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Markets Have Seen This Movie Before (Spoiler Alert: The Ending Is Horrible)

Markets Have Seen This Movie Before (Spoiler Alert: The Ending Is Horrible)

Authored by James Rickards via The Daily Reckoning,

As I expected, the Fed didn’t raise rates this week at its January FOMC meeting.

If you were thinking the…



Markets Have Seen This Movie Before (Spoiler Alert: The Ending Is Horrible)

Authored by James Rickards via The Daily Reckoning,

As I expected, the Fed didn’t raise rates this week at its January FOMC meeting.

If you were thinking the Fed would have to begin raising rates to counteract inflation, you’re probably going to have to wait until March, when the Fed’s Open Market Committee meets again.

The Fed says it “will soon be appropriate” to raise rates. It also says it will end asset purchases in March, so all signs point to a March rate hike.

How did the stock market react to this week's messaging from the Fed?

[ZH: The initial reaction was a puke across all major US equity markets... followed by the ubiquitous overnight ramp to erase the loss. Thursday saw more selling at the open which extended into the US cash open on Friday.]

{ZH: At which point, a buying panic ensued, lifting The Dow and S&P back into the green post-FOMC, Nasdaq down modestly, but Small Caps crushed.]

The All-Important 10-Year Treasury

Yields on the all-important 10-year Treasury note spiked to 1.876% on Wednesday - a 10bps surge. That’s an earthquake in bond land. [ZH: But, by the end of the week, amid fears of policy errors, the 10=year yield had tumbled back to unchanged post-FOMC.]

Ten-year yields opened the year under 1.6%, and the increase has spooked the stock market.

The 10-year note yield is a good proxy for long-term investment in mortgages, construction and infrastructure projects and therefore reflects expectations about the real economy.

Until recently, the interim high yield on the 10-year note had been 1.745% on March 31, 2021. Rates fell through the summer of 2021 and then began rising again, but the rate spikes fell short of that 1.745% level and then fell back.

That pattern prevailed until Jan. 14, 2022, when rates broke through and hit 1.794%. That was the highest level since Jan. 13, 2020, almost exactly two years ago, and before the pandemic became widespread in the U.S.

At that time, rates had declined from their pre-pandemic interim high of 2.761% on Jan. 23, 2019, almost exactly three years ago. Again, today’s yield is 1.848%.

What Are Bonds Saying About Inflation?

But if rates are not fundamentally higher than they were two years ago and are significantly lower than they were three years ago, what does that say?

If a wave of inflation is about to smash into us, why aren’t rates at 3.0% or higher? A yield of 1.876% is pretty puny if the inflation narrative is correct.

People throw the word “stimulus” around, even those who should know better, and say, “The Fed’s cut rates to zero. That’s stimulus. The Fed’s printing money. That’s stimulus.”

They then say, “If you’re going to print that much money, you’re going to get inflation.”

The Reality

But none of that is true. It’s far too simplistic. Reality is much more complicated than the simple money printing equals inflation narrative. Yes, the money printing is true. But it’s not inflationary unless the money gets put to use in the economy.

If the money gets put to use in the form of widespread lending and spending, that’s a setup where you have to think hard about inflation. But that’s not what we’re seeing.

What happens then to the money the Fed creates?

The big banks have accounts at the Fed. They take the money and they leave it at the Fed in the form of excess reserves, meaning basically more reserves than the law requires them to have.

So the money doesn’t go anywhere. It’s not being invested. It’s not being loaned out. It’s not being borrowed. It’s not being spent. So it doesn’t matter how much there is if the money doesn’t go anywhere, and that’s exactly the situation we’re facing.

It’s the Velocity, Stupid

I often refer to the velocity of money. Quite simply, velocity is the turnover of money, the rate at which money changes hands.

The Fed can create money just by buying bonds with money it creates out of thin air. But velocity is a psychological phenomenon.

It all depends how consumers feel. If they feel prosperous, if they feel that their job is secure, if they feel that their businesses are doing well, they might be more willing to borrow money to expand the business or spend money on personal consumption.

But we’re not seeing that. We’re seeing velocity drop. Some people are getting money, whether it’s in the form of government handouts or slightly higher wages, but they’re saving it. They’re not spending it. That doesn’t add up to rampant inflation.

I realize I may be in the minority, but the bond market is telling us that inflation will be much tamer than expected (I expect inflation to return with a vengeance eventually, but not yet).

In other words, the U.S. may be seeing peak inflation and peak interest rates for this cycle.

The One Thing the Fed Excels At

I expect the U.S. economy will slow from here (for many reasons including the pandemic, supply chain disruptions and excess debt), rates will level off and then decline and the dollar will weaken.

