Today's price action in Chevron will come as no surprise to any reader of ZH, but maybe, just maybe, in flipping from porn site to porn site, the SEC will stumble across our earlier note on unemployment in the 'adult movie' business and will look at the following remarkable charts. As Nanex shows, with 37 seconds to the close, one of the largest market-cap firms in the entire world saw its stock price attacked by an HFT algo that oscillated it by +/-2% about twice-per-second. As Nanex exclaims, "no longer can any HFT'ers or exchange or regulator blame THIS on humans." Perhaps the odds of another black-out on NASDARK should be higher than the current 28%.
Frequent readers are well aware that in addition to having broken the story about America's conversion to a part-time worker nation nearly three years ago, another topic we have been closely tracking over the past year has been its conversion to a gerontocratic worker society (from October 2012: "55 And Under? No Job For You"), which confirms that contrary to yet another urban legend that old workers are retiring in droves, it is the old workers who are getting the bulk of the jobs, at the expense of everyone else (those 55 and younger). Which brings us to today's chart of the day which shows the August job additions broken down by age group, and as tracked monthly by the household survey. The additions, or rather job losses, need no additional commentary aside from what we have provided so far.
An impressive chaotic day in stocks and bonds as both markets appeared confused as to whether jobs bad news was good, if the jobs bad news was bad enough, and if Syrian bad news was actually good news in holding off the Taper a little longer. The Dow seemed the trigger for all things today as the collapse on Putin's statement slammed the Dow into the red for the week (which would have made 5 weeks in a row, something we haven't seen since the US downgrade in 2011). That was clearly unacceptable to someone, and the Dow soared 220 points on no news whatsoever to break the all-important "Mission Accomplished" level of 15,000. Once that farce was over, we started to fade and then on news of Syrian government "gas" shelling, we tumbled back into the red (with the Nasdaq and S&P practically unchanged again). Treasuries rallied off their just-greater-than 3.00% yields with their biggest intraday plunge in yields in weeks on a slow-growth (or Taper-off) bid exaggerated by Putin's comments, only to sell-off back to pre-Putin by the close. Gold, Silver, and Oil (highest clsoe since May 2011) all surged not looking back after the jobs and Putin news.
As President Obama continues to push for a plan of limited military intervention in Syria, a new poll of Americans has found that though the nation remains wary over the prospect of becoming involved in another Middle Eastern war, the vast majority of U.S. citizens strongly approve of sending Congress to Syria. "There’s no doubt in my mind that sending Congress to Syria - or, at the very least, sending the major congressional leaders in both parties - is the correct course of action," one respondent noted, adding "sooner rather than later, too, this war isn’t going to last forever."
So totally unexpected:
SYRIA GOVT FORCES SHELL QABUN, DAMASCUS WITH GAS: AL-ARABIYA
AL-ARABIYA CITES UNIDENTIFIED ACTIVISTS - so the same CIA-trained, al Qaeda funded, Qatari mercenaries?
Actually it is surprising: the odds were today's false flag would take place in Iran to get the Israel card in play. Apparently nobody was dumb enough to assume the government would go with two false flags in a row in the same place. And now bring on the 1000 YouTube clips of "undisputed proof."
- Government has too much debt to issue more debt
- Government nationalizes private pension funds making their debt holdings an "asset" and commingles with other public assets
- New confiscated assets net out sovereign debt liability, lowering the debt/GDP ratio
- Debt/GDP drops below threshold, government can issue more sovereign debt
Today's jobs number (and revisions) are sparking some initial vain hope that SepTaper is delayed and providing enough 'optimism' that Fed spice will flow just a little longer. However, as we have noted numerous times, the Fed is cornered and has to taper for four more critical reasons (sentiment, deficits, technicals, and international resentment) and Obama has already confirmed that the Fed will be Tapering 'gradually'. This leads us to the Fed's next 'tool' - forward guidance. Explaining to the world how they will keep rates lower for longer and longer, however, in the face of the following chart suggests either, i) the Fed has zero interest in anything but feeding easy money to the banking system, and/or ii) jobless claims data has become less than irrelevant. We suspect both.
