"Climbing up on Salisbury Hill
I could see the city light
Wind was blowing, time stood still
Standing, stretching every nerve
Had to listen, had no choice
I did not believe the information
Just had to trust my imagination" – Peter Gabriel
While you were sleeping…
You know that funny story about the former Russian spy and his daughter who were poisoined in the UK (Salisbury) on March 4th and how the British investigated it and, Monday, Theresa May told Parliament that it was "highly likely" the Russians were responsible? Well the British demanded an immediate response from the Kremlin or Britain would immediately place sanctions on them and now it gets REALLY amusing as the Kremlin called May's speech to Parliament "*a circus*"** and, when they say "*circus*" they mean the boring Russian kind with no animals!**
Then (and here's where it gets REALLY funny), Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova replied (or threatened – it's hard to tell the difference with Russians):
"**One does not give 24 hours notice to a nuclear power" adding that the "Skripal poisoning was not an incident but a colossal international provocation."
- “Moscow will not respond to London’s ultimatum until it receives samples of the chemical substance to which the UK investigators are referring.
“Britain must comply with the Chemical Weapons Convention which stipulates joint investigation into the incident, for which Moscow is ready.
“Without that, there can be no sense in any statements from London. The incident appears to be yet another crooked attempt by the UK authorities to discredit Russia.
“Any threat to take ‘punitive’ measures against Russia will meet with a response. The British side should be aware of that.
Notice that Russia employs the "Fake News" meme to deflect any facts they don't like – something they train all their operatives to do these days. According to Russia "*Crooked UK*" is up to their old tricks and we should ignore the poisoning and focus on the investigation – which can't possibly be unbiased if it finds Russia colluded with operatives to kill people on British soil.**
Is anyone else having deja vu?
This morning, with the 24-hour clock expiring, May stuck to her word and expelled Russia's diplomatic corps from the UK. Usually, in these situations, the US would have the UK's back and would be backing May's actions with a show of support and a warning for the Russians as well but, of course, none of that is happening and Theresa May is forced to stand alone against Putin's spy and propaganda network.
All this drama is not even rating a mention on CNBC or Bloomberg and it doesn't even make the front page of today's Wall Street Journal and this is how the market is "shocked" by sudden 1,000-point drops when things they should have been paying attention to for weeks or months suddenly boil over and become impossible to ignore.
The time to cash in your winnings is when the market is high – not when it begins to correct. The time to place hedges to lock in your winnings is when the market is high – not after it begins to correct and you've already lost some of your gains and the hedges become more expensive. We've gotten very aggressive with our Portfolio Hedges and we're still very much in CASH!!! and we are STILL not willing to ignore hostilities between two of the World's biggest super-powers!
Speaking of superpowers going to war, now Trump is "considering" $60Bn in tariffs against China who, by the way, buy $130Bn worth of our goods while we buy $500Bn worth of their goods but most of the "trade imbalance" is from IPhones, Nike sneakers, Clothing (35%) etc. that is made and assembled in China – so how is that their fault? From China's perspective, the US CHOOSES to use China as their factory floor and now the US wants to punish them for doing a good job?
In fact, the Fed's own analysis found that "Goods and services from China accounted for only 2.7% of U.S. personal consumption expenditures." And that's very true as we consume Trillions of Dollars worth of merchandise each year in our $20Tn economy and China itself doesn't benefit from the transportation, wholesale and retail mark-ups that account for 40% of the "trade deficit" total.
Asking China to "fix" the deficit is from a World view that existed in the 1950s, when Trump last looked at an economic textbook – it has no place in modern global trade and this lingering trade war, as I told CNBC in Japan on Monday night, is our number one concern out of all the potential rally-killers the market seems to be ignoring.
Though, of course, World War III would probably move up the charts quickly so – PAY ATTENTION!!!