Thank god for Germany, whose Q1 GDP printed at 0.8%, above the expected 0.7%, and higher than Q4's 0.4%, or else the Eurozone's very disappointing Q1 GDP, which printed at 0.2% or half the expected 0.4%, could have been flat or negative.
- More than 20 dead, doctor says, as anti-China riots spread in Vietnam (Reuters)
- Russia's Gazprom plans Singapore stock exchange listing (Reuters)
- Inside Europe’s Plan Z (FT)
- Ukraine slides deeper toward war as Russia warns to vote (BBG)
- Fast-Food Protests Spread Overseas (NYT)
- BOJ Beat, Officials Could Upgrade Outlook for Capex (WSJ)
- Euro-Zone Economy Shows Weaker-Than -Expected Expansion (WSJ)
- Yahoo to YouTube Ads Spreading Viruses Rile Lawmakers (BBG)
- New York Times Ousts Jill Abramson as Executive Editor, Names Dean Baquet (BBG)
- NYT Publisher Said to Always Have Clashed With Abramson (BBG)
- Google gets take-down requests after European court ruling - source (Reuters)
In yet another quarter confirming that Walmart is merely a company that can beat analyst expectations when it cashes Uncle Sam's welfare checks and foodstamps, when the impact of Obamacare is ignored, and when the second it snows all bets are off, WalMart reported Q1 EPS of $1.10, below the $1.15 expected, even if the company was able to explicitly quantify what the impact of snow in the winter was: "Severe weather in the U.S. businesses negatively impacted EPS by approximately $0.03." Apparently the weather's impact on the top line was over $1 billion because revenues came in at $114.96 billion, below the $116.3 billion expected.
In this brave new centrally-planned world, where bad is good, very bad is very good, and everything is weather adjusted, Japan's blistering GDP report last night, printing at 5.9% on expectations of 4.3% was "bad" because it means less possibility for a boost in QE pushing futures lower, while the liquidity addicts were giddy with the GDP miss in Europe where everyone except Germany missed (as for the German beat, Goldman's crack theam of economic climatologists, said it was due to the weather), and the Eurozone as a whole came at 0.2%, half the forecast 0.4%, which in turn allowed futures to regain some of the lost ground.
That greatest contrarian indicator in the history of finance, Tom Stolper (arguably even better than Dennis Gartman), may no longer be at Goldman but his muppet-crushing spirit lives on. With Bund (and Treasury) yields tumbling to lows not seen since mid 2013, adding insult to injury, and accelerating the short squeeze, here is Goldman's Francesco Garzarelli with "Trade Update: Close Trade recommendation selling short Euro Bund June 14 futures (RXM4), for a potential loss of 2%."
UPDATE 2: Reuters reports - citing a doctor at Ha Tinh Hopsital - 21 dead (5 Vietnamese, 16 "described as Chinese")
UPDATE 1: The Standard reports Anti-chinese riot leaves 1 dead, 90 injured in Vietnam
Anti-Chinese sentiment in Vietnam spilled over into rioting on Tuesday, with Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reporting that two Taiwanese citizens were injured. Protests against a Chinese oil rig in the South China Sea (as we discussed here and here) turned violent, damaging hundred of foreign-owned factories centered on industrial zones in the provinces of Binh Duong and Dong Nai, located respectively to the north and northeast of Ho Chi Minh City.
Geithner Confirms Mafia-Linked Berlusconi's Forced Ouster, But Says US Did Not "Have Blood On Our Hands"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/14/2014 - 21:38
Silvio Berlusconi - ironically nicknamed "The Teflon Don" - has been found to have done business with the Sicilian Mafia for nearly two decades, according to Italy's Supreme Court of Cassation in Rome. Having attacked the "biased judges" who called his actions "a continuous crime," Berlusconi wriggled out from under this result since the link to the Cosa Nostra was, as The Independent reports, via his conduit and former senator Marcello Dell’Utri who was sentenced to 7 years for mafia association. While this confirms as fact yet another conspiracy theory, the bigger story was the confirmation of a broad-based bloodless coup to ouster the Italian Prime Minister at the peak of the credit crisis. "At one point that fall, a few European officials approached us with a scheme to try to force Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi out of power," Tim Geithner writes in his new book, and after telling the President about "this surprising invitation," they decided not to get involved (publicly): "We can't have his blood on our hands."
