We have extensively covered the evolution of Q2 earnings in the US where so far nearly half or 240 of firms have reported (and 136 on deck this week): from the revenue recession (2nd consecutive decline), to the overreliance on financial firms as the sole driver of EPS upside, to the fact that the only reason banks are beating is to FAS115, the unaccounting of AFS swings and the suspension of MTM. In other words, no top-line growth and bottom-line upside solely due to financial balance sheet gimmicks. But what about, Europe where accounting magic is not nearly as advanced a science as it is in the US?
After a slow start in the week, there is a substantial pick up with announcements from the FOMC, ECB and BOE (as well as monetary policy updates from the RBI, RBA, Israel, and Czech Republic) with the possibility, if not probability, of a Fed update on tapering expectations. On Wednesday we get the much expected wholesale GDP revision which will boost "growth data" all the way back to 1929 and is expected to push current GDP as much as 3% higher, and on Friday is the "most important NFP payroll number" (at least since the last one, and before the next one), where the consensus expects a +183K print, and 7.5% unemployment. All this while earnings season comes to a close.
- More Doctors Steer Clear of Medicare (WSJ)
- Syrian Looters in Bulldozers Seek Treasure Amid Chaos (BBG)
- Siemens CEO Peter Löscher Is Set to Leave His Post After Series of Earnings Misses (WSJ)
- Silver Vault for 200 Tons Starts in Singapore as Wealthy Buy (BBG)
- Omincom and Publicis merger shows that advertising is now firmly in the business of Big Data: collecting and selling the personal information of millions of consumers (NYT)
- Apple supplier accused of labour violations (FT)
- 'BarCap was the Wild Wild West – that’s what we called it’ (Telegraph)
- P&G chief seizes opportunity in era of three-day stubble (FT)
- Federal Reserve 'Doves' Beat 'Hawks' in Economic Prognosticating (WSJ) - LOL: Fed "hawks"
Hopes that Kuroda would say something substantial, material and beneficial to the "three arrow" wealth effect (about Japan's sales tax) last night were promptly dashed when the BOJ head came, spoke, and went, with the USDJPY sliding to a new monthly low, which in turn saw the Nikkei tumble another nearly 500 points. China didn't help either, where the Shanghai Composite also closed below 2000 wiping out a few weeks of gains on artificial hopes that the PBOC would step in with a bailout package, as attention turned to the reported announcement that an update of local government debt could double the size of China's non-performing loans, and what's worse, that the PBOC was ok with that. Asian negativity was offset by the European open, where fundamentals are irrelevant (especially on the one year anniversary of Draghi FX Advisors LLC "whatever it takes to buy the EURUSD" speech) and renewed M&A sentiment buoyed algos to generate enough buying momentum to send more momentum algos buying and so on. As for the US, futures are indicating weakness for the third day in a row but hardly anyone is fooled following two consecutive days of green closes on melt ups "from the lows": expect another rerun of the now traditional Friday ramp, where a 150 DJIA loss was wiped out during the day for a pre-programmed just green closing print.
If you want to frighten Baby Boomers, just show them the list of statistics in this article. The United States is headed for a retirement crisis of unprecedented magnitude, and people are woefully unprepared for it. At this point, more than 10,000 Baby Boomers are reaching the age of 65 every single day, and this will continue to happen for almost the next 20 years. The number of senior citizens in America is projected to more than double during the first half of this century, and some absolutely enormous financial promises have been made to them. So will we be able to keep those promises to the hordes of American workers that are rapidly approaching retirement? Of course not. The pension nightmare that is at the heart of the horrific financial crisis in Detroit is just the tip of the iceberg of the coming retirement crisis that will shake America to the core.
While many draw comparisons to 1994's Fed actions, rate rises, and the subsequent economic and equity market performance, UBS' commodity team examines the five main drivers of that mid-90s disinflationary boom and how (or if) they are applicable in the US' current new normal. Their findings "this may be a 1994 redux, but it ain't no 1995 replay," as they note, in fact, it's a bear market waiting to happen. Every one of these processes is deflationary, not disinflationary. And they are self reinforcing. And deflation, in direct contrast to disinflation, is very bad for asset prices (with a serious equity and credit bear-market). So just as we have noted previously any taper will likely eventually lead to an 'un-taper' reflation effort (which will see gold once again strengthen) along with the exposure of the fallacy that the Fed really has become.
