It is often said a picture paints a thousand words; in the case of this chart, it paints more. Day in and day out, there is one inimitable indicator that if looked at will tell you everything you need to know about the day's market performance - volume. The last few weeks - post-Draghi, Post-Knight, stunned many with just how low volume can get; and implicitly just how much the battle-bots remain in charge. Clarifying this picture of low volume strength and high volume weakness, John Lohman has created the following chart - summarized thus: YTD, low volume days have seen the S&P 500 rise around 15% in aggregate, while high volume days have seen the S&P lose around 5% in aggregate. The linear nature of the low-volume move is simply remarkable - perhaps September will bring some real volume back, and now we know what that means for market direction.
Breaking news that the 5th Avenue and 34th street area in New York has been closed after 5 people were shot outside of the Empire state victim, including the gunman. According to police scanner reports, the perpetrator has been shot by NYPD ans is is DOA on scene, with EMS assistance requested.
The market was just starting to digest the schizophrenic Durable Goods data when chatter broke of the German FINMIN discussing a 'temporary' GRExit. In other words, just like Mario Draghi could transmogrify the twilight zone into reality during Merkel's vacation, and spread unfounded rumors that Europe is fine, now that the Chancellor has returned, the rumors take on the other side of the equation, and the mice no longer can play. This pushed S&P futures below overnight lows (down about 5pts from Dur Goods), EUR down 40 more pips (-75pips from close), and 10Y Treasury yields dropped 3bps (down 6bps from their overnight open). As we stand S&P 500 futures appear poised at an important trend-line tipping point in this move as Draghi's dreams are delayed to mid September and the world stops believing - as there is market talk also that Netherlands, Finland, Slovakia and Estonia are said to back the German plan.
Today's Durable Goods number was blistering, if only on the headline. Coming at $230.7 billion, it was up a whopping $9.4 billion or 4.2%, on expectations of a 2.5% increase. The reason for the surge: the volatile transportation segment, which rose 14.1% to $80.4 billion. This is entirely due to Boeing aircraft orders, which rose to 260 this year compared to 10% of that a year ago, which however, as Quantas reminded us yesterday, can and will be promptly reversed (see: "Boeing hit by 'biggest-ever 787 order cancellation'"). In other words next month will be a headline disaster. So what happened beneath the headline when excluding volatile series: well - Durable Goods ex-transportations decline -0.4% in July, missing expectations of a +0.5% print, with the June number revised down from -1.1% to -2.2%. It gets worse: Nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft tumbled in July, and imploded to -3.4%, crashing below expectations of a -0.2% print, with the previous print revised from -1.4% to -2.7%). This means that indeed the brief blip higher in economic activity in the summer was largely transitory and was purely a byproduct of seasonal adjustment. Expect cuts to Q3 GDP forecasts to commence imminently by the sellside lemmings.
Color us unsurprised; but the UK's Independent is reporting that American officials are worried that if the Troika decides Greece has not done enough to meet its deficit targets, it will withhold the money - triggering Greece's exit from the eurozone weeks before the presidential election. British government sources have suggested the Obama administration is urging eurozone Governments to hold off from taking any drastic action before then - fearing the resulting market destabilization could damage President Obama's re-election prospects. The Troika are expected to report in time for an 8 October meeting of eurozone finance ministers which will decide on whether to disburse Greece's next EUR31bn aid tranche, promised under the terms of the bailout for the country. European leaders are thought to be sympathetic to the Obama lobbying, fearing that, under pressure from his party in Congress, Mitt Romney would be a more isolationist president than Mr Obama. So once again GRExit is assured economically; but it is an entirely political decision.
There is a frequent tendency to over state the importance of the Fed and its policies and ignore the primary fundamentals driving the gold market which are what we have long termed the ‘MSGM’ fundamentals. As long as the MSGM fundamentals remain sound than there is little risk of gold and silver’s bull markets ending. What we term MSGM stands for macroeconomic, systemic, geopolitical and monetary risks. The precious metals medium and long term fundamentals remain bullish due to still significant macroeconomic, systemic, monetary and geopolitical risks. We caution that gold could see another sharp selloff and again test the support at €1,200/oz and $1,550/oz. If we get a sharp selloff in stock markets in the traditionally weak ‘Fall’ period, gold could also fall in the short term as speculators, hedge funds etc . liquidate positions en masse. To conclude, always keep an eye on the MSGM and fade the day to day noise in the markets.
