Billions of dollars have already been lost in just a few days, since everybody realized the UK may actually split up. Many more billions will be lost in the coming week, as measures of volatility go through the roof. Neither the Yes side nor the No side have gone into this thing terribly prepared; there are a zillion questions surrounding the independence issue that won’t be solved before the vote takes place. Passports, currencies, central banks, monetary unions, there’s too much even to mention. Somewhere, emanating from the old crypts and burrows in which Britain was founded, we fear a hideous force may emerge to crush the Scottish people’s desire for self-determination, if only because that desire is a major threat to some very rich and powerful entities who found themselves as unprepared as Downing Street 10.
While hardly able to match the wit, sophistry or, allegedly, satire of yesterday's MarketWatch grandslam in market insight "Why This Stock Market Will Never Go Down", we are confident readers will enjoy the following interview from none other than the Nobel prize winner in Keynesianomics, Paul Krugman, who in this interview with Princeton Magazine, had some comments on bubbles, inflation, student loans, minimum wages, artificially low rates, the Fed's dual mandate, and, of all things, Bitcoin.
Today's markets exist in an Oz-like, fantasy world. For 5 years now, stock and bond prices have risen like Dorothy's balloon, with hardly a puff of downdraft to spoil the fun. Everybody likes higher prices, so let's have them always go up! Forever! But what if...
European financial markets are still "partying their heads off," notes Punk Economics' David McWilliams, as even countries like Italy, Spain, Greece, and Ireland "are issuing more and more IOUs at lower and lower interest rates, " as investors "drunk on years of easy profits, seem to think that risk has all but disappeared." They are wrong! Right now, McWilliams explains in this brief clip, "there is a massive signal failure between the reality of the European economy - which is low growth, aging population, and falling prices - and the financial markets which are telling us everything is rosy." This can't last... here's why.
Just a few hours ahead of President Obama's strategy oration, we thought worth noting that Americans' trust in the federal government to handle international problems has fallen to a record-low 43%. According to Gallup, confidence in the government to handle international problems slid 17 percentage points last year, when the Obama administration was planning military action against Syria. Unsurprisingly, Democrats remain the most confident in the government as Republicans' faith has collapsed. But it's not just international, only 40% of Americans have any confidence that government can handle domestic problems - also a record low.
The dashing of youthful expectations of open-ended wealth and security for everyone with a college degree is highly combustible when combined with a popping real estate bubble, systemic corruption, the implosion of a shadow banking credit bubble and the impending global recession.
Deutsche Bank's Torsten Slok summarizes the various factors driving interest rates up (and down) noting that even if The Fed turns hawkish, other factors remain crucial narratives for lower long-term rates... most notably #6: 'Recovery Hope' Exhaustion.
The current environment is distinct from the period of 2009-2013 when governments and central banks were quasi-coordinated in providing gargantuan amounts of stimulus, and when the geo-tensions were only chirping modestly. This year, governments and central banks have focused more generally on domestic issues. This is good in theory, but it has splintered coordination into a quasi-fracturing of the global monetary system. Diverging policies serve as a trigger for capital flow movements. They are shaking the foundation of capital markets, which in turn is causing second order effects like a mini-contagion. Amplified volatility in FX and commodity markets are warning signs. They appear on the cusp of spilling more broadly into other markets, exposing the full size of the iceberg.
In a world of no consequences and where lying is justified "when it's serious enough," it is hardly surprising that mere hours after stating unequivocally that none of the law enforcement entities the league approached "was permitted to provide any video or other investigatory material to us," AP reports that, in fact, a law enforcement official says he sent a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive five months ago. More lies - but then we are sure, just as we have heard many times before, Roger Goodell was 'unaware' of the situation...
"The bubble probably needs to continue in order to sustain the current global financial system and the necessary future deleveraging. However with yields moving ever lower in many parts of the world in recent times, partly due to weak growth, and with debt levels still moving higher, the chances are that most government bondholders are unlikely to achieve a positive real return over the medium to long-term from this starting point. Inflation or even the risk of sovereign restructuring will likely prevent this."
It appears that, in a rush to get his strategy out the door, President Obama overlooked his key "do nothing stupid" foreign policy plan.
- OBAMA SAID TO SEEK CONGRESS AUTHORITY TO ARM SYRIAN REBELS
So - to be clear - the strategy to defeat ISIS is to arm more of the same "rebels" that ultimately split off and became, well, ISIS?
Today's v-shaped recovery in US equities was brought to you by the number 107 (USDJPY target) and the words "Scottish poll" which showed a majority of "no"s this afternoon. Early weakness in stocks (but not in Treasuries) reversed almost perfectly as Europe closed and JPY started to ramp towards the next logical stop run at 107.00. Nasdaq led the way (as AAPLites swept back in) and pushed into the green for the week (while the rest are still red). Treasury yields rose on the day, led by the long-end (30Y +3bps) stalling some of yesterday's flattening (5Y +9bps on the week). GBP rallied notably after the "no" poll which kept pressure on the USD (closing practically unch on the day). Gold, silver, and oil slipped lower as US woke up then stabilized. Credit spreads compressed on the day but not as exuberantly as stocks even as VIX dropped back under 13 again. For the 2nd day in a row, the S&P 500 closed below 2,000 - turmoil?
Every three years the Federal Reserve releases a survey of consumer finances that is a stockpile of data on everything from household net worth to incomes. A major mainstream media theme has been that the surging stock market, driven by the Federal Reserve's monetary interventions, has provided a boost to the overall economy. However, given that the bulk of the population either does not, or only marginally, participates in the financial markets, the "boost" has remained concentrated in the upper 10%. The Federal Reserve study breaks the data down in several ways, but the story remains the same...