"I just get annoyed with the ridiculous foolishness of people. We’ve got to start using our own brains. The Fed stopped using any benchmarks because while the benchmarks were improving, the economy wasn’t and isn’t. And so they were being railroaded by the transparency that benchmarks provide. And now it is just a black box of various indicators that will be analyzed in real time to form justifiable actions, far too complex for you and I but trust them that there is a definite method and it’s very quantifiable at that, they just can’t tell us what it is because it would just confuse everyone. Does anyone really not get it?? What is happening is the grandest con job in the history of the world."
For the second time in 2 days, a Chinese car maker's stock has been utterly devastated overnight - on absolutely no news. Shares in BYD - the Chinese electric car maker part-owned by Warren Buffett - crashed 47% in a bout of total panic selling (before recovering modestly), just a day after Geely - another car maker - crashed 22% on an earnings warning. The reason - perhaps unsurprising - given by some is worries over Mainland China IPOs "caused a liquidity squeeze," as the recent rally in mainland shares is led by leverage financing leading to major margin-calls on modest drops. Is it any wonder the PBOC is trying to tamp down the speculation.
The drop in oil prices is certain to cause some incremental unemployment in the U.S. energy industry; the question is simply how much and what that means for the American economy as a whole.
500 Dow points (and 80 S&P points) later... and suddenly the exuberant short squeeze ends (as AUDJPY runs out of steam). WTI Crude has crashed back to $55.50 after testing $59. The Energy ETF XLE has given up all its gains (who could have seen that coming?). And HY credit markets have slumped from the US open with stocks now catching down...
Because "fun-durr-mentals." Oil prices are now lower on the day, and significantly off the highs...but energy stocks are surging. While energy credit spreads are tighter, the move in energy stocks is exuberant to say the least.
Crude prices surged from $56.50 to $59 after Saudi Oil Minister al-Naimi comments that, as Bloomberg reports, the global oil markets are experiencing "temporary" instability caused mainly by a slowdown in the world economy, sabre-rattling that increased supply from regions outside OPEC (cough US cough), where oil-production costs are higher, is affecting the market. However, between his comments on no production cuts (and rising exports) and the UAE Oil Minister then confirming OPEC will not change output levels and has no intention of holding an emergency OPEC meeting, crude prices have plunged back down below $57. Energy stocks don't care though...
What a farce. After printing 40.8 in November - a 21 year high - Philly Fed collapsed back to 24.5 (missing expectations of 26.0). New Orders, employment (lowest since April), and the workweek plunged as The Philly Fed notes the survey suggests a slower pace of expansion of the region’s manufacturing sector. Despite plunging oil prices, the prices paid index only fell modestly... on the heels of the PMIs, it appears the "US economy is awesome" meme is coming unglued rapidly.
"Q4 GDP Below 2%, December Payrolls Under 200,000" Markit Warns As Service PMI Crashes To 10-Month LowSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/18/2014 - 09:54
"Another bumper month of non-farm payroll growth looks unlikely in December, with private sector payroll growth unlikely to breach the 200,000 mark," warns Markit after The US Services PMI plunged to 53.6, missing expectations of 56.3 by the most on record. This is the 6th straight month of declines. Job creation slumped to 8-month lows. The Composite (Services & Manufacturing) PMI plunged to its lowest level since October 2013. Still exuberant? Still hopeful? Here's Markit's summary, "A sharp slowing in service sector activity alongside a similar easing in the manufacturing sector takes the overall rate of economic expansion down to the weakest since October 2013. The extent of the slowdown suggests that economic growth in the fourth quarter could come in below 2%"
Swiss Central Bank Plunges Into NIRP, Sends Deposit Rates Negative, Scrambles Against Safe-Haven Capital FlightSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/18/2014 - 09:43
Everyone thought that any major monetary policy surprises and/or capital controls today would come from Putin during his annual press conference. Boy were they wrong: just after 2 am Eastern, none other than the Swiss National Bank joined the ranks of the ECB in scrambling to stem the wave of capital flight, not to mention the cost of money, when it announced it too would start charging customers for the privilege of holding cash in its banks, when it revealed a negative, -0.25% interest rate on sight deposits: a step which according to the SNB was critical in maintaining the 1.20 EURCHF floor.
Putting it in a bigger picture context, CAT's global sales have now declined for a record 24 consecutive months, thanks to the "Great Recovery." By comparison the number of months of consecutive declines during the great financial crisis? 19, which means that for CAT, the Great Recovery is now 25% worse than the Great Recession. And counting.
To say that gold is in a bear market is to misunderstand both gold and markets. Gold isn’t an investment that goes up and down. It is money in the most basic store-of-value sense. Most of the time it just sits there, and when its price changes in local currency terms that says more about the local currency than about gold. But when currencies collapse, gold shines.
Having started at noon Moscow time (4am Eastern), Putin's annual Q&A run for a massive three and a half hours, during which the Russian leader took numerous questions from the public and as expected, reiterated the key "rally around the flag" talking points that have permeated Russian rhetoric over the past few weeks as the economic situation in Russia deteriorated. As Bloomberg notes, the conference was attended by hundreds of reporters and carried live on television around the world, the event took on heightened importance this year as the president sought to reassure a Russian public unnerved by the ruble’s plummet. While he did acknowledge the difficult economic reality, Putin sought to reassure his countrymen that the current weakness "would last no longer than two years." Putin promptly pivoted against the west and accused the U.S. and European Union of trying to undermine his country and blaming external factors for the sharp plunge in the ruble, notably the drop in oil saying that “the economy will naturally adapt to the new conditions of low oil prices.”
We are sure this data is entirely dependable but when continuing jobless claims spike over 6% last week and collapse almost 6% this week - and the labor department says there is nothing unusual - we hold our hands up and laugh. Continuing claims printed 2.37mm (beating expectations) and initial claims dropped 6k to 289k (beating expectations). But the most critical aspect of today's report is the one-week-delayed details on which states saw a rise in initial claims - Pennsylvania: 12,302 and Texas 9,107 - both major Shale states. Has the job-culling, cost-cutting started?