While only 'humanitarian adviser' boots on the ground are present in Iraq (and Syria), Reuters reports that preparations are under way near Ukraine's western border for a joint military exercise this month with more than 1,000 troops from the United States and its allies. As Obama told reporters last week, "that a military solution to this problem is not going to be forthcoming," it seems a little odd 'strategically' to go ahead with the Rapid Trident exercise Sept. 16-26 as a sign of the commitment of NATO states to support non-NATO member Ukraine, entailing the first significant deployment of U.S. and other personnel to Ukraine since the crisis erupted.
As Jon Williams reports, in "Second Message to America" warning governments to back off "this evil alliance with America," the British ISIS 'executioner' says "Obama I'm back..." warns Obama "as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike necks of your people."
Sotloff asks "why paying price of your interference with my life."
Across California, reservoirs are running dry as the drought continues to weigh dramatically on many parts of the economy. The following map, showing the dismally low levels of reservoirs in all their horrible glory could be the scariest drought map yet...
Having singularly failed to reform or restructure their dilapidated economies, many governments throughout the West have left it to their central banks to keep a now exhausted credit bubble to inflate further. Unprecedented monetary stimulus and the suppression of interest rates have now boxed both central bankers and many investors into a corner. Bond markets now have no value but could yet get even more delusional in terms of price and yield. Stock markets are looking increasingly irrational relative to the health of their underlying economies. The euro zone looks set to re-enter recession and now expects the ECB to unveil outright quantitative easing. If the West wishes to regain its economic vigour versus Asia, it would do well to remember what made it so culturally and economically exceptional in the first place. We seem to be close to the endgame.
Today was a significant day for many markets. For the 7th time in the last 8 months, US Treasuries opened the month with weakness (30Y up 8.5bps, 2Y +3bps from Friday). Significant JPY and GBP weakness pushed the USD Index to fresh 14-month highs (+0.25% on the week). USD strength smacked gold (-$20 to $1265), silver, and crude oil significantly lower (WTI under $93 and Brent testing towards $100, both down over $3). US equities decoupled (lower) from VIX and JPY-carry around the European close after hitting new all-time highs in the early session (over 2,006 for S&P Futs). Volume was better (but then it was a down day). Despite oil weakness, Trannies took off leading the day (with Dow and S&P closing lower from Friday). Credit traded with stocks for most of the day but ignored the late-day VWAP ramp in the S&P, closing at its wides. The ubiquitous late-day buying panic saved S&P 2,000... because it can.
Here are some of the choice excerpts from the man who is baffled by a new effort to punish him, proud of past triumphs and incensed by criticism: “You’ll have to ask those people, ‘What do you have against Mozilo, what did he do?’” he said in a 30-minute call with Bloomberg News before Labor Day, one of his few interviews since the firm’s downfall. “Countrywide didn’t change. I didn’t change. The world changed.” Mozilo doesn’t understand why he and his firm, blamed by lawmakers and authorities for lax underwriting and predatory lending, have been seen as villains. “No, no, no, we didn’t do anything wrong,” he said, adding that a real estate collapse was the root of the crisis. “Countrywide or Mozilo didn’t cause any of that.” Yes, the Moz talks about himself in the third person.
Do you believe in miracles? Morgan Stanley's Adam Parker does, having given up on his sane bearish case long ago, he now predicts S&P to 3,000 because "if we get EPS growth of 6% per year from 2015-2020, that would drive S&P500 earnings to near $170; a 17x multiple would translate into a peak level for the S&P500 near 3000 under this scenario." So, just some simple math, eh? But he does add, "of course, no one can predict unforeseen shocks to the economy," but they will never happen, right?
Now that the financial oligarchs have had their way with the U.S. property market, to the point that average citizens can’t even afford to own a home (Zillow recently showed that 1 in 3 homes are unaffordable), it appears they have turned their sights overseas. What better market for bailed-out bankers to feast on than Spain, with its 50%+ youth unemployment rate and a continued depressed real estate market.
While it is unclear if August's exuberant buy-it-all strategy will hold for September, the following chart from BofA should raise a few eyebrows. In August, practically all the gains for bonds (yield compression) occurred in the overnight session (from 8pmET to 6amET)...
When it comes to keeping track of China's economy, one can listen, and ignore, the official goalseeked and made-up-on-the-fly data released by the government, or one can simply observe the price dynamics of the all-important Chinese commodities sector (because with fixed investment accounting for well over 50% of GDP, the marginal price of the commodities that are used in capital investment tell us all we need to know about the true state of the Chinese economy). It is here where we find that contrary to the recent performance of the Shanghai Composite, which has been trading exclusively on the coattails of the most recent unofficial QE by the PBOC, commodity prices in China are actually crashing across the board, which in turn suggest that the real GDP is most likely anywhere between 20% and 60%, if not more, below the "official" 7.5% GDP print.
“Everyone in the country was in shock. People’s net worth had devalued more than 53% overnight.”
Looking back, it was so obvious. But most people ignored the warning signs following the government's reassurances that all would be well... It’s human nature to want to believe that everything is going to be OK. Are we so different today?
As we discussed yesterday, Vladimir Putin's apparent 'threat' to EU's Barroso that "If I want to, I can take Kiev in two weeks," prompted both anger and response as NATO reacted by stating a new "spearhead" force of 3-5,000 troops would be flown in to combat any (further) Russian aggression. However, Russia is not happy that the EC President leaked the conversation with Putin's aide Ushakov stating that recounting the private conversation was "inappropriate," "undiplomatic," and "unworthy of a serious political player." More troublingly, the cold-war-tension-like escalation from NATO has prompted Russia to revise its military doctrine to account for “changing military dangers and military threats.”
"Good news" it would appear in the exuberant ISM and construction data, has morphed into bad news now that Europe has closed and US equities are tumbling. Despite the best efforts of VIX and JPY, the S&P 500 cash index just broke below the crucial 2,000 level.
It has been a bad year for Malaysian Airlines: following the disappearance of MH-370 (which to our knowledge still hasn't been found), and the crash of MH-17 (which to our knowledge still hasn't had its Kiev ATC recordings released) the country's national carrier reported it would be delisted, and nationalized, with a follow up report last week that some 6,000 workers would be laid off to enjoy the recovery "confirmed" by the market's all time highs on their own. The year not only got worse, but outright bizarre, macabre and morbid following a marketing ploy revealed last week in which would-be passengers were given a chance to win a ticket if only they shared their... bucket list?
The weekend's headlines reeled from the collapse in global manufacturing PMIs and with them the last best hope for the world's economies to reach escape velocity all on their own. However, there was one nation that did not plunge... there was one country whose growth (based on the soft survey data) is at 10-month highs. Perhaps this is the chart that President 'we need moar sanctions and costs' Obama does not want Angela 'umm, wait a minute' Merkel to see...