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Tracking the many faces of the global credit implosion. You can pull sub-categories from this feed by adding a ?tags=a,b,c,... style parameter. The category tags (which can be given as numbers or handles) are : id handle category description 1 housing_finance "Housing Finance News/ML-Implode Main" 2 hedge_funds "Hedge Funds News" 3 fed "The Fed, Central Banking and fin. reg." 4 foreclosures "Foreclosures (News)" 5 chavez "Hugo Chavez Watch (News)" 6 builders "Home Builders News" 7 banks "Banks News" 8 credit_bubble "Credit Bubble and Crash (News)" 9 peak_oil "Peak Oil and Energy Security (News)" 10 BRIC_v_us "BRIC countries vs. U.S. (News)" 11 gov_bk "Government Bankruptcy (News)" 12 mediawatch "Mainstream Media Watch" 13 Our commentary "IEHI Original Commentary" 14 rebalancing "Economic Rebalancing (News)" 15 pm "Precious Metals News" 16 inflation "Inflation and Deflation News" 17 nr "Natural Resources News" 18 consumer "Consumer Capitulation/Issues and Populism" 20 pe "Private Equity Implosion (News)" 21 recession "Recession/depression News" 22 ML_implosion "Mortgage Lender IMPLOSIONS" 23 HF_implosion "Hedge Fund IMPLOSIONS" 24 HB_implosion "Home Builder IMPLOSIONS" 25 Bank_implosion "Bank IMPLOSIONS" 26 ML_update "Mortgage Lender UPDATES" 27 HF_update "Hedge Fund UPDATES" 28 HB_update "Home Builder UPDATES" 29 Bank_update "Bank UPDATES" 30 RFWS "Radio Free Wall Street" 31 FHA "FHA and Mtg Regulation (News)" 32 martial_law "Martial Law/Big Brother/NWO Watch" 33 pension "Retirement Implosion (News)" 34 mtgindustry "Mortgage Industry (News)" 35 econlists "Econ insider lists" 36 iehi_fb "IEHI facebook feed" 37 robin_fb "robin facebook" 38 IEHItwitter "IEHI Twitter Feed" 39 ak_linkedin "akrowne LinkedIn (mtg industry)"
Updated: 38 min 11 sec ago

Following Britain, Australia now officially has a 'Google tax' on Multinationals

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 15:44
The DPT laws are aimed at multinationals with global revenue of more than $1 billion and Australian revenue of greater than $25 million. They will be hit with a 40 per cent tax on all profits - that is 10 per cent higher than the 30 per cent company tax rate.

It aims to ensure that the tax paid by global entities properly reflects the economic substance of their activities in Australia and prevents the diversion of profits offshore through contrived arrangements.

...

Australia followed the lead of Britain, which has a similar laws aimed at multinationals which resulted in Google agreeing to a deal with that country's tax authorities to pay £130 million ($214 million) in back taxes.

... But as more countries hunt for a greater share of revenue from multinationals, concerns remain that disagreements between global agencies about which nation is entitled to tax profits could spark revenue wars.

Wells Fargo Settles Fake-Account Lawsuit for $110 Million

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 15:40
On Tuesday, San Francisco based bank Wells Fargo announced a $110 million settlement for a class-action lawsuit brought by customers. Still requiring court approval, the settlement covers anyone who claims to be touched by Wells Fargo's employees opening more than 2 million accounts without customer consent.

Wells Fargo paid their first private settlement late last year. In September, the bank was penalized $185 million by federal and California authorities to cover their poor sales practices.

...

Unfortunately for investors, Wells Fargo's complications might still be far ahead of them. The bank is subject to criminal investigations, further reviews which may reveal more impacted customers, and lawsuits from previous employees.

By the numbers, Trump's big environmental regulation rollback is all kinds of unpopular

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 15:38
``... in general, environmental regulations are popular with the public, putting Trump's deregulation at odds with many voters. And even as he's doing all of this, more Americans are concerned about global warming than they ever have been.''

Amazon to start collecting state sales taxes everywhere

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 15:35
By the end of last year, Amazon was collecting sales taxes in 29 states and Washington D.C. Since that list included all of the largest states, that meant it was effectively collecting sales tax from 86% of the nation's population. The site has been rapidly adding the remaining states to the list of places where it collects taxes this year, bringing the total to 41 states plus Washington. And as of April 1, it will collect from all 45 states that have a statewide sales tax.

...

[But] there is still one big sales-tax loophole left on Amazon: Shoppers don't have to pay sales tax when they buy from one of the site's many third-party vendors.

U.S. pending home sales surge to ten-month high ahead of spring

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 15:31
``Contract signing last month was likely boosted by unseasonably warm temperatures. The gains reversed January's 2.8 percent drop. Pending home contracts become sales after a month or two, and last month's surge implied a pickup in home resales after they tumbled 3.7 percent in February. ''

Domino's Pizza Robot Delivery Expands to Europe

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 15:30
Domino's Pizza Inc. is expanding its robot delivery service to Europe. The recognized world leader in pizza delivery is teaming up with the London-based startup, Starship Technologies, to deliver pizza in Germany and the Netherlands with robots.

