Frontrunning: July 8

  • Headline of the day: Complacency Breeds $2 Trillion of Junk as Sewage Funded (BBG)
  • Israel intensifies Gaza offensive after surge in rocket fire (Reuters)
  • Profits plunge at Vatican bank (FT)
  • Investors Are Buying Troubled Golf Courses and Giving Them Makeovers (NYT)
  • Pimco Dissidents Challenge Bill Gross in ‘Happy Kingdom (BBG)
  • That's a new one: Marks and Spencer blames new website for sales drop  (Reuters)
  • Iran's Supreme Leader calls for more enrichment capacity (Reuters)
  • Boeing Faces Long-Term Credit Risk if Ex-Im Bank Closed, S&P Says (WSJ) not to mention the collapse risk to US durable goods orders
  • U.K. Manufacturing Unexpectedly Slumps Most in 16 Months (BBG)
  • Some Still Lack Coverage Under Health Law (WSJ)

Turbo Tuesday Pre-Ramp Missing As Earnings Season, Brazil-Germany Set To Kick Off

Poor algos: after they got no love on Monday from the overnight USDJPY selling team which took the all important pair back to the 200 DMA, today, inexplicably (it is a Tuesday after all, and if one can't frontrun a rigged market surging higher on Turbo Tuesday may as well throw in the towel on free money and learn about fundamental analysis) the same overnight USDJPY selling team has pushed the key carry pair to below the 200 DMA, and has dragged US equity futures lower with it for the second day in a row.

Saudi Human Rights Lawyer Jailed 15 Years For 'Free-Speech' Under New "Anti-Terror" Laws

Back in April, we warned of the consequences of Saudi King Abdullah has clamped down on all forms of political dissent and protests that could “harm public order”. Concerns that this law would be used to silence dissent and crackdown on basic human rights were apparently well justified, as the Wall Street Journal reported today that a Saudi court has sentenced human rights lawyer and activist Waleed Abu Alkhair to 15 years in prison for “inciting public opinion,” i.e., effectively utilizing free speech. We are currently living in one of the most interesting times in human history as we witness the transformation of society away from centralized, bureaucratic structures, into decentralized, networked organization. It’s imperative that each and every one of us does everything he or she can to make this revolutionary transition as painless as possible.

Peak Abenomics

For the world's sake... Someone better start talking about 'Abenomics' again soon...

ISIS' Latest And Most Ambitious Plan Yet: Invade Spain

While Spain may have been scrambling for the past several years to figure out how to spin its economy, boasting one of the highest unemployment rates in the Eurozone, as recovering, coming up with numerous changes to what it believes should constitute GDP, most recently including an estimate of the contribution hookers and blow add to the economy, a surprising place which has emerged as a potential source of huge economic upside for Spain's economy is none other than the recently established Islamic State created by the ISIS al-Qaeda spin off. Because, stunningly, in a story right out of a history book covering the Islamic Conquest and subsequent Reconquista (however not in the middle ages but in the 21st century), the hardest-core Islamists around, those which even al-Qaeda deemed too "extremist", appears to have sworn to invade Spain next!

Four Charts That Signal EUR Has Further To Drop

EURUSD drop may have further to go given that the relative policy outlook would push Fed/ECB balance sheet ratio lower before long. Citi's Valentin Marinov believes, relative data surprises as well as forward looking cyclical gauges like bank stocks are starting to favor USD over EUR and he points out that leveraged accounts could start adding to shorts again as real money continue to sell EUR.

"This Is The Worst Of All Possible Worlds," The Fed "Is Borrowing Returns From The Future"

Felix Zulauf, James Montier and David Iben: Three legendary investors share their views on financial markets. Everything is pricey ("we will continue to swim in a sea of liquidity; but there might be other events and developments that may not be camouflaged by liquidity which could cause a change of investor expectations.") the European periphery is a bubble ("The Euro crisis is not over...the European economies are not going to change for the better for years to come despite all the cheating and breaking of laws"), Value investors need to venture to Russia ("when you look at today’s opportunity set, you’re left with a set of assets where nothing looks attractive from a valuation point of view") or buy gold mining stocks (" The down cycle could be much bigger than anybody believes if the market realizes that all the actions taken in recent years do not work.") Summing it all up, "there is no question that [sovereigns] lack the fundamental economic base to finally service their debts," trade accordingly.

Forget ECB's Bazooka, Here Is China's Anti-Pollution Gun

It was a month ago when we showed 13 "insane" proposals to fix China's unprecedented smog problem, which incidentally is now worse than any other place in the developed (or developing) world due to the country's ridiculous and unmatched pace of industrialization. As it turns out while those ideas may indeed have been insane, what we saw overnight reported by China's Xinhua is, while still completely bizarre, certainly fully operational, supposedly. Presenting China's "anti-pollution" gun which puts even the ECB's (and certainly Hank Paulson's) "bazooka" to shame.

Egypt Raises Fuel Prices 78% Overnight

Egypt's surging budget deficit has hit its limit and the Oil Ministry has decided to cut its $20bn plus fuel subsidies. The result - mainstream fuel prices by up to 78% from midnight on Friday. As Reuters reports, previous governments have failed to curb energy product subsidies, fearing backlash from a public used to cheap fuel. We will wait and see the response but as one analyst noted "It should be noted that the effect of a rise in fuel prices will not affect the poor directly, since they do not own cars..." which makes perfect sense as long as the poor do not use or purchase any item that has fuel in its supply chain - brilliant! The government hopes the fuel subsidy cut will raise 40 billion pounds.