Since the GOP presidential candidate still refuses to give any substantial details on how the republicans plan to grow the country, not to mention fund the budget deficit (even as various pageview hawking blogs concurrently try to give the impression that private equity prospectuses stamped with the "confidential" seal for purely regulatory reasons will somehow provide an insight into the Bain Capital CEO's taxpaying practices, confirming that "finance for the masses" may not be the best idea), those who wish to gain some insight into the actual workings of Romney's brain may have to resort with the following Op-Ed published overnight in the WSJ titled, "What I Learned at Bain Capital: My business experience taught me how to help companies grow—and what to do when trouble arises. When you see a problem, run toward it before the problem gets worse." Read it - it may well be the only public policy "prescription" out of the republican before the election.
- So Draghi was bluffing after all: ECB Said To Await German ESM Ruling Before Settling Plan (Bloomberg)
- German finance ministry studying "Grexit" costs (Reuters) - it would be bigger news if it wasn't
- Money Funds Test Geithner, Bernanke Resolve as Schapiro Defeated (Bloomberg)
- Top Merkel MP says Greek deal can't be renegotiated (Reuters)
- China Eyes Ways to Broaden Yuan's Use (WSJ)
- Armstrong ends fight against doping charges, to lose titles (Reuters) - Dopestrong?
- Need more socialism: Public confidence in France's Hollande slips (Reuters)
- Seoul court rules Samsung didn't violate Apple design (Reuters)
- France, Germany Unify Approach to Greek Talks (WSJ)
- Stevens Sees Mining Boom Peaking, RBA Ready to Act (Bloomberg)
While we await the release of pictures for today's caption contest, namely Merkel and Samaras hugging it out, which incidentally will be today's top news, as the Greek PM enters the lioness' den and begs for more, only to hear Merkel recite Herman Cain's tax plan, here is another picture: it is of "America’s Next Top Model" contestant and MTV anchor Kim Stolz, who was just hired away by Citigroup from BTIG to be a VP in equity-derivative sales, according to Bloomberg’s Donal Griffin. This is a welcome development: with trading volumes at levels last seen in 1998, more and more banks will resort to hiring underemployed supermodels to incite their clients to transact with them (for all the obvious and not so obvious reasons). It also means that said supermodels will soon know all there is to know about delta, gamma, vega and theta. Which naturally sets the stage for Zoolander 2 and the latest and greatest face name: step aside "Blue Steel", enter "The Schwab Baby" - a look describing what happens when that massive short gamma position suddenly blows up in your face. At least the next round of Congressional hearings, when banks scapegoat the next bailout request on supermodels selling VIX, will be somewhat more attractive. Win win for everyone.
Frustrated with the know-it-all bullish 'experts' on the Chinese economy lambasting wise boots-on-the-ground deep-thinkers such as Hugh Hendry and Albert Edwards; Marc Faber (who discussed this in detail in the clip we presented here) today set about correcting some of that vacuous chatter on China's dominance (with all its current stuffed inventory). Noting that the Chinese stock market is not exactly pointing to the growth everyone is relying on (and we add since the MAR09 lows it is only fractionally better than Spain), Faber brings up one chart (courtesy of The Bank Credit Analyst) to rule them all. Alongside the mega-bubbles of: Gold in 1970s, the Nikkei in the 80s, and the Nasdaq in the 90s, Iron Ore prices since the start of 2000 have them all beat - and recently (as we noted here) have begun to roll over.
Across the West, instances of abuse of authority by domestic police forces are becoming more prevalent. Just last week on August 16, 2012, former Marine Brandon Raub was forcibly taken from his home in Chesterfield Country, Virginia and is currently being held against his will in a psychiatric hospital. His alleged crime he has yet to be charged for? It’s quite easy to understand why law enforcement, as a vital enforcement arm of government, uses its authority so recklessly and with little impunity. The state’s monopoly on violence ultimately acts as a hindrance to social cooperation and rising living standards. It is regressive in the sense that monopolies have no incentive to meet the needs of consumers. In the end, law enforcement in its current form should not be looked to as a friend of peace but merely as another branch of the state’s institutionalized thuggery.
Military budgets are only one gauge of military power. A given financial commitment may be adequate or inadequate depending on the number and capability of a nation's adversaries, how well it spends its investment, and what it seeks to accomplish, among other factors. Nevertheless, trends in military spending do reveal something about a country's capacity for coercion. The following charts, from the Council of Foreign Relations, present historical trends in U.S. military spending and analyze the forces that may drive it lower.
As Jevons alludes to — and especially in a world where most of us live in an irrigated industrial society — it would seem that there are many other significant factors in determining both long and short term variations in food price — technology shocks, wars, energy shocks, social changes. Food prices are a complex and multi-dimensional equation with a lot of variables. But the impressive thing is that even in a modern agriculturally mechanised and industrialised economy there remains a discernable underlying association between food prices and the solar cycle.