Energy Bond Risk Soars To Fresh Record High As Stocks Slump To 20-Month Lows

The S&P 500 Energy sector stocks are down over 12% year-to-date, tumbling over 3% today to fresh 20-month lows. The spread (or risk) of high-yield energy credits surged again today, breaking above 850bps for the first time... The overall high-yield credit market is being dragged wider by this contagion as hedgers try to contain the collapse that is possible. For now, the S&P 500 remains entirely ignorant of the fact that over a third of its CapEx was expected to come from this crushed sector...

Oil Crash Comes Home To Roost: ConocoPhillips To Slash 2015 CapEx By 20%

With every single hollow chatterbox repeating that crashing oil prices are "unambiguously good" it is clearly the case that the opposite is true.  And sure enough, the first indications that the crude price crash is about to lead to some serious pain in the US came first yesterday from BP, which announced over the weekend that it would "slash 100s of mid-level supervisor jobs" around the globe, and moments ago, from ConocoPhillips, which added that as a result of plunging oil prices, it would slash its 2015 spending budget by a whopping 20%, cutting off some $3 billion in capital spending mostly involving "less developed project: spending which for those who remember their GDP calculation, means a proportional reduction in the US Gross National Product.

Even Obama's Personal Chef Is Leaving Him

One of the perks of being a president: having your own personal, taxpayer-funded chef. And in the case of Barack Obama, this means an instrumental player in the development of Michelle Obama's controversial "school lunch program", one who also happens to be "Executive Director of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, the first-ever White House Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition, and personal chef to the First Family." He name is, or rather his name was Sam Kass, because alongside pretty much everyone else close to Obama in recent few years, Chef Kass is done feeding the First Stomach and is also getting the hell out of Dodge the White House.

"Careening Toward A New & Different Kind Of Civil War"

"It’s hard to blame the public for being confused about what may or may not be happening across the nation, but history will surely judge this as a tragic time for America. If we can’t or won’t unpack the separate issues in these matters, the country is going to get into a lot more trouble."

Spot The Odd One Out

Because nothing says buy stocks like the US open, plunging bond yields, and crashing oil prices...

Hedge Funds Most Long The S&P500, Most Short The 10 Year In Six Months, Still Long Crude

We doubt anyone will find it one bit surprising that as Bank of America observes in its latest weekly hedge fund monitor, "S&P500 longs increase to six month high" with all equities bought. And alongside that, and confirming that the short squeeze in the Treasury market will continue indefinitely, "10-yr contracts were sold at a strong pace to increase net short positioning to largest in six months." Why? Because that imminent economic recovery which everyone has been betting on since the second half of 2013 is just not coming, seasonally adjusted low-paying temp, retail, teacher and secretary jobs notwithstanding.

Job Market Growth Hovers Near 2-Year Lows, Fed's Labor Market Index Shows

Despite the utter exuberance at Friday's payrolls data -which 'everyone' saw as nothing but indicative of escape velocity and utopia in America's near future - the Fed's new multifactor model of the US jobs market shows growth sliding to just 2.9% MoM. This is the almost the slowest growth since Aug 2012.

EU's Juncker Folds To Gazprom On South Stream Pipeline

Although every bad thing that is not the fault of climate change is allegedly the fault of Putin, it seems the EU commissariat “didn’t really mean it” and wants to see South Stream built after all.

McDonalds Implodes, Reports Worst US Sales In Over A Decade

For those, who are leery of seasonally-adjusted government data (showing soaring low-wage jobs offset by crashing employment in the energy sector and M&A synergies which mysteriously are never captured), or sentiment surveys and confidence polls (of Wall Street executives and government workers), here is the latest data from McDonalds. Showing the worst US comp store sales in nearly 12 years at -4.6%, one does wonder if following America's inability to even pay for sub-$1 meals, mass starvation will follow?

