Recessionary media dynamics 101: "When in doubt, baffle with BS." As expected, Monday's collapse in the manufacturing ISM would need to be offset somewhere, and that somewhere was today's Services ISM which is where the rest of the world decided to dump the "good news." Sure enough ISM just reported a headline number of 54.7, better than both the expected 53.5 and last month's 54.2. This was driven by a better than expected Business Activity/Production index which miraculously soared by 5.8 to 61.2, while New Orders increased to 58.1 from 55.3, and not to mention Imports which had the biggest jump in the month of +6.0 to 55.5 - nothing like reducing your GDP as an indicator of optimism. Where things get very ugly however, was the dump in Employment from 54.9 to 50.3, the lowest since July, and the collapse in prices from 65.5 to 57.0. So much for jobs and margins. But at least it wasn't "Sandy's fault." Overall: nothing to write home about especially in light of all the other recently adverse data.
We warned last night of the spike in average trade size yesterday in AAPL's trading - just as we also saw on 9/21 - and the fading VWAP ramps; and today we see AAPL -3% (-6.7% from its highs on Monday) as volume picks up and the renaissance appears to be ending. WWJTD?
In what is a modestly surprising development, Mirriam-Webster has reported that "socialism" and "capitalism" are the two most looked-up words of 2012, and thus, the words of the year. All we can say is, it is about time people learned the difference. And now that they know how the two differ on paper, they will get a front row seat to experience it in practice too.
Looking at Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index 2012, it's clear that corruption is a major threat facing humanity. Corruption destroys lives and communities, and undermines countries and institutions. It generates popular anger that threatens to further destabilise societies and exacerbate violent conflicts - and as is clear from the chart below, the red (more corrupt perceptions) are creeping across Europe. The Corruption Perceptions Index scores countries on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). While no country has a perfect score, two-thirds of countries score below 50, indicating a serious corruption problem in the world. The US ranks 19th - perceived as more corrupt than the UK, Japan, Barbados, and Hong Kong (but less corrupt that France). In Transparency's words: "Corruption amounts to a dirty tax, and the poor and most vulnerable are its primary victims."
It's around that time of day again - when precious metals are sold hard for whatever reason you care to come up with (collateral requirements, margin calls, alchemy perfected). However, today there is a more mundane reason: Goldman Sachs has suggested its clients sell Gold on the basis that the gold cycle will turn in 2013 thanks to improving US growth offsetting the need for further Fed easing. Of course, Goldman telling its clients to 'sell gold' means Goldman is...
Big news ahead of this Friday's NFP report:
- CITI TO CUT OVER 11,000 JOBS, TAKE PRETAX CHARGE $1B IN 4Q
"Sandy's fault?" Or maybe the economy is collapsing despite all the propaganda one is spoonfed. Considering the recent termination of over 50,000 by UBS we think we know the answer. And while C stock may jump on the news, the end result is that New York and the US have both just lost 11,000 less key taxpayers most of whom are almost certainly in the $250,000+ bucket. That said we can't wait for the BLS to take this data as somehow beneficial for the unemployment rate.
UPDATE: GBP at lows of day - moar QE?
UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivered his Autumn 'Budget' Statement this morning and, as Citi notes, while he signaled that the struggling still-AAA nation is on course to achieve its cyclically-adjusted surplus on a rolling five-year horizon; the government now expects that net public debt/GDP ratio will start falling only in 2016/17 - a year later than originally planned. Mr Osborne attributed the softening in the debt/GDP target to growth underperformance in the UK and the Eurozone; leaving Moody's decision in early 2013 on the AAA rating still in jeopardy (the rating agency put the UK on negative watch and warned the coalition government to refrain from abandoning its ambitious fiscal austerity targets). GDP forecasts have been lowered, with a 0.1% contraction now seen this year (from a +0.8% forecast in the March budget). The 2013 and 2014 forecasts are also lowered to 1.2% and 2.0%, from 2.0% and 2.7% respectively. For now, cable (GBPUSD) has rallied back off knee-jerk reaction lows to around unchanged.
