Just days after President Obama infuriated some in the intelligence and defense communities with comments that "they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria," The Government Accountability Institute, a watchdog non-profit organization, found that as of Sept. 29, the President had attended only 42.4% of Presidential Daily Briefs (PDB) during his first term and 41.3% during his second term. As one former official blasted, "either the president doesn't read the intelligence he's getting or he's bullshitting."
As PMI manufacturing surveys are released around the world, we get an early read on the state of glkobal manufacturing. As the below table shows, out of the 25 countries that have reported so far, 8 reported improvements in their manufacturing sectors in September, while 15 recorded a weakening, and 2 remained unchanged.
Just a day after Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, in a televised speech, accused central bank employees of helping local bankers to speculate against the Argentine peso in hopes of forcing the government to devalue the currency, Juan Carlos Fabrega - the head of Argentina's Central Bank - has quit. As WSJ reports, unable to borrow abroad due to a legal dispute with creditors, Mrs. Kirchner has relied on money printing to cover spending deficits at the expense of inflation that is thought to be around 40%; and it appears the sanity of Mr. Fabrega was too much to bear for Kirchner (and Kiciloff - who had reportedly clashed with the Central Banker also). The reaction - not good - the stock index collapsed over 8%, bond yields spiked and the black-market peso dumped to record lows at 15.65 to the USD (drastically worse than the 8.51 official peso rate).
We warned five weeks ago of the potential economic damage that the Ebola virus could do to West African economies, and now it appears The IMF, The World Bank, and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization have warned that Liberia and other West African economies, as WaPo reports, begun a frightening descent into economic hell. Fear that "that people would abandon the fields and factories, that food and fuel would become scarce and unaffordable, and that the government’s already meager capacity to help, along with the nation’s prospects for a better future, would be severely compromised" are no longer scenarios - they are real! Annual inflation rates have doubled, fuel sales are down 35%, Liberia's productivity is down 50-75%, and "micro-trade" financing is "completely depleted."
Another day, another unintended consequence of the socialist state's eagerness to "make things better" for everyone, blowing up in its face.
Today in the Land of the Free, everyone is required to pay into the Social Security system, and over 90% of students go to public schools. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the state is exerting its control over your medical care. And now with a new bill comes the crown jewel of state employment. Presenting Senate Bill 2726: the Strengthening Forgiveness for Public Servants Act. If passed, the bill aims to get young people into government employment by promising to forgive their student loan debt. Somewhere Otto von Bismarck is smiling.
He's back. A month after Appaloosa's David Tepper explained the end of the bond bull market was here (and 10Y rates are now 5bps lower), the trend-following master-of-the-universe explained to Bloomberg TV's Stephanie Ruhle and Erik Schatzker how the departure of Bill Gross from PIMCO was "nothing... who cares?"; why "the US economy is pretty good", how junk bonds are at "fair value" and stocks are cheap as "multiples are not high." Finally he explains how he "wished he didn't have any investment" in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and clarifies in his billionaire-all-knowing-ness how he is sure the United States can contain Ebola.
While all the western banks are clearly envious at the facility with which Zimbabwe managed to hyperinflate away its debt mountain after simply printing a few trillion in fiat monetary equivalents, which instead of the stock market hit the broader economy, there is much more the "developed" world can learn and is learning from Robert Mugabe domain of experimental yet practical monetarism.
Well that escalated quickly. It appears "bad-news-is-bad-news" once again as ADP was the only saving grace and was just not bad enough to be good (or good enough to comfort escape-velocity-believers). For the 3rd day in a row, stocks saw an opening dump, European close pump, afternoon slump - this time led lower by Trannies (dragged lower by Ebola-scared airlines) down 2.5% (worst in 8 months). The Dow is rapidly approaching unch for the year. Treasury yields collapsed today (2Y -4bps, 30Y -9bps) with 7Y -13bps on the week. 10Y Yield closed at 2.43% with its biggest day move in 13 months. Gold rose modestly as silver and WTI crude plunged once again post-EU close. The USDdollar flatlined amid the carnage in bonds, stocks, and commodities. Lots of potential catalysts for today's weakness but desk chatter about Goldman questioning US growth was notable (as they closed out their growth basket). The Russell 2000 'closed' in 10% correction.
Noting that is "in the best interest" of the US, Secret Service Director Julia Pierson has resigned following 'fence-jumper'-gate. While "disappointed" she could implement reforms (of her own policies?) she felt it was the "noble thing to do." In the full statement below, they are careful to point out just how great the Secret Service is "there is no other protection service in the world" like them, they modestly note. Nope, none indeed. Ironically, as she resigns, the White House intruder just plead "not guilty."
With just $10 billion of freshly-printed money left (plus reinvested maturing debt) the Fed is rapidly running out of put-providing, VIX-selling, low-volume-levitating ammunition to keep the wealth-creation dream alive. Nowhere is that more evident in the collapse in equity market breadth. NYSE New Lows have surged to 14-month highs and the spread to New Highs is weakest since August 2013. Of course, back then, equity bulls could rely on a guaranteed 'flow' from the Fed to BTFD, this time that backstop does not exist.
You have heard of the "No Fly List", right? Well, now the Tories are pledging that if they win the next election in the UK they will establish a list of “extremists” that will have to have their social media posts “approved in advance by the police” before they post them. There are also plans to ban “extremists” from broadcasting and speaking at public events. The stated goal of these proposals is to crack down on terrorism, but in the process the civil liberties of the British people are going to be flushed down the toilet. To help explain, below is a list of 72 types of Americans that are considered to be “extremists” and “potential terrorists” in official U.S. government documents.
Just 2 short weeks ago, Goldman nervously admitted that possibly perhaps maybe their Global Leading Indicator was indicating a "slowdown" was coming, but remained hopeful that the rest of the month would see data pick up and prove them wrong. Now that the final data has been released for the various components of the index, the 'exuberant' recovery of the last few months has been massively revised lower. As Goldman itself notes, the September Final GLI came in at 2.6% YoY, providing a clear signal of "Slowdown", with the data now in hand further suggesting that the GLI first may have entered the ‘Slowdown’ phase back in July.
So not surprisingly, today brings the latest hedge fund unwind, with the WSJ reporting that $6 billion veteran acitivst hedge fund Relational Investors LLC, plans to wind down its operations and dissolve its current funds by the end of next year, according to people familiar with the matter. The reason? The same reason why Jamie Dimon is about to quit the financial industry any second: the firm's co-founder and public face, Ralph Whitworth, has throat cancer and while he said he was taking a leave of absence in July, he appears to have changed his mind and made it permanent.