929.51, +57.75 (1.19%)

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