Something is rotten in the state of Abenomics. The last three days have seen the biggest surge in JPY in over six weeks (now well under 98 and at its strongest again the USD in over a month) and the biggest drop in the Nikkei 225 in almost two months. It seems with Fed Taper talk off the table (in investors' minds), hotter than expected inflation in Japan (what they wanted but brings the 'endgame' closer for expectations of moar QQE), and a miss for retail sales in Japan tonight (no matter what they do, consumption disappoints - unsurprising given the demographic hurdle, even with free money oozing out of every crack) that global investors (who have once again piled lemming-like back into the long-Nikkei-short-JPY trades) have found better places (for now) to put their 'easily-earned' money. Or is this the Japanese markets' cry for help ahead of Kuroda's speech this evening?
Italy's first black minister, Cecile Kyenge, was speaking at a Democratic Party rally on Friday when an unidentified spectator threw bananas at her, missing the stage but sparking reactions of disgust from across the country. Because it is somehow her fault that Italy, whose debt/GDP is over 130% and surging, was betrayed by Goldman emissary not once, not twice, not three times, but at least four document times. And it is somehow her fault that this man is now in charge of Europe's printing presses and nobody seems to mind.
...When banks can monetize debts, they will: when they can grant credit in the absence of prior acts of saving, they will – indeed, we demand that they do no less out of the misplaced fear that otherwise economic expansion will be derailed.
The truth is, of course, that the greater the number of economic decisions which come to be conducted on such a falsified basis, the higher and more unstable is the house of cards we are constructing on the credulity of the masses, the conjuring tricks of their bankers, and the connivance of the authorities who are charged with their supervision.
...Higher prices should discourage further demand, but instead encourage more people to borrow in order to play for a further rise in prices...
The performance of the JPY (strengthening) and Nikkei (falling notably) over the last few days suggests a market that is expecting to be disappointed by tonight's BoJ Governor Kuroda's speech. However, as Citi's Steve Englander notes, given the recent Bernanke-Carey-Draghi actions, we suspect there will be some temptation for Kuroda to speak out whether ex cathedra as BoJ Governor or with his personal view Bernanke style so as to get the NKY-JPY train back on track.
Back in May, when we coined the term "Taper Tantrum" before the infamous Hilsenrath article was released bringing with it famine, pestilence and a full rerun of the 1994 blow out in rates, and when the prevailing consensus was that Bernanke wouldn't touch the rate of monthly monetization until December or even 2014, we forecast that as a result of a the declining US deficit (primarily due to a brief spike in GSE remittances to the Treasury until the closed loop of lower monetization ends any myth of a "housing recovery" and pushes US deficits much wider again) Bernanke will have no choice but to taper QE by $20 billion (or else risk destabilizing an already illiquid TSY market even more) with the announcement due at the September FOMC meeting. Just to avoid any confusion, we also showed just what such a September tapering would look like in the grand context of QE. But when, and by how, much does Wall Street see the end of tapering, and what is the sell-side consensus? The list below summarizes the current view by bank.
One year on from the "whatever it takes" speech and all appearances suggest Draghi's all-in move with the imaginary OMT 'worked. European sovereign spreads have compressed dramatically, European stock indices are near their highs, European financials are doing great. Of course, record unemployment rates, record loan delinquencies, record drops in house prices, and record deposit outflows can all be ignored because no matter what, Draghi will do "whatever it takes." Except, as JPMorgan notes, the excess cash in the Euro area banking system continues to decline reaching EUR230bn, closer to the so-called inflection point at which money market rates, i.e. EONIA and repo rates, are responding more pronouncedly to changes in the excess cash. Bank funding is becoming increasingly volatile since the 2nd LTRO repayment and the trend shows no sign of abating. We suggest Mrs. Merkel will be on the phone telling Mr. Draghi to "get back to work," - at least until September 23rd anyway.
Despite consumer confidence at a six-year high, the latest AP survey of the real America shows a stunning four out of five U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, are near poverty, or rely on welfare for at least parts of their lives amid signs of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream. Hardship is particularly on the rise among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among whites about their families' economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987.
It's almost August, the month everyone in Europe takes off on holiday to forget their troubles. This year may be different, though, as not only can many not afford a vacation, but Europe's troubles loom so large that forgetting them won't be easy... a quick spin through many of the countries there reveals much instability.