"We Are Down To The Final Myth That Animates The Blow-Off Phase Of Bubble Markets"

Of all the problems with fiat currency, the most basic is that it empowers the dark side of human nature. We’re potentially good but infinitely corruptible, and giving an unlimited monetary printing press to a government or group of banks is guaranteed to produce a dystopia of ever-greater debt and more centralized control, until the only remaining choice is between deflationary collapse or runaway inflation. The people in charge at that point are in a box with no painless exit.

Oil Prices Collapse To New Cycle Lows, Canada Heavy Tumbles Under $50

The crude carnage continued overnight with oil prices across the entire complex crashing through support to new cycle lows. Despite recent strategic reservce demand in China, the world's oil glut continues as global growth expectations plunge leaving WTI trading as low as $64.10, Brent $66.77 (narrowing the Brent-WTI spread to $2.68 from $3.23 on Friday), and most stunning of all, Canada Heavy as low as $49.24. Speculators and money managers appear to be BTFD as they increased net long positions last week (amid the price slump) but comments from Kuwait Petroleum's CEO and Iran officials suggest 'lower for longer' on prices will be the norm. As Morgan Stanley notes, "with OPEC on the sidelines, oil prices face their greatest threat since 2009 and appear on track for an extremely volatile 2015"

We've Habituated To A Rigged, Fraudulent Market

Fraud generates risk, and risk eventually breaks out in the "safest" parts of the financial plumbing, the ones nobody gives a second thought to because they're "low risk." Using unspeakable powers to generate global fraud is not as sustainable as punters imagine. Those who don't believe in risk can alternatively ponder karma as a guide to the future.

Frontrunning: December 8

  • Welcome to the recovery:
    • Euro zone warning hits stocks, currency as oil plumbs depths (Reuters)
    • Japan GDP Worse Than Initially Reported (WSJ)
    • China trade data well below expectations (BBC)
    • German industrial production frustrates forecasts (FT)
  • Oil Extends Retreat With European Stocks as Dollar Gains (BBG)
  • California police, protesters clash again after 'chokehold' death (Reuters)
  • Ruble’s Rout Is Tale of Failed Threats, Missteps (BBG), not to be confused with "Yen's Rout Is Tale Of Keynesian Success, Prosperity"
  • Uber banned from operating in Indian capital after driver rape (Reuters)

China Surges, Japan Closes Green On Horrible Econ Data; Oil Tumbles To Fresh 5 Year Lows

Without doubt, the most memorable line from the latest quarterly report by the BIS, one which shows how shocked even the central banks' central bank is with how perverted and broken the "market" has become is the following: "The highly abnormal is becoming uncomfortably normal.... There is something vaguely troubling when the unthinkable becomes routine." Overnight, "markets" did all in their (central banks') power to justify the BIS' amazement, when first the Nikkei closed green following another shocker of Japanese econ data, when it was revealed that the quadruple-dip recession was even worse than expected, and then the Shanghai composite soaring over 3000 or up 2.8% for the session, following news of the worst trade data - whether completely fabricated or not - out of China in over half a year.

Are We Reliving The 1930s?

Seeing the two “depressions” as historically and generationally comparable, makes it easier to recognize other similarities between the 1930s and the 2010s. Many are economic, as we have seen. But others are demographic (falling fertility, migration, and mobility). Still others are social (growing localism, income inequality, and distrust of elites; stronger families; and declines in personal risk-taking). And still others, ominously, are geopolitical (rising isolationism, nationalism, and authoritarianism, and the unraveling of any “world order” consensus). The confluence of all these trends is not accidental...

"Riddles" Surround 36th Dead Banker Of The Year

52-year-old Belgian Geert Tack - a private banker for ING who managed portfolios for wealthy individuals - was described as 'impeccable', 'sporty', 'cared-for', and 'successful' and so as Vermist reports, after disappearing a month ago, the appearance of his body off the coast of Ostend is surrpunded by riddles...