It appears concerns over Erste Bank are reducing investor risk appetites in Europe despite Draghi's promise to catch every falling knife forever... EuroStoxx Banks closed down over 2% - their biggest drop in 7 weeks. This led to broad weaknes across European stocks (down 0.5% and closing at their lows led by Spain and Italy; and late weakness in Sweden's OMX). Peripheral bond spreads nudged wider. Perhaps most notably the European financial credit spreads widened modestly but remain dramatically disconnected to financial stocks.
The most dangerous organization is the now French led IMF with Christine Lagarde at the helm, which has presented a concept report in which 'debt cuts for over-indebted states are uncompromising' and are to be performed more effectively in the future by defaulting on retirement accounts held in life insurance, mutual funds and other types of pension schemes, or arbitrarily extending debt perpetually so you cannot redeem. Yes you read correctly, The new IMF paper describes in great detail exactly how to now allow the private sector, which has invested in government bonds, will be expropriated to pay for the national debts of the socialist governments. This far-reaching plan for the expropriation of savers, investors and retirees clearly shows the reality of socialism.
Anyone hoping for a resolution of the biggest economic conundrum of modern times will have to wait. What is the conundrum you ask? Simple: whether or not extreme adverse weather is positive or negative for GDP. It appears that any expectation Arthur would devastate the east coast, with either positive or negative GDP consequences, has been cancelled. Because not only has Arthur just been lowered to a Category 1 hurricane from 2, but now appears to be moving away from the east coast entirely.
JPM's latest (and certainly not least) prophecy for the full year GDP: precisely one half of what it expected 6 months ago, or just 1.4%, following a cut to Q2 GDP to 2.5% from 3.0% (which means negative growth for the entire first half, something in a less insane world would be called a recession), while keeping Q3 and Q4 GDP miraculously at 3.0% for both quarters.
July 4th may be a US national holiday, which means the S&P 500 won't hit a record high on good news and a recorder high on bad, but judging by global trading volumes - already abysmal heading into today - one may as well give the entire world a day off. However, for now, global equities have come off the impressive, and curiously schizophrenic US-data inspired gains of yesterday which sent the DJIA over 17,000 yet which has resulted in an almost unchanged 10Y Treasury print since before the NFP release. Once again bonds and stocks agree to disagree.
In the mid-sixties at the height of the “social revolution” the line between democratic benevolence and outright communism became rather blurry. The Democratic Party, which controlled the presidency and both houses of Congress, was used as the springboard by social engineers to introduce a new era of welfare initiatives enacted in the name of “defending the poor”, also known as the “Great Society Programs”. These initiatives, however, were driven by far more subversive and extreme motivations, and have been expanded on by every presidency since, Republican and Democrat alike.At Columbia University, sociologist professors Richard Cloward and Francis Fox Piven introduced a political strategy in 1966 that they believed would eventually lead to the total transmutation of America into a full-fledged centralized welfare state (in other words, a collectivist enclave). The spearpoint of the Cloward-Piven strategy involved nothing less than economic sabotage against the U.S..
Does this look sustainable to you? Of course, it's different this time, right?
Same stuff... different country. Once again someone (former opposition leader Musallam al-Barrak) exposed the corruption among the elites (revealed documents that allegedly prove billions of illicit financial transfers were made to senior officials, including judges) and the leaders (Kuwait officials) decided he should be arrested and charged with slander. This has caused uproar among the people as hundreds of protesters rallied overnight in support of al-Barrack, marching from his house to the jail chanting: "The people want to cleanse the judiciary!" The police in the oil-rich nation of Kuwait used tear gas and stun grenades early Thursday to disperse the protesters. As we have noted previously, uprising against government corruption is a global trend and in the case of Kuwait (which is oil-rich, the last friendly place to US in the Middle East, and has the highest per capita Twitter usage on the planet), we suspect this 'spring' is far from over.
On July 4th, the United States will celebrate Independence Day once again. But who in the world are we trying to kid? Our founders intended to create a society where freedom and liberty would be maximized, but that is not what America looks like today. Instead, we live in a country that literally has millions of laws, rules and regulations. We have a government that is obsessed with spying on the entire planet and that tries to watch, monitor, track and record as much information about all of us as it possibly can. A “Big Brother” surveillance grid is being constructed all around us, and our militarized police are becoming more brutal with each passing day. Sadly, most Americans don’t seem too alarmed by any of this. In fact, a new Gallup survey has found that 79 percent of Americans are “satisfied” with the level of freedom in this nation. That is a very alarming statistic. If most people believe that everything is “just fine”, then our leaders are going to feel free to keep doing the same things that they have been doing.
Is this the reason for the blowout, on the surface, payroll number?
While Las Vegas faces an existential crisis (and appears to be ignoring it), California regulators are starting to clamp down on water waste. As WSJ reports, about 60 California cities and agencies have imposed mandatory water-use cutbacks, some as high as 50%. In many cases, the rules are enforced by charging higher fees for excess usage. In others, inspectors are deployed to crack down on scofflaws. Sacramento - the state's capital - is among the worst offenders and most heavily 'policed' as a team of 40 inspectors have handed out2,444 notices year-to-date, with fines of up to $1,000 for repeat offenders. Neighbors are encouraged to whistleblow - there has been 7,604 water-use complaints; but not everyone is embracing the change as lawn repair is down 40% - "The propaganda dictates we haven't much choice... It's either do it or you die."
According to a paper by economists at UC Northwestern University and UC Berkeley, Anna Cieslak and Adair Morse and Annette Vissing-Jørgensen, another, even more surprising trading pattern using FOMC announcement has emerged. Specifically, anyone who engaged in the simple "even" strategy of buying the stocks of the S&P 500 on the day before a Fed policy announcement, selling them a week later, then buying them again the following week and sticking with the pattern until the subsequent Fed meeting generated a whopping 650% return since 1994, far outperforming the inverse "odd" strategy which shocking had a negative return over the past two decades years, and jsut as surprisingly, outperforming the market's own 505% return during this period.
It doesn't seem logical that the S&P should be positively correlated to oil prices--so it is more likely that both records are correlated to the same thing--inflation. But what to make of the last 18 months, in which we see an almost vertical rise in the stock market without an increase in the oil price? Is an American renaissance in the works, powered by increased American oil production? Or is it due to the much rumored mass purchase of securities by financial institutions, powered by monetary creation? Is it being done to prevent another period of negative correlation, which might foretell another economic crisis?
The US and UK are the 'best' performing world economies based on PMIs. Despite slumping real incomes, surging gas prices, a dismal Q1, fading Q2 growth expectations, and the US being the worst relative performing macro-surprise index in the world this year, it is the cleanest clean shirt with the great expansion based on soft-survey data. France joins Korea at the bottom of the global pile of macro-economic performers with Russia, Brazil, Australia, and Greece also in contraction. Here is your 1-stop-shop guide to global macro - USA USA USA...