After a brief dead cat bounce, the US services economy has tumbled back to 3-month (near 7 year) lows, missing expectations by the most on record. With the slowest pace of hiring since Dec 2014 (signalling a mere 128k rise in payrolls for May), business optimism plunged to record lows (since the survey began in Oct 2009). As Markit concludes, the May data "deals a blow to hopes that the US economy will rebound in the second quarter after the dismal start to the year."
"Anybody who's short - and there are a lot of smart people who are in fact heavily short - they have to run for cover, and I think it could get ugly. In our account here, we quite literally were grasping for almost anything we could to reverse our position. Covering… or actually greatly reducing… our short position in the derivatives market was the first course of action.... We’ve learned over the years that when such things occur it is better to “shoot first and ask questions later."
A real-estate firm that has been a favored investment of Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. is under investigation by federal law-enforcement officials for alleged accounting fraud. The FBI and the SEC are focusing their examination of CBL & Associates Properties on whether officials at the Chattanooga, Tenn., company falsified information on financial statements to banks when applying for financing arrangements. The FBI and SEC are also inquiring into the trades of Bob Corker who has made millions of dollars in profits trading the company’s stock in recent years
Follow EM or not? That is the big question that BofAML asks as once again Emerging Market stocks are decoupling (lower) from an exuberant US equity market.
Tiffany reported its steepest sales drop in six quarters, missing analysts' estimates, as a strong dollar discouraged tourists from buying its high-end jewelry and ate into revenue from markets outside the United States. "We faced numerous challenges, including continued pressure from foreign tourist spending in Europe, the U.S. and Asia, particularly in Hong Kong."
In early June the Swiss will be called upon to make a historic decision. Switzerland is the first country worldwide to put the idea of an Unconditional Basic Income (of $2,500 per month for every man, woman, and child for doing absolutely nothing) to a vote and the outcome of this referendum will set a strong precedent and establish a landmark in the evolution of this debate. The main argument of the supporters of this initiative is that it would support the people that will, or already do, lose their jobs to automation and technological progress; a defensive move against “the rise of the robots” as they put it. The promise of a free lunch is by no means a new thing in politics. Getting “something for nothing” is an age-old shiny trinket that has been dangled before the eyes of the public since time immemorial...but at the end of day, someone will have to pay for it.
- Oil nudges $50 a barrel as investors bet on shrinking overhang (Reuters)
- From hinterland to wonderland: China's 'teapot' refinery boomtowns (Reuters)
- Peter Thiel Has Been Secretly Funding Hulk Hogan's Lawsuits Against Gawker (Forbes)
- China Wants to Set Prices for the World's Commodities (BBG)
- Big Banks Ladle On the Risk (WSJ)
- China Said to Plan Asking U.S. on Timing of Fed Rate Hike (BBG)
Jeffrey Gundlach, the chief executive officer of DoubleLine Capital, said on Tuesday that the rally in U.S. stocks, which began on Monday, feels like a short squeeze and characterized U.S. stocks as "dead money." He added that "all that matters is Yellen. She is still there. I feel like we are back in December again, where everyone thinks that there is a super secret that some Fed officials have this knowledge that the economy is really good."
The single biggest event overnight was the PBOC's devaluation of the Yuan to the lowest since March 2011, setting the fixing at 6.5693, the highest in over 5 years and in direct response to a stronger dollar, which however if one looks at the DXY remains well below the recent highs in the 100 range, suggesting for China this is only just beggining. However, the fact that there was not more volatility in onshore and offshore overnight FX also comforted the market that at the same time as its was devaluing the PBOC was also intervening in the FX market, thus providing some assurance it would not allow runaway "risk off" sentiment prevail, nor would it promote another blitz round of capital outflows, leading to another gradual levitation in overnight risk.
By now we are accustomed to hearing about US spy planes flying recon missions that are either infringing or extremely close to infringing on the borders of other countries - especially Russian borders. A US defense attache has been summoned by Russia's Defense Ministry to explain why a US spy plane was not only flying close to Russia's border on Sunday, but dangerously close to civilian aircraft as well.
It’s enough to make you sick.
The ultimate goal of China's latest Five-Year-Plan is to overtake Germany, Japan, and the United States in terms of manufacturing sophistication. To make that happen, the government needs Chinese manufacturers to adopt robots by the millions. The manufacturing hub for the electronics industry, Kunshan, in Jiangsu province is proving that that initiative is well underway. The transition from human to robot workers may upend Chinese society. “You can make the argument that robotic technology is the way to save manufacturing in China,” says Yasheng Huang, a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. “But China also has a huge labor force. What are you going to do with them?” For now, that question remains unanswered, but that won't stop from unleashing the biggest robotic revolution seen in recent years.