With Glencore, the Commodity Rout Is Beginning to Look Like a Crisis (Bloomberg)
It’s about to get worse, according to analysts John LaForge and Warren Pies of Venice, Florida-based Ned Davis Research Group. Commodities may be in the fourth year of a 20-year “bear super-cycle,” according to an Aug. 14 research note. The analysts looked at commodity busts dating to the 18th century and found them driven by factors such as market momentum rather than fundamentals, LaForge said Monday in an interview. The good news: most of the damage is done in the first six years, LaForge said. “In commodities you’re going to get a lot of failures, companies closing up,” he said. “This needs to happen to bring down supply.”
Big US banks lose patience with Fed (FT)
Even if the Fed does push up short-term rates for the first time in nine years in the months ahead, the prospect of further easing measures in deflation-hit Japan and the still sluggish eurozone is likely to mean that the pace of increases remains slow. That means that banks will be under pressure to find more ways to boost profits, such as accelerating branch closure programmes. “Bankers are starting to say, we can’t run these institutions based on hope for higher rates, so let’s figure out what we can do,” said Fred Cannon, global director of research at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.
Trump Plan Is Tax Cut for the Rich, Even Hedge Fund Managers (The Upshot, earlier)
Even the hedge fund managers Mr. Trump has railed against on the stump would get a tax cut under his plan. The usual fee structure for a hedge fund is called “2-and-20”: a flat management fee (often 2 percent) on all assets, plus a performance fee (often 20 percent) on profits above a set threshold. Currently, the management fee is taxed at ordinary rates up to 39.6 percent, while the performance fee enjoys a preferential rate of 23.8 percent. Under Mr. Trump’s plan, all this income would be taxed at a maximum of 25 percent. The performance fee would be subject to a small tax increase, but that effect would be dwarfed by the large tax cut on ordinary management fees.
As Banks Retreat, Private Equity Rushes to Buy Troubled Home Mortgages (Dealbook)
As the housing market nationwide recovers, this is a dark corner from which banks, stung by hefty penalties for bungling mortgage modifications and foreclosures, have retreated. Federal housing officials, for the most part, have welcomed the new financial players as being more nimble and creative than banks with terms for delinquent borrowers. But the firms are now drawing fire. Housing advocates and lawyers for borrowers contend that the private equity firms and hedge funds are too quick to push homes into foreclosure and are even less helpful than the banks had been in negotiating loan modifications with borrowers. Federal and state lawmakers are taking up the issue, questioning why federal agencies are selling loans at a discount of as much as 30 percent to such firms.
Mother or girlfriend - who do you save? (BBC)
If forced to choose, would you save your mother or your girlfriend from a burning building? It's a classic sticky question in China. And this year, it was a key part of China's national judicial examination, posed to future lawyers and judges. Those who pass the test are allowed to practise law in China. China's ministry of justice later posted the "correct" answer: exam writers are duty-bound to save their mothers. It would be a "crime of non-action" to choose romantic love over filial duty. But the answer isn't so obvious to Chinese internet users. "It is ridiculous to equate the obligation to support one's parents with the obligation to rescue others in an emergency," complained one. "According to the law, a son must save his mother," explained another. "But the law does not say whether he has to save his mother while other people are also in danger." Others asked what they would do when facing the burning building question. Most of the time, motherly love appeared to win out. "Girls are everywhere, but I only have one mum," decided one young man.
Nasdaq 'death cross' forms 'four horsemen' pattern (CNBC)
The Nasdaq composite spooked investors on Monday after forming a death cross, a trading pattern that shows a decline in short-term momentum and is often a precursor to future losses. A death cross occurs when the short-term moving average of a security or an index pierces below the long-term trend, in this case the 50-day moving average breaking through the 200-day moving average. In the past month, similar chart patterns formed in the S&P 500, Dow and small-cap Russell 2000, but the Nasdaq avoided a death cross formation until Monday.
Volkswagen's diesel tax breaks could be a focus for U.S. prosecutors (Reuters)
Volkswagen's push to secure tax breaks that kick-started a market for its new diesel cars could now help U.S. investigators build a case against the automaker for deceiving the government about their emissions, lawyers said. VW was among several automakers that lobbied the administration of George W. Bush to secure around $50 million in tax breaks under an incentive program that included the first wave of VW Jetta TDI drivers in the United States.
The Cities Where Millennials Are Taking Over the Housing Market (Bloomberg)
Roughly 60 percent of borrowers who used a mortgage to buy a home in Iowa’s capital city during the first half of 2015 were aged 25 to 34, according to data from Realtor.com. That compares with a national average of 37 percent, and makes Des Moines the most millennial-friendly city in the U.S.
Texas police force adds luxury $80,000 Chevy Corvette to car pool (NYDN)
"We basically busted up a large methamphetamine trafficking ring,” New Braunfels Police Department communications coordinator David Ferguson told KENS5 Eyewitness News. “This particular Corvette was determined by the court to be purchased using drug money.” And a special message on the bumper — reading ‘This vehicle was seized from a Drug Dealer’ — adds an important message. "It's kind of like a driving billboard for drug dealers and criminals saying 'Hey look, crime doesn’t pay,'" added Ferguson.