Of course, the Fed is preparing to tighten monetary policy at a time when the economy shows weakening. It’s tightening into weakness. But that’s no surprise.

Looking at the entire history of the Fed since 1913, it’s proven that it’s really good at wrecking the economy by doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. And it’s in the process of doing that again.

I feel like we’re watching the same movie that we’ve already seen. We’re seeing this movie again because the Fed did this before. From 2008–2013, the Fed did what they did the last couple of years.


They bought bonds, created money supply, blew up the balance sheet and cut rates to zero. The zero interest rate policy, the money printing, they did that from 2008–2013. They took the Fed’s balance sheet from about $800 billion to about $4 trillion (today it’s dramatically higher because of its response to the pandemic).

Then they tried to “normalize.”  They began raising rates aggressively. They got the fed funds rate up to 2.25%, with nine 25-basis-point increases between December 2015 and December 2018.

They trimmed the balance sheet down. Not greatly, but they brought it down from about $4.5 trillion to about $3.7 trillion. That’s not an insignificant reduction.

Markets Have Seen This Movie Before

In other words, the Fed was trying to raise rates and reduce the balance sheet, and they were succeeding. But it all culminated on Dec. 24, 2018, in what I call the Christmas Eve Massacre.

The Fed sank the stock market. It fell 20% in 2½ months.

And that was after a long bull market from 2009–2018, when stocks tripled over that time period.

The lesson is that when the Fed tries to normalize, they can’t do it. They’re caught in a trap of their own creation, with no way out, or at least no easy way out without causing a lot of pain.

They’re about to make things worse with tightening into weakness, with tapering and with rate increases. The market already sees this coming because they’ve seen the movie before. They know how it ends.

And it ends poorly.

Tyler Durden Mon, 01/31/2022 - 06:30

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Diamond Prices Are Crashing, Forcing Russian Mining Giant To Halt Sales

Diamond Prices Are Crashing, Forcing Russian Mining Giant To Halt Sales

A surge in lab-grown diamonds flooding the market, coupled with a…



Diamond Prices Are Crashing, Forcing Russian Mining Giant To Halt Sales

A surge in lab-grown diamonds flooding the market, coupled with a decline in luxury spending, has forced Russian mining giant Alrosa PJSC to temporarily suspend rough diamond sales to prevent prices from crashing further. 

Bloomberg obtained a memo from Alrosa addressed to its customers, explaining rough diamond sales for September and October have been suspended as the company "strives to reverse the existing trend of diminishing demand." 

Diamonds, watches, and other jewelry soared during the pandemic and peaked in the first half of 2022. We have covered the Rolex boom and bust extensively and have turned our attention to crashing diamond prices in 2023:

Besides the luxury spending slowdown due to tapped-out consumers, man-made diamonds have been all the rage because these gems are only a fraction of the cost. The big fear of the natural diamond industry is starting to be realized as consumers accept lab-grown diamonds in rings. 

Edahn Golan, an independent diamond industry analyst, told CNN Business consumers are flocking to man-made diamonds because the most popular one-carat round man-made diamond for an engagement ring in March was $2,318. He said that's 73% cheaper than a natural diamond of the same size, cut, and clarity. 

The latest data from the Diamond Index via the International Diamond Exchange shows prices have crashed well below pre-Covid levels. 

Alrosa competes with De Beers, the biggest producer of diamonds, both of which have been rocked by a rough diamond sales slowdown this year after a massive boom during the pandemic. 

Last week, Reuters reported the Group of Seven (G7) nations might be preparing to reshape the global diamond supply chain by placing restrictions on Alrosa. 







Tyler Durden Fri, 09/22/2023 - 05:45

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Mark Velleca takes over at Black Diamond; Verve Therapeutics separates CMO, CSO posts

Mark Velleca
→ David M. Epstein is out as CEO of cancer player Black Diamond Therapeutics, which is putting chairman Mark Velleca in charge. This is…



Mark Velleca

David M. Epstein is out as CEO of cancer player Black Diamond Therapeutics, which is putting chairman Mark Velleca in charge. This is Velleca’s third CEO post in less than a decade after running G1 Therapeutics (2014-20) and StrideBio (2021-23). Epstein will still be on the board at Black Diamond, a company that hit the scene in 2018 with $20 million from Versant and quickly followed that up with an $85 million Series B in January 2019. Co-founded by Epstein (not to be confused with Seagen’s David R. Epstein) and Elizabeth Buck, Black Diamond made an impressive Nasdaq debut with an IPO that exceeded $200 million in 2020, but layoffs affected 30% of the staff two years later.