ADP Print Of 118K Misses Expectations, Drops; Manufacturing Jobs Decline For Fifth Month: Zandi Blames SandySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/05/2012 - 08:31
It was only logical, not to mention rhyming, that the new overlord of the ADP private payroll cheat sheet, Moody's Mark Zandi, would blame hurricane Sandi for today's miss in ADP private jobs, which printed at 118K, below expectations of 125K, and well below last month's downward revised 157K. To wit from Zandi: "Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the job market in November, slicing an estimated 86,000 jobs from payrolls. The manufacturing, retailing, leisure and hospitality, and temporary help industries were hit particularly hard by the storm. Abstracting from the storm, the job market turned in a good performance during the month." And abstracting from reality, theoretical central planning might work. More importantly for Obama's "create 1 million manufacturing jobs in 4 years task" f(a)rce, November saw yet another 16,000 manufacturing jobs lost. Fear not though: these were almost offset by the 13,000 highly "productive" financial jobs created in the past month - perhaps all were insurance liability estimators? Finally, with Friday's NFP forecast at 87K, on a range of 15K to 145K, today's ADP report is merely yet more of the same very loud noise we have grown to love and expect from the firm which mysteriously pulled a NAR and revised its 2012 YTD jobs several weeks ago by a few hundred thousand.
Yet another story we have been following for nearly two years (and here) has finally migrated over to the Mainstream Media as attempts to hush it down before it become painfully obvious and problematic, have failed miserably. The WSJ writes that "Detroit auto makers are piling up big stocks of passenger cars at dealers despite brisk new-vehicle sales in the U.S.—a problem that executives vowed to avoid since their painful downturn three years ago."
The Bank of Korea increased gold reserves 20% last month to diversify investments, boosting holdings for the fourth time since June 2011 and underscoring increased demand by central banks according to Bloomberg. The bank added 14 metric tons in November, bringing the total to 84.4 tons, the bank said in a statement today. By value, holdings increased about $780 million to $3.76 billion, equivalent to 1.2% of total reserves, the bank said. “Gold is a physical, safe asset,” the Bank of Korea said in the statement. The precious metal “is a way of diversification, which helps reduce investment risk in terms of foreign-exchange reserves management,” it said. The Bank of Korea bought 16 tons in July, 15 tons in November 2011 a further 25 tons over a one-month period from June to July last year.
- Stay short AUD/NOK, opened at 5.90 on 03 Dec 2012, with a target of 5.00 and a stop on a close above 6.35, currently at 5.88.
- Stay long risk (sell protection) on the CDX High Yield on-the-run index, opened at 506bp on 04 Dec 2012, with a spread target of 450 and a stop on a close above 550, currently at 516.
- Go long the Commodity Carry Basket (Crude, Corn and Base), opened at 100 on 05 Dec 2012, with a target of 112 and a stop on a close below 94, currently at 100.
- LA port workers to return Wednesday (AP)
- Iran says extracts data from U.S. spy drone (Reuters)
- Obama to stress need to raise debt limit "without drama" (Reuters)
- Big Lots Chief Probed by SEC (WSJ)
- NATO missiles to be sent to Turkey, Syria clashes rage (Reuters)
- GOP Deficit Plan Irks Conservatives (WSJ)
- Japan Can End Deflation in Months, Shirakawa Professor Says (BBG) ... almost as good as Bernanke ending inflation in 15 minutes.
- Osborne Prepares to Breach Fiscal Rules Amid U.K. Growth Slump (BBG)
- Global Banking Under Siege as Regulators Guard National Interest (BBG)
- Freeport plans return to energy (FT)
- Serbian NATO envoy jumps to death at Brussels airport (Reuters)
- Tide Turns After a Flood of Chinese Listings (WSJ)
- Australian economy loses steam (FT)
- Euro Crisis Feeds Corruption as Greece Slides in Rankings (BBG)
To think it took a really ugly economic number, such as the Services PMI reported last night, to stir the Chinese stock market out of a hypnotic drift lower, and push it up by 2.7%. Why? Because in the New Normal bad economic news means hope that central banks get involved, and as we have explained the ongoing SHCOMP collapse is purely a function of the PBOC remaining on the sidelines. Last night, rumors (very unfounded and very incorrect) that the central bank would intervene put a stop to the drop. Sadly, as the PBOC has no intention of ending its ultra-short term reverse-repo driven market support strategy, the bounce will be very short lived. However, that coupled with more jawboning out of the BOJ that it would act, if it has to (whether under Abe or Noda), sent the JPY even weaker, and futures ramping on tiny overnight volume which wiped out all the previous day's losses.
I recently received the following question from a friend of mine and wanted to share my thoughts with my market pals, and throw this out for feedback. I would be particularly interested in hearing from my derivatives friends who are much more technically informed than I am on the subject.
“I was looking at something today that I thought you would probably have some comment on: have you noticed how wide the out months on the VIX are versus the one or two month? How are you interpreting this?”
From my viewpoint this has been a key debate/driver in the equity derivatives world for a good while now (I started having this discussion in early 2011 with some market pals and the situation has only grown more extreme since then).