...

Starship, founded by two Skype co-founders, Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, created six-wheeled, self-driving delivery robots that will be able to deliver pizza within a one-mile radius of certain Domino's pizza shops in selected German cities and locations throughout the Netherlands.

Cash Price Or Credit Surcharge? Supreme Court Says That Might Be First Amendment Question

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 15:23
A New York law prohibiting merchants from charging extra for credit card transactions might violate the constitutional protection for free speech, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today, in a unanimous decision that raised questions about the First Amendment implications of economic regulations.

The decision in Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman further strengthens the once-controversial Supreme Court doctrine extending First Amendment protection to corporate, as opposed to individual speech. It wasn't a total victory for retailers, who still must convince the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that the New York law is unconstitutional. But the Supreme Court rejected the Second Circuit's reasoning that the anti-surcharge law doesn't even implicate the Constitution because it regulates conduct, not speech.

...

"They ... want to make clear that they are not the bad guys--that the credit card companies, not the merchants, are responsible for the higher prices," Roberts wrote. "The merchants believe that surcharges for credit are more effective than discounts for cash in accomplishing these goals."

'No turning back' on Brexit as Article 50 triggered; Merkel Rejects Post-Breakup Relationship Talks

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 14:39
``[May] was speaking after Britain's EU ambassador formally triggered the two year exit process by handing a letter to EU Council President Donald Tusk. A sombre-looking Mr Tusk said it was not a "happy day" for him or the EU. The European Parliament warned security cooperation was not on the table as it fired its opening salvo in what are expected to be tough negotiations. '' -- See also Angela Merkel rejects one of Theresa May's key Brexit demands.

"Men Without Work"

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 11:13
``All of these assessments draw upon data on labor market dynamics: job openings, new hires, "quit ratios," unemployment filings and the like. And all those data are informative -- as far as they go. But they miss also something, a big something: the deterioration of work rates for American men. Between 1948 and 2015, the work rate for U.S. men twenty and older fell from 85.8 percent to 68.2 percent. Thus the proportion of American men twenty and older without paid work more than doubled, from 14 percent to almost 32 percent. Granted, the work rate for adult men in 2015 was over a percentage point higher than 2010 (its all-time low). But purportedly "near full employment" conditions notwithstanding, the work rate for the twenty-plus male was more than a fifth lower in 2015 than in 1948.''

Three Reasons Why Bitcoin Could Reach $10,000 (Or More)

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 09:28
``What if hedge funds buy bitcoin as an investment? What if investors use bitcoin as a store of value? What if bitcoin is used primarily as a currency?''

Tax Reform Failure Could Trigger Market Downturn - The Wall Street Examiner

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 08:30
``The first problem? Deficits... Even with the tax on imports and exemption on exports that is believed to raise nearly $1 trillion in rate cuts, more will be needed. What else is left if a revenue-neutral budget is to be met? A likely target then becomes tax breaks.''

What the Berkshires Learned by Launching its Own Currency

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 08:27
``One experiment has been taking place in the Berkshires -- a region in the U.S. state of Massachusetts -- that has its own currency called Berkshares. On this week's Odd Lots podcast, we speak with Alice Maggio, the executive director of the currency, about how a regional currency works, what it accomplishes, and what they've learned from it.''

In Another Blow, Wells Fargo Faulted for `Extensive' Discrimination in Review

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 16:35
Wells Fargo & Co. engaged in an "extensive and pervasive pattern" of discriminatory and illegal lending practices for years, a U.S. regulator said in slashing a key rating of how the bank serves communities, triggering restrictions that may hamper its growth.

While examiners credited Wells Fargo for "excellent responsiveness" in meeting customers' credit needs, 10 government inquiries over the past decade prompted the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to lower its overall score of the company's compliance with community banking laws to "needs to improve." Enforcement cases cited by the OCC faulted the bank's treatment of minority neighborhoods, military personnel and women who had recently given birth.

...

The findings risk further damage to Wells Fargo's reputation as executives try to rebuild customer and investor trust in the wake of an account scandal that rocked the company and its stock price last year. Yet, many of the cases cited by the OCC already were announced years ago in settlements, including some misconduct that predated the 2008 financial crisis.

Trump signs order dismantling Obama-era climate policies

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 16:33
The order's main target is former President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan, which required states to slash carbon emissions from power plants - a key factor in the United States' ability to meet its commitments under a climate change accord reached by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015.

Trump's decree also reverses a ban on coal leasing on federal lands, undoes rules to curb methane emissions from oil and gas production and reduces the weight of climate change and carbon emissions in policy and infrastructure permitting decisions. Carbon dioxide and methane are two of the main greenhouse gases blamed by scientists for heating the earth.''

...

The move drew swift backlash from a coalition of 23 states and local governments, as well as environmental groups, which called the decree a threat to public health and vowed to fight it in court.

Merkel's party wins German state vote by large margin (PRESAGING CONTINUED DOMINANCE?)

