Jobless Claims Jump Back Above 300k As Shale State Losses Mount

As the noise of jobless claims data once again ripples through the narrative of unequivocally good low gas prices, initial claims in Shale States continues to trend higher. TX and PA saw the largest rise in claims (from the Shale States) lagged a week. Overall, initial jobless claims jujmped 24k to 304k (above the supposed Maginot Line demarcating the "everything is awesome" from the "we're gonna need a bigger QE") missing expectations by the most in a month. The Initial Claims trend appears to have seen a regime shift from lower to higher...

Retail Sales Plunge Twice As Much As Expected. Worst Back-To-Back Drop Since Oct 2009

Following last month's narrative-crushing drop in retail sales, despite all that low interest rate low gas price stimulus, January was more of the same as hopeful expectations for a modest rebound were denied. Falling 0.8% (against a 0.9% drop in Dec), missing expectations of -0.4%, this is the worst back-to-back drop in retail sales since Oct 2009. Retail sales declined in 6 of the 13 categories.

Greece To ECB: "Get To Work, Mr. Draghi"

With talk that Greek banks have hit their emergency lending limit with the ECB (which has prompted a teleconference this morning among ECB polcy-makers), it seems the newly-found position of negotiating strength for Greece (perhaps encouraged by China or Russia behind the scenes) has prompted more demands:

  • GREECE'S SYRIZA CHIEF ECONOMIST JOHN MILIOS PROPOSES OVERALL EURO ZONE DEBT OVERHANG REDUCTION BY ECB
  • ECB COULD BUY ALL EURO ZONE DEBT MATURING IN 2016-2020 AND ALL INTEREST PAYMENTS-SYRIZA'S MILIOS
  • ECB WOULD FOOT THE BILL NOW, BUT BY 2040 IT WOULD BE ABLE TO ERASE ALL LOSSES THROUGH PROFIT RETENTION-MILIOS

Roughly translated - "Get back to work, Mr.Draghi" and monetize all of Europe's debt. With negative net issuance (i.e. central banks already monetizing over 100% of 2015's expected issuance) already here, this demand merely pushes the 'independent' monetary policymakers to enable more fiscal profligacy.

Greece: Another Big Picture Update And The Latest Calendar Of Events

Confused by the whirlwind of conflicting facts, not to mention outright lies, leaks and rumors, surrounding the negotiations of what will either be the third Greek bailout of its first, and final, Greek exit from the Eurozone? The following summary should answer most questions.

Empire Of Lies

We are living in an era where a single statement of truth will drive a pin into the global bubble of phantom assets and debts, and the lies spewed to justify those bubbles.

From JPMorgan's "Sell" Downgrade Of Tesla

"Our downgrade is about more than execution risk; we note: (1) The profound drop in fuel prices harms the competitiveness relative to internal combustion engine vehicles of TSLA’s planned Model 3 mass-market car, the potential for which we believe accounts for the majority of today’s equity value; and (2) Competition is mounting – automakers at the recent Detroit Auto Show debuted a number of electrified vehicles, some of which appear directly aimed at the Tesla Model S (e.g., Mercedes C-Class Plug-in Hybrid), the X (e.g., Audi Q7 e-Tron Plug-in Diesel Hybrid), and the 3 (e.g., Chevrolet Bolt) – see takeaways from our walking tour of the show. We reduce our estimates on flow-through of 4Q’s softer sales and margin trends, and guidance for higher operating costs: 1Q15 goes to -$0.31 from +$0.93 and FY15 to $1.89 from $4.12. Our December 2015 price targetd-declines to $175 from $180." -JPM

Frontrunning: February 12

  • 'Glimmer of hope' for Ukraine after deal at Minsk peace summit (Reuters)
  • Ruble Rebounds, Russian Stocks Surge on Ukraine Cease-Fire Deal (BBG)
  • Greek PM Tsipras in Brussels as clock ticks on EU bailout (Reuters)
  • Emerging-Market Currencies Rout Not Over for Traders (BBG)
  • Little noticed, new Saudi king shapes contours of power (Reuters)
  • In Wake of Financial Crisis, Goldman Goes It Alone (WSJ)
  • AmEx Is Losing Its Millionaires (BBG)
  • Thousands to Lose Health Insurance Over Residency Questions (WSJ)

Market Wrap: Whirlwind Manic-Depressive Session Sees Futures Slide Then Surge

So far it has been an overnight session which clearly forgot to take its lithium, with futures first tumbling after CNBC's "leak" that a Greek deal had been reached was refuted, only to surge subsequently on both the Riskbank's foray into NIRP and QE which crushed the Swedish currency and sent its stocks to recorder highs, and more importantly, on the latest ceasefire out of Minsk which has pushed Russian and European assets substantially higher. While only the most naive believe that any palpable end to Ukraine hostilities will emerge as a result of today's delay, expect for Greek headlines to return with a vengeance as today it is Tsipras' turn to speak at a summit of the 28 European Union leaders set to begin momentarily.