The ultimate killer app in the U.S. economy is convenience. Convenience sells in every market and every sector. Convenience and comfort have long replaced need as the driver of developed economies. Since the economy depends on convenience as the one surefire motivator of sales, no one dares admit that convenience has reached diminishing returns. We are so habituated to absurd marketing "innovations" offering some tiny additional gain in convenience that we may not notice that the gains in convenience have slipped to near-zero. It turns out that convenience is truly the killer app, as it ultimately leads to diabesity, chronic disease and early death. Convenience has gone from diminishing returns to negative returns. Staying fit and preparing real meals are intrinsically inconvenient. Convenience, it seems, is the killer app we'll die for.
Earlier we pointed out the latest amusing scapegoat for the "soft" jobs report: it wasn't the weather this time, but the porn inudstry, and specifically the exodus of 22k "actors" due to an HIV scare. Whether or not this truly amusing justification for the recent, and ongoing, weakness is relevant is unknown, but what is known is that there appears to have been another great rotation to take place in the just as amusingly-called US economic "recovery" - a rotation out of actors and into, where else, waiters and bartenders.
The ongoing deterioration in earnings is something worth watching closely. The recent improvement in the economic reports is likely more ephemeral due to a very sluggish start of the year that has led to a "restocking" cycle. The sustainability of the uptick is crucially important if the economy is indeed truly turning a corner toward stronger economic growth. However, with interest rates rising, oil prices surging and the Affordable Care Act about to levy higher taxes on individuals, it is likely that a continuation of a "struggle" through economy is the most likely outcome. This puts overly optimistic earnings estimates in jeopardy of be lowered further in the coming months ahead as stock buybacks slow and corporate cost cutting continues to become less effective.
After months of rock-hard gains in stocks, and an extended period of firming in the headline jobs data, some are noting that today's limpness in the jobs data is temporary, driven by an unexpected choke down of staffing in the porn industry. As Bloomberg reports, a big surprise in today's report was a 6% decline in the number of people working in the "motion picture and sound recording industries." It turns out that, as WaPo notes, the U.S. porn industry stopped working for a week after an actress tested positive for HIV. It seems we should all be pulling for a revival of the porn industry to raise the economy from its slumber.
“Will we help Syria? We will,” the Russian leader said recalling that Russia had already been helping Syria through arms supplies and economic and humanitarian cooperation, including provision of humanitarian aid. In reply to the question what other country in the world may theoretically be subjected to aggression similar to that Syria is facing, Putin said, “I do not want to think that any other country will be subjected to any external aggression.” A military action against Syria will have a highly deplorable impact on international security at large, Putin emphasized. He said he was surprised to see that ever more participants in the summit, including the leader of India, Brazil, the South African Republic, and Indonesia were speaking vehemently against a possible military operation in Syria. Putin cited the words of the South African President, Jacob Zuma, who said many countries were feeling unprotected against such actions undertaken by stronger countries.
"While the August employment report was a moderate disappointment, we believe it is probably not weak enough to prevent the FOMC from tapering in September. However, it does raise the likelihood of a "dovish taper," which could include a small size of the overall adjustment to purchases, and which we think would likely coincide with an enhancement of the forward guidance."
Following a "spirited" town hall in Phoenix forcused on Syria, Senator John McCain made comments to a local TV crew. "The fact is [Syrian President] Bashar Assad has massacred 100,000 people. The conflict is spreading... The Russians are all in, the Iranians are all in, and it's an unfair fight," McCain told KFYI's Mike Broomhead. "And no one wants American boots on the ground. Nor will there be American boots on the ground because there would be an impeachment of the president if they did that." McCain also slammed Obama, exclaiming "the president has bungled this beyond belief." CBS reports that McCain then added that the President "announced that he's going to strike and then say, 'No, I'm going to the American Congress.' I can't believe how badly he’s mishandled this issue."