If today's market desperately needed some bad news, it got it moments ago when the July payrolls printed at 209K, below the 230K expected, and far below the June upward revised 298K (was 288K). Of note is that this is the 6th month in a row of 200K+ job gains, the longst since 1998 . Away from the establishment survey, the household survey showed an even worse print, with just 131K job growth in July, down from 407K in June, so if any algos are scrambling to convince themselves that the data was horrible, look at this. But is the momentum slowing enough to force the Fed to push QE back? The unemployment rate rose modestly from 6.1% to 6.2%, beating expectations of an unchanged print driven by a decline in the people out of the labor force from 92.1 million to 92.0 million while the labor force participation rate rose by a tiny 0.1% to 62.9%.
In an unscheduled release moments ago the Fed's Plosser just explained why he was the sole dissenter with the FOMC's announcement. Here is the punchline: "I cast a dissenting vote because I opposed retaining the statement language that reads "…it likely will be appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends." I viewed such language as an inappropriate characterization of the future path of policy and so may limit the Committee's flexibility going forward."... "In addition, the economy today is very close to achieving the central tendency outcomes for 2015 reported in the December 2013 Summary of Economic Projections. Specifically, the central tendency projection for unemployment at the end of 2015 was 5.8 to 6.1 percent, and that for inflation was between 1.5 and 2.0 percent. From this perspective, we are nearly 18 months ahead of where the Committee thought we would be just seven months ago." He concludes: "the Committee's statement does not appear to reflect what was once thought to be appropriate policy based on the behavior of unemployment and inflation."
Up until the last day of July, everything was going great: stocks were solidly up for the month, the DJIA was on the verge of 17,000, and the wealth effect was flourishing, if not the economy. Then yesterday happened, and everything changed: not only did the S&P turn red for the month, but the DJIA slid to red for 2014. So what is the best performing asset class in July? With the PBOC now openly unleashing QE in its economy, no surprise that it was the Shanghai Composite, which returned over 8%, if virtually nothing since 2009. However, don't expect this to last: for China real estate is orders of magnitude more important than the stock market to boost the wealth effect. As for the best returning assets class in 2014 YTD: don't laugh - it's still Spain and Italy. Expect the day of reckoning for Europe's periphery to be fast, unexpected and very brutal.
- As we predicted yesterday, the "big" Gaza ceasefire lasted all of a few hours (Reuters)
- To Lift Sales, G.M. Turns to Discounts (NYT)
- Espirito Santo Family’s Swift Fall From Grace Jolts Portugal (BBG)
- Argentine Debt Feud Finds Much Fault, Few Fixes (WSJ)
- Fiat Says Ciao to Italy as Merger With Chrysler Ends Era (BBG)
- Euro zone factory growth eases in July as inflation fades away (Reuters)
- CIA concedes it spied on U.S. Senate investigators, apologizes (Reuters)
- Ukraine Reports Losses After Pro-Russian Ambush Near Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 Crash Area (WSJ)
- U.S. says India refusal on WTO deal a wrong signal (Reuters)
- Why Putin Has 2006 Flash Before His Eyes After Sanctions (BBG)
If yesterday's selloff catalysts were largely obvious, if long overdue, in the form of the record collapse of Espirito Santo coupled with the Argentina default, German companies warning vocally about Russian exposure, the ongoing geopolitical escalations, and topped off by a labor costs rising and concerns this can accelerate a hiking cycle, overnight's latest dump, which started in Europe and has carried over into US futures is less easily explained although yet another weak European PMI print across the board probably didn't help. However, one can hardly blame largely unreliable "soft data" for what is rapidly becoming the biggest selloff in months and in reality what the market may be worried about is today's payroll number, due out in 90 minutes, which could lead to big Treasury jitters if it comes above the 230K expected: in fact, today is one of those days when horrible news would surely be great news for the momentum algos. Still, with futures down 0.6% at last check, it is worth noting that Treasurys are barely changed, as the great unrotation from stocks into bonds picks up and hence the great irony of any rate initiated sell off: should rates spike on growth/inflation concern, the concurrent equity selloff will once again push rates lower, and so on ad inf. Ain't central planning grand?
While many were amused by this photo of Putin and Merkel during the world cup final showing Europe's two most important leaders siding side by side, some were more curious by just what the two were scheming: Thanks to the Independent, we may know the answer, and it is a doozy, because according to some it is nothing shy of a sequel to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact: allegedly Germany and Russia have been working on a secret plan to broker a peaceful solution to end international tensions over the Ukraine, one which would negotiate to trade Crimea's sovereignty for guarantees on energy security and trade. The Independent reveals that the peace plan, being worked on by both Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin, "hinges on two main ambitions: stabilising the borders of Ukraine and providing the financially troubled country with a strong economic boost, particularly a new energy agreement ensuring security of gas supplies."
"Although the levitation of financial assets has yet to levitate gold, we will grit our collective teeth on that score and await either 'asset price justice' or the 'end times,' whichever comes first."
Saudi Arabia and its Medieval, inhumane monarchy remain just under the mainstream media's glare. The US government’s close alliance with this autocratic, homophobic and primitive fiefdom exposes the sham that is US foreign policy more clearly than anything else. In exposing this authoritarian regime for what it really is, we hope that the American public will never again fall for war under the guise of false “humanitarian” purposes. There is nothing whatsoever humanitarian about U.S. foreign policy.
Quietly, and without the drama associated with The Fed and ECB, China unveiled what looks like QE recently (as we discussed in detail here). Whether this is a stealth creation of a 'fannie-mae' structure to support housing or merely another channel for the PBOC to shovel out hole-filling liquidity is unclear. However, one thing is very clear, demand for CNY is surging (even as the PBOC weakens its fixing) and the Shanghai Composite is surging as hot money chases free money once again...
There is a growing certainty in the global economic outlook that is deeply alarming. The welfare-driven nations continue to impoverish their people by debauching their currencies. As Japan’s desperate monetary expansion now shows, far from improving her economic outlook, she is moving into a deepening slump, for which this article provides the explanation. Unfortunately we are all on the path to the same destructive process.
China PMI Jumps To 2 Year Highs (Jobs Contract For 27 Months), Japan PMI Slips (Jobs Worst In 11 Months)Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/31/2014 - 21:51
China's official manufacturing PMI beat expectations by the most since Nov 2013 and jumped to its highest since April 2012 - sure it did after all the forget-the-reforms liquidity, QE-lite, and local government spending dragged forward. Perhaps worryingly the steel industry saw domestic and export new orders crater (from 55.7 to 48.2 in July). The employment sub-index fell once again (now in contraction since May 2012) as large enterprises dominated the upbeat report (medium and small clinging to 50.1 PMIs). Japan's PMI dropped for the first time in 3 months from 50.8 to 50.5 with output contracting and payrolls only marginally positive (slowest since August 2013). And then to end the night, Markit/HSBC's China Manufacturing PMI drops from its Flash 52.0 to 51.7 - perfectly in line with the government's data.
It appears - judging by today's shenanigans - that good news for Main Street (rising employment costs) is bad news (for stocks), though obviously there are other factors; but tomorrow's payrolls data is the last best hope before the Fed finishes its taper for them to pull a 'data-driven' U-turn out of the bag. Consensus is for a drop from last month's exuberance at 288k to 230k (with Barclays slightly cold and Deutsche slightly hot). The fear, for market bulls, is that the print is anti-goldilocks now - not bad enough to provide excuses for lower-longer Fed rates; and not high enough to justify the hockey-stick of miraculous H2 growth priced into stocks. Average S&P gains on NFP Friday are 0.5% but recently have become more noisy.