Registered Investment Adviser Caleb Lawrence
The major averages surged at the open on little news and enter the final hour with very large gains as the Volatility Index or VIX retreats to test 25. This despite early losses in Asia to begin the week. A critical one to be sure as the recent selling did considerable damage to leveraged positions that threaten deeper selling should it continue.
With 2017 in the history books it marked the worst year for retail store closings and layoffs this millennium. 2018 is off to a wobbly start as Sears continues to circle the drain as it struggles with sales declines and excessive debt levels. Bon-Ton looks to file bankruptcy along with Stein-Mart and Nine West.
RBS or the Royal Bank of Scotland was one of the banks bailed out not only by our own Federal Reserve but also extensively by the English equivalent the Bank of England after the 2007-2009 crisis. In the post bailout period the bank abused its position of creditor to force tens of thousands small businesses into bankruptcy, so it could seize assets and pad its balance sheet. We now find out that the bank was also involved in wholesale forgery of client signatures in the interest of larceny, with its Project Dash for Cash program. Like Wells Fargo and the other multinational banks here in the US. The business model of lie, cheat and steal has been taken to such a level that these banks are arguably economically destructive on the whole, at the macro level. As the culture of wonton lawlessness permitted by the regulators is allowing these institutions to profit handsomely from their malfeasance. Given the now long-term trend of more small businesses closing each year than being started. All of the real estate title shenanigans seen in the post 2009 financial crisis period. Never mind the endless parade of assorted scandals that preyed on consumers and businesses since and you have to wonder just how is it that very large numbers of banksters haven’t been thrown in jail. As that seems to be the only thing that is going to put a stop to the lie, cheat, and steal business model.