Sweden Central Joins The NIRP Club: Lowers Interest Rate To -0.1%, Launches QE

"There are signs that underlying inflation has bottomed out, but the situation abroad is now more uncertain and this increases the risk that inflation will not rise sufficiently fast. The Executive Board of the Riksbank has therefore decided to cut the repo rate by 0.10 percentage points, to -0.10 per cent, and to adjust the repo-rate path down somewhat. At the same time, the interest rates on the fine-tuning transactions in the Riksbank's operational framework for the implementation of monetary policy are being restored to the repo rate +/- 0.10 percentage point. Moreover, the Riksbank will buy government bonds for the sum of SEK 10 billion. These measures and the readiness to do more at short notice underline that the Riksbank' is safeguarding the role of the inflation target as a nominal anchor for price setting and wage formation."

Ukraine Ceasefire Deal Agreed After Negotiations All-Nighter; Doubts Remain About Its Implementation

It would have simply been too much to handle for Europe and the risk off algos if hours after the embarrassing failure of the emergency Eurogroup meeting in Brussels failed to reach any deal involving Greece, the Ukraine ceasefire negotiations in Minsk were also to fall apart. Again. Which is probably why after a marathon session lasting 17 hours, and following repeated trial balloons that a deal had and/or had not been reached, a short while ago all major media outlets were delighted to finally blast some Risk On news namely that leaders of France and Germany brokered a renewed deal to end Ukraine’s 10-month civil war in the separatist eastern region, which means that we have a Minsk-signed Ukraine ceasefire. Again.

Greek Deal Falls Apart After EU Says "No Way Forward", No Eurogroup Statement; Greece "Questions Merit" Of Bailout Extension

Following earlier deal rumors citing 'unidentified sources' stating that:*GREECE AGREEMENT `IN PRINCIPLE' REACHED, GREECE WILL STAY IN EU BAILOUT PROGRAM, DETAILS OF GREECE DEAL UNCLEAR, CNBC REPORTS (after which stocks futures and EURUSD surged), the Eurogroup and Greece have completely denied any progress was made whatsoever...

GREEK GOVT OFFICIAL SAYS NO AGREEMENT IN EUROGROUP, GREECE WILL NOT ACCEPT AN EXTENSION OF CURRENT BAILOUT
DIJSSELBLOEM: NO STATEMENT POSSIBLE WITHOUT JOINT CONCLUSIONS
GREECE WOULD NEVER AGREE TO STAY IN CURRENT PROGRAM: VAROUFAKIS

Guest Post: Understanding The Fear Of Self-Defense And Revolution

"Our era is a strange one when considering how social attitudes have developed in such a contrary fashion to the rest of history. I think that our forefathers would look upon our current culture with bewilderment when confronted with the fact that our generation has all but abandoned the option of physical rebellion as a tool for social change. I believe a revolution is indeed necessary, a final revolution to remove the influence of the globalist cult once and for all — not only their puppet governments, puppet political parties and puppet despots, but the globalists themselves. Will bad men still exist in this world? Of course they will. But the kind of advanced and well-organized internationlist machine that thirves today will no longer exist. To save a patient poisoned to the extreme, the patient must be purged until his body can recover on its own. The elites are a poison that must be physically removed from the human system."

Austria's 3rd Largest Bank Goes Full Bear Stearns: CEO Blames "Short Sellers" For Firm's Demise

You know it's bad when... you start blaming speculators. Very reminiscent of the "it's not us, we have a solid balance sheet, it's the short selling speculators" bullshit in the days before and after the stock crashes of American Insurance Group, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch; mere days after his bank's bonds crashed, the CEO of Raiffeissen Bank (Austria's 3rd largest) has stated (unequivocally) that "panic was created artificially," blaming short-sellers for his bank's demise.

Fourth Turning: The Shadow Of Crisis Has Not Passed - Part 2

The dominoes are beginning to fall. The initial spark in 2008 has triggered a series of unyielding responses by those in power, but further emergencies and unintended consequences juxtapose, connect and accelerate a chain reaction that will become uncontainable once a tipping point is reached. The fabric of society is tearing at points of extreme vulnerability, with depression, violence and war on the foreseeable horizon. Mr. President, the shadow of crisis has not passed. The looming shadow of crisis grows ever larger and darker by the day as this Crisis enters the most dangerous phase, where the existing social order will be swept away in a torrent of carnage and ferocious struggle. We are not a chosen people. We are not immune from dire outcomes.

Billionaire Baubles: A $3.5 Million iPhone 6

In today's new normal, all that matters is pretense and for the most pretentious items we need to dig deep down in the Oligarch ornaments folder. The latest must-have item among those that really understand the world (and manage it) - The $3.5 million "Diamond Ecstasy" iPhone 6 from Goldgenie.

Jim Rogers On Opportunities In Russia & Other Hated Markets