Krugman’s Bathtub Economics

It is fortunate that Paul Krugman writes a column for New York Times readers who want the party line sans all the economist jargon and regression equations. So here is the plain English gospel straight from the Keynesian oracle: The US economy is actually a giant bathtub which is constantly springing leaks. Accordingly, the route to prosperity everywhere and always is for agencies of the state - especially its central banking branch - to pump “demand” back into the bathtub until its full to the brim. Simple.

Chart Of The Day: The "Weather-Apologist Economist"'s Worst Nightmare

We have been a little more than skeptical of the extent to which the total and utter $118 Billion collapse in Q1 GDP in the USA was due to weather - as opposed to the tapering reality of an American consumer that feels anything but 'recovered'. The mainstream meteoreconomists have dismissed the weakness as "one-off", "noise", "an aberration", or "pent-up demand" and heralded the Q2 GDP resurgence. However, one glance at the following table of the worst US weather disasters (and the consequent economic growth impacts) should put the nail in the coffin once and for all of the "weather-apologists" among 'real' and 'pretend' economists everywhere.

New Research Strengthens Link Between Shale Drilling And Earthquakes

A recent study from Cornell University finds a probable link between drilling activity and an increased frequency of earthquakes in Oklahoma. Published in the journal Science, the study indicates that the practice of injecting millions of gallons of wastewater underground after a well is hydraulically fractured may increase the occurrence of earthquakes. Between 1967 and 2000, there was an average of 21 earthquakes of a magnitude greater than 3.0 – considered strong enough to be noticed - in Oklahoma. Last year there were over a hundred, and this year there have been more than 200.

Market Top? Meet The $1 Billion Company With Zero Revenues

Lord Overstone said it best. “No warning can save people determined to grow suddenly rich.” Case in point - CYNK Technology Corp, a listed company that as of this morning has a market capitalization in excess of $1 BILLION. According to official filings, the social media development company had one employee, no website, no revenue, no product, and no assets. What has effectively united this company with prudent investors is today’s central banker. Hyper-aggressive monetary policy has side effects. Getting out of this mess is not going to be easy, and it’s going to be messy.

Free Lunch Over? Regulators Pressure Banks To Admit Balance Sheets Aren't Riskless

Global banking regulators are considering new measures that would make it harder for banks to understate the riskiness of their assets. The BIS decision, as WSJ reports, to end the long-standing treatment of all government bonds as automatically risk-free, is clearly being priced into European banking stocks (as we noted here). Since the financial crisis European banks have backed up the truck on their domestic sovereign bond issuance (most especially Italy and Spain) - draining every fund to buy over EUR1.8 trillion of these 'risk-free' assets. However, that party is potentially ending as The Basel Committee panel is looking at barring banks from assigning very low risk levels to certain types of assets, a tactic some lenders have used to reduce their capital requirements; which could force banks to raise billions of dollars in extra capital.

Minimum Wage Consequences? iPhone 6 Will Be Made By "FoxBots"

First it was burgers, then waiters, traders, and recently earnings-report-writers; but now it's iPhones. The endless pressure to raise minimum wages, demand bathroom breaks, expect to sleep, and tolerable breathing standards have finally culminated in China's FoxConn - manufacturer of the iPhone - to use a 'robot army' to build the new model. As The Daily Mail reports, The firm has pledged to have a million robot workers by the end of the year - and CEO Terry Gou has revealed the robots, dubbed 'Foxbots', are in the final stages of testing.

Paul Craig Roberts: "The US Economy's Phantom Jobs Gains Are A Fraud"

Washington can’t stop lying. Don’t be convinced by last Thursday’s job report that it is your fault if you don’t have a job. Those 288,000 jobs and 6.1% unemployment rate are more fiction than reality. What you can take away from this is the opposite of what the presstitute media would have you believe. For the most part economists have turned a blind eye. Economists serve the globalists. It pays them well. The corruption in present-day America is total. No one serves truth and liberty. America has left us. We now have the tyranny of the Orwellian state that rules, not by the ballot box and Constitution, but by force and propaganda.

Russell Tumbles Most In 3 Months; S&P Retraces All "Great Jobs Report" Gains

The Russell 2000 had its worst day in almost 3 months. The S&P retraced all of its gains from the 'great' jobs report (on heavy volume). The Dow desparately clung to that critical indicator of economic wealth/health - 17,000 & Treasury yields slipped further - back below Thursday's lows. So every headline-writing muppet that correlated equity strength with a belief in the headline jobs data is now shown up as once again - as we noted on Thursday, it appeared bond traders read the jobs report and stock traders read the headlines. Is good news, bad news - or are equities actually comprehending that the jobs report was actually bad news away from the propaganda. Gold rallied back close to unchanged, silver dropped. The USD sold of early gains back to unch. TWTR dropped for the 3rd day in a row as camera-on-a-stick bounced 5% as options started trading. "Most shorted" stocks dropped their most in 3 months. VIX rose over 1 vol  to 11.5 (its highest close since June and biggest %age gain in 3 months).