Andrew Bellinger

Verve Therapeutics has made an adjustment to the team as Andrew Bellinger concentrates on his CSO duties and Fred Fiedorek steps in as CMO. “Now is the right time to split the CMO and CSO roles with two, complementary industry leaders,” Verve CEO Sek Kathiresan said in a statement. “Verve’s tremendous progress over the last five years has been made possible by Andrew’s significant contributions in his joint role.”

Fiedorek held a series of executive positions in a 13-year span at Bristol Myers Squibb, culminating in his promotion to SVP and head of cardiovascular and metabolic development. He has previous CMO credits at Intarcia — where he also led global regulatory affairs — and Rhythm Pharmaceuticals. While Verve’s base editor VERVE-101 for heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia is stuck in neutral with a clinical hold in the US, Kathiresan’s crew inked a gene editing deal with Eli Lilly in June. Bellinger had been effectively juggling the CSO and CMO roles since “they started planning their Phase I studies,” a spokesperson tells Peer Review.

Nadir Mahmood

Rezo Therapeutics, a UCSF spinout chaired by ex-Biogen and Vir Biotechnology CEO George Scangos, has tapped Nadir Mahmood as CEO. Interim chief and co-founder Nevan Krogan, the director of UCSF’s Quantitative Biosciences Institute, will shift to the role of president. Mahmood became SVP, corporate development at Nkarta in 2018 and would later be promoted to chief financial and business officer for Paul Hastings’ crew before his first CEO job at Rezo, which made its debut in November 2022. SR One, a16z Bio + Health and Norwest Venture Partners helped lead the $78 million Series A, and Rezo’s co-founders also include Kronos Bio chief Norbert Bischofberger and UCSF’s Kevan Shokat.

Johanna Friedl-Naderer

→ Vir Biotechnology COO Johanna Friedl-Naderer is stepping down on Sept. 29, and an SEC filing says that Vir won’t be looking for a replacement. Friedl-Naderer is a 21-year Biogen veteran who started out as Vir’s CBO, global in March 2022.

→ Shares of Bausch Health $BHC dropped by as much as 9.5% after the announcement that CFO Tom Vadaketh will resign on Oct. 13. In the event that Bausch Health comes up empty in its CFO search, controller and chief accounting officer John Barresi will take over as finance chief.

Lauren White

Elahere maker ImmunoGen has recruited Lauren White as CFO. Peer Review regulars will know that White recently left C4 Therapeutics and Kendra Adams took over as finance chief on Sept. 18. Before she took the C4 job, White had a 10-year career with Novartis and was VP & global head of financial planning and analysis with the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research from 2017-21. ImmunoGen is hoping its Phase III data for Elahere in the MIRASOL trial will be enough to cross the finish line in the European market.

Minnie Kuo

BeiGene isn’t the only one that’s reclaimed the rights to a drug involved in a partnership with Novartis. Pliant Therapeutics and the Swiss pharma giant had teamed up on the NASH asset PLN-1474, but Novartis signaled that it was moving away from the indication before it officially pulled the plug on the alliance in February. As Pliant moves forward with its lead program bexotegrast in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and primary sclerosing cholangitis, Minnie Kuo has joined the team as chief development officer. Kuo is a Nektar and Gilead clinical operations vet who spent the last six years at Vir; she was promoted to SVP of translational and clinical development operations in 2021.

Eric Schneider

Pablo Legorreta’s Royalty Pharma has tapped Eric Schneider as chief technology officer. The Moody’s and Barclays alum held several leadership positions in his 11 years at Verisk, where he was recently chief data officer and chief technology officer. Royalty took a dip in the gene therapy pool when it forked over $300 million upfront for a 5.1% royalty on net sales of Ferring’s bladder cancer med Adstiladrin. “We’ve always got questions of: ‘When are you going to ever make a gene therapy investment?’” Royalty CFO Terrance Coyne said at the Morgan Stanley Global Healthcare Conference. “And what we said is: We’re going to be patient there. There’s a lot that we still need to understand. But this opportunity came along. The data is really remarkable.”

Lolita Petit

→ Paris-based gene therapy developer Coave Therapeutics has named J&J’s Lolita Petit as CSO. Petit just finished a two-year stint as director of gene therapy and delivery at Janssen and led the ocular platform team while she was with Spark from 2018-21. Coave is testing an AAV-based gene therapy for eye diseases like retinitis pigmentosa with PDE6b mutations. Spark’s Luxturna, on the other hand, was approved for a rare retinal disease that goes after mutations in the RPE65 gene.