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 15:43
The vote in the tiny state on the French border, which has a population of only one million, was seen as a bellwether ahead of the September 24th general election in which Merkel, the veteran leader often dubbed "the Queen of Europe", will seek a fourth term.

...

The CDU's popular state premier Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was cheered by jubilant supporters, admitted she was "floored" by the strong result, about five points up from the last election amid strong turnout of around 70 percent.

U.S. Travel Industry Fears a ‘Lost Decade' Under Trump

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 14:03
Trump's rhetoric and unpopularity abroad is likely to reduce international arrivals by 4.3 million this year, according to  market strategy firm Tourism Economics LLC. New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami are all exposed to any declines, being among the most popular destinations for foreign travelers.

...

The USTA regularly refers to the century's first 10 years as "the lost decade" because of the steep decline in travel to America following restrictions imposed after the 2001 terror attacks, global antipathy toward the subsequent foreign policy of President George W. Bush, and the economic fallout of the Great Recession. Outside the U.S., however, foreign travel continued to increase over the same period.

How middle-class and even "wealthy" American families are sliding inexorably into the red

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 12:54
``Perhaps nobody is crying for lawyers making $500,000 a year or even $250,000, but the analysis shows just how easy it is for spending habits to take a high salary and turn it into table scraps. Dogen said pressure from peers to spend more is a big contributing factor, adding "everywhere I go, and I've been all over the world, high income earners are secretly feeling the same squeeze."''

Manhattan Landlords Are Offering Massive Giveaways to Lure Retail Clients (IN LIEU OF MUCH-NEEDED PRICE CUTS)

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 12:50
Tenant-improvement allowances haven't been typical in the Manhattan retail market. But now the concessions, which can pay for anything from lighting and displays to a complete overhaul, are becoming a key component in some new leases, particularly for large, flagship stores in high-profile areas, such as Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue, according to Steve Soutendijk, an executive director at brokerage Cushman & Wakefield Inc. 

"We're seeing tenant-improvement and concession packages that retail landlords never, ever contemplated before," he said.

...

The details of leases in Manhattan are often closely guarded secrets, making it difficult to quantify the incentives retailers are receiving. Landlords have a lot of ways to cut a deal without lowering asking rents, such as paying the construction contractor, offering an extended period of free rent or simply writing a check for the tenant to use at their discretion.

... Tepid demand for luxury goods and a stronger U.S. dollar that's crimped spending by tourists have particularly hurt Fifth Avenue, where the space-availability rate was at a record 15.9 percent in fourth quarter, up from 10.1 percent a year earlier, Cushman data show. The average rent on the stretch from 49th to 60th streets reached a record $3,213 a square foot in the third quarter before dropping in the last three months of the year to $2,985.

Tensions flare Between Turkey And EU, Greece on Even of Erdogan Power-Expansion Vote

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 10:52
``Western allies have argued that a vote endorsing the proposed constitutional change would invest the Turkish leader with unparalleled authority and limit checks and balances at a time when they fear he is exhibiting worrying signs of authoritarianism. Erdoğan has been enraged by recent bans on visiting Turkish officials rallying "yes" supporters in Germany and the Netherlands.

...

"We have a referendum on 16 April. After that we may hold a Brexit-like referendum on the [EU] negotiations," Erdoğan told a Turkish-UK forum attended by the British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson. "No matter what our nation decides we will obey it. It should be known that our patience, tested in the face of attitudes displayed by some European countries, has limits."

The animus -- reinforced last week when the leader said he would continue labelling European politicians "Nazis" if they continued calling him a dictator -- has also animated tensions between Greece and Turkey, and Erdoğan's comments came hours after the Greek defence minister said armed forces were ready to respond in the event of the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity being threatened.

...

Turkey's EU negotiations have long been hindered by Cyprus, and talks aimed at reuniting its estranged Greek and Turkish communities are at a critical juncture but have stalled and are unlikely to move until after the referendum.

But it is in the Aegean where tensions, matched by an increasingly ugly war of words, have been at their worst. After a tense standoff over eight military officers who escaped to Greece after the abortive coup against Erdoğan last July -- an impasse exacerbated when the Greek supreme court rejected a request for their extradition -- hostility has been measured in almost daily dogfights between armed jets and naval incursions of Greek waters by Turkish research vessels.

Related, see Erdogan Races Against the Dollar in Campaign for Unrivaled Power.

Ford invests $1.2 billion in Michigan plants, Per 2015 UAW Contract (TRUMP ONCE AGAIN TRIES TO TAKE CREDIT)

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 10:32
Ford will invest $1.2 billion to build or modernize three facilities in Michigan where it plans to assemble trucks and SUVs, and to store consumer data, a reflection of the trends that are fundamentally reshaping the auto industry's business model and manufacturing operations in the U.S.

President Trump preempted the "big announcement" with an early morning tweet in which he touted, "Car companies coming back to U.S. JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!" ... But such massive investment decisions take longer to plan and execute than Trump has been in office. The investments Ford announced Tuesday, for example, are part of a 2015 contract between the automaker and United Auto Workers in which the company agreed to invest $9 billion and create or retain 8,500 jobs through 2019.''