When it comes to the topic of the marginal utility of debt, or how much GDP does a dollar of debt buy (an example of which can be seen here), most people are aware that the developed world is facing ruin: with debt across the west already at record, nosebleed levels, and with GDP growth slowing down (due to capital misallocation, thank you Fed, demographic and productivity reasons), it is only a matter of time before it doesn't matter how many trillions in debt a given treasury will issue (and a given central bank will monetize) - the credit impulse will simply not translate into incremental economic growth. But did those same people also know that Asia is almost as bad if not worse as the west when it comes to the marginal utility of debt?
When obnoxiously wealthy pricks with the ability to bribe stock exchanges to place their trading computers on the floor of the exchange and financially induce the Wall Street banks to funnel trades through their dark pools in order to know what is happening a nanosecond before everyone else, and use this information to front run unknowing investors to generate risk free profits, it’s wrong. It really is black and white. I don’t care that it is supposedly “legal”. By complying with Regulation NMS the smart order routers of institutional investor firms like Vanguard, Fidelity and Schwab simply funneled naïve investors into various snares laid for them by the unscrupulous high frequency traders. The bad guys always win and the good guys always lose on Wall Street. And no one does anything because they are all on the take. Lewis puts it in terms the average person can understand.
The stock markets are booming, the economy is booming, and the main stream media is booming with stories about both. Yet, as IceCap Asset Management's Keith Dicker warns, if one looked closely between all of this booming, one would find that everything isn’t quite booming after all.
If ever there was a better indication of the malinvestment boom created by an interfering Fed, this is it. As demand for shipping collapses on real slowing in the global economy - markets have "told" shipbuilders to "build it and they will come"... here is a ship-shipping ship, shipping shipping ships.
Bye Taper Tantrum, Hello Tepper Tantrum: Appaloosa Head "Nervous", Says "Dont' Be Too Freakin' Long"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/14/2014 - 19:19
Almost exactly a year ago Bernanke unleashed what Zero Hedge first dubbed the Taper Tantrum. Moments ago, the head of Appaloosa revealed what may be the catchphrase of mid-2014 with the "Tepper Tantrum", when during his presentation at the annual SALT conference in Las Vegas, the usually bubbly and cheerful billionaire (who last year made $400,000 per hour or a total of $3.5 billion) spooked everyone and in what for someone who has traditionally been long everything on leverage can pass as sheer doom and gloom basically told his wide audience that he is "nervous, it's nervous time" and in this "dangerous market", it is "time to preserve money"; his advice to anyone listening: "don't be too freakin' long".
Following last quarter's biggest miss in 18 months, Japanese GDP surged to its biggest beat in 3 years. This is the same kind of reflexive (and at that time entirely unsustainable) bounce that was seen after the Tsunami in 2011. Of course the big problem is that this removes much of the crutch for further QQE in July that so many have been hoping for. The initial pop in the Nikkei has faded rapidly into selling pressure and USDJPY is also losing ground... good news is once again, terrible news for equity investors.
Dwindling resources produce the least admirable human behaviors, something science has tested and understands quite well. Ukraine is a bellwether; we will see other conflicts like it elsewhere in the world, and likely, in time, within our own nation. Which is why understanding the nature of social unrest is so important, particularly to those considering relocation (within or outside of their home country). You certainly don't want to leap from the frying pan into the fire as resource scarcity and conflicts are now part of the global equation.
We recently noted that crude oil prices vary markedly around the world due to multiple factors but the derivative that so many of us use - gasoline (or petrol as some might say) - varies even more so. From Hong Kong and Edinburgh (almost 2.5x NYC prices) to Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta (almost half the price of NYC), the spread is remarkable.