→ Sticking with the theme of gene therapies for eye diseases, Nanoscope Therapeutics has introduced Samuel Barone as CMO. Barone had the same gig at Gemini Therapeutics before it merged with Disc Medicine last summer, and he’s the ex-SVP, clinical development for Adverum Biotechnologies. In March, Nanoscope unveiled Phase II data for its retinitis pigmentosa gene therapy MCO-010 that didn’t reach statistical significance.

Pierre-Alain Ruffieux

→ In a double whammy, Lonza lost two execs this week. Amid a drop in sales growth, CEO Pierre-Alain Ruffieux said Monday that he is waving goodbye to the CDMO at the end of this month. Chairman Albert Baehny is taking over for Ruffieux in the interim. Ruffieux spent nearly three years with the company, having jumped aboard in November 2020 from Roche. Meanwhile, Catalent also swooped in and nabbed David McErlane as its new biologics lead. McErlane had served as Lonza’s SVP and business unit head for the company’s bioscience business.

Deborah Moorad

→ Little-known in vivo gene editing biotech CorriXR Therapeutics has appointed Deborah Moorad as CEO. The Dentsply Sirona alum has been a chief executive at Lincoln, NE-based Nature Technology Corp, which was purchased by Aldevron, which was then acquired by Danaher. Moorad’s predecessor, co-founder Eric Kmiec, slides into the role of CSO at the ChristianaCare spinout.

John Orwin

Atreca president and CEO John Orwin is replacing Frazier managing partner Jamie Topper as chairman of the board at San Diego-based AnaptysBio. Orwin, the new chairman of CARGO Therapeutics, will also be principal financial officer for Atreca after CFO Herb Cross headed for the exit. Topper is giving up his seat on the board after nearly 16 years, eight of those as chairman, and he’ll be an advisor until the first quarter of 2024.

Birge Berns

Marie-Louise Fjällskog is leaving her role as CMO of Faron Pharmaceuticals, but she will stay with the company as a board member. Longtime J&J vet Birge Berns is succeeding Fjällskog as interim medical chief and will work out of the UK for the Finnish cancer biotech. Fjällskog came to Faron from her CMO post at Sensei Biotherapeutics in January 2022.

Steven Mennen

Ipsen’s acute myeloid leukemia partner Accent Therapeutics is putting an emphasis on three new execs this week: Jason Sager (CMO) is the ex-medical chief at Ikena Oncology — back when it was known as Kyn Therapeutics — and has also worked for Genentech, Novartis and Sanofi; Steven Mennen (VP of preclinical development) is a 10-year Amgen vet who left Fulcrum Therapeutics in April after four years as head of CMC; and Bayer alum Stuart Ince (VP of program leadership) has served as VP of program management with Tango Therapeutics.

→ Chaired by Gossamer Bio CEO Faheem Hasnain, Ann Arbor, MI-based thyroid eye disease biotech Sling Therapeutics has selected Raymond Douglas as CSO. Douglas is familiar with the area from his eight years at the University of Michigan as an ophthalmology professor and director of the school’s thyroid eye center. He’s an oculoplastic surgeon who has a private practice in Beverly Hills and was in charge of the orbital and thyroid eye disease programs at Cedars-Sinai.

Gerhard Hagn

→ While we’re thinking of thyroid eye disease, Tourmaline Bio is testing its lead candidate TOUR006 in the same indication and has welcomed Gerhard Hagn as SVP, head of commercial and business development. Hagn had a scrollable list of positions in a 20-year period at Pfizer before he moved to Gilead in 2019 as VP, head of inflammation, global commercial strategy. Starting in 2021, he expanded his role by leading Gilead’s liver franchise as well.

Sam Whiting

Tempest Therapeutics CMO Sam Whiting has taken on the additional role of R&D chief. Peer Review informed you about Whiting’s original appointment back in the fall of 2020, when he succeeded Tom Dubensky as Tempest’s medical leader. The California biotech touted Phase Ib/II data in April that showed seven of 40 patients had a confirmed response to its liver cancer treatment TPST-1120 in a combo with Tecentriq and Avastin, while only three of 29 patients had a confirmed response to Tecentriq and Avastin alone.

Daybue maker Acadia Pharmaceuticals has picked up Albert Kildani as SVP, investor relations and corporate communications. At Halozyme, another San Diego biotech, Kildani was the investor relations and corporate communications leader for nearly four years. Daybue made history in March by becoming the first-ever drug to receive an FDA approval for Rett syndrome.

John Yee

John Yee has been named SVP, medical affairs at Apnimed, the sleep apnea biotech that rang in 2023 with a $79.7 million raise that was stapled on to the original $62.5 million Series C in May 2022. The AstraZeneca and Vertex medical affairs vet is coming off a six-month sabbatical after three years as CMO of Sobi North America.

Gwyn Bebb

→ The CRO Parexel has rolled out the welcome mat for Gwyn Bebb as SVP and global therapeutic area head, oncology. Bebb joins the Durham, NC-based team from Amgen, where he was clinical research medical director in early- and late-stage oncology drug development. Bebb’s résumé also sports a stint as a professor at the department of medicine at the University of Calgary.

Constanze Guenther

ImmunOs Therapeutics, an immuno-oncology player that bagged a $74 million Series B in June 2022, has enlisted Constanze Guenther as SVP, CMC and technical development. Guenther ends her 13-year run at Novartis, where she was global portfolio head, cell therapy and also oversaw the manufacturing of Kymriah in Europe.

→ Amgen sales vet Marc-Andre Goldschmidt has landed at Amsterdam-based Avanzanite Bioscience as country manager of Germany. Goldschmidt was elevated to national sales manager of neurology during his six years at Alexion.

Ian Smith

→ After disappointing data for its Dravet syndrome drug STK-001 caused its shares $STOK to sink in July, Stoke Therapeutics has added former Vertex CFO and COO Ian Smith to the board of directors. Smith chairs the board at Solid Bio and is a senior advisor for Bain Capital Life Sciences.

Daphne Karydas

Flare Therapeutics president and CFO Daphne Karydas has picked up a pair of board appointments at Mineralys Therapeutics and Compass Pathways. Glenn Sblendorio, the former CEO of Astellas sub Iveric Bio, will join Karydas on the board of directors at Mineralys, the hypertension biotech that made a February debut on the Nasdaq in a once-barren IPO environment. New listings are popping up as market conditions gradually improve, like the ones we’ve seen with Neumora, RayzeBio and others.

→ Ex-Kymab CEO Simon Sturge has clinched a spot on the board of directors at Galapagos that was vacated by Mary Kerr. Sturge chairs the board at MoonLake Immunotherapeutics, the maker of an IL-17 inhibitor for hidradenitis suppurativa that has shown some promise in Phase II.

→ J&J’s bispecific partner Xencor has elected Barbara Klencke to the board of directors. Klencke was the CMO and chief development officer for Sierra Oncology until it was purchased by GSK for $1.9 billion, a deal that’s bearing fruit with the approval of JAK inhibitor Ojjaara, formerly known as momelotinib.

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FTX opens lawsuit against former employees of Hong Kong affiliate

The bankrupt crypto exchange FTX has opened a lawsuit against former employees of a Hong Kong affiliate company Salameda to recover $157.3 million.



The bankrupt crypto exchange FTX has opened a lawsuit against former employees of a Hong Kong affiliate company Salameda to recover $157.3 million.

The defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX filed a lawsuit on Sept. 21 against former employees of Hong Kong-incorporated company Salamde affiliated with the FTX group, according to court documents

The court filing says FTX seeks to recover $157.3 million that it claims was fraudulently withdrawn in the timespan leading up to the exchange filing for bankruptcy.

According to the filing, Michael Burgess, Matthew Burgess, Lesley Burgess - the mother of Michael and Matthew, Kevin Nguyen and Darren Wong, along with two companies allegedly had ownership of companies with registered accounts and and FTX US and were able to withdraw funds in the “preference period” prior to the actual bankruptcy filing.

The court filing reads:

“Each of these transfers to Defendant Michael Burgess was made with the intent to hinder, delay or defraud FTX US’s present or future creditors.”

It continues to point out that these transfers were completed hours prior to FTX halting all non-fiat user withdrawals on Nov. 8, 2022.

The allegations include that Mathew Burgess pressured FTX employees to “push out” particular pending withdrawal requisitions “from one of Michael Burgess’s FTX US exchange accounts, while misrepresenting the account to be his own.” It cited messages on the Slack application.

Related: Binance and CEO Changpeng Zhao ask court to dismiss SEC suit

This development comes as Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the former FTX CEO, sits in jail awaiting the first of his two-part trial, which is set to begin on Oct. 3, 2023. The second trail is anticipated for March 2024. 

On Sept. 21 judges decided against granting SBF early release from jail. He argued he couldn’t adequately prepare for trial from jail and said it violated his First Amendment Rights under the United States constitution.

However, on the same day, Judge Lewis Kaplan granted a motion proposed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) that bars testimony of SBF’s key witnesses.

Magazine: How to protect your crypto in a volatile market: Bitcoin OGs and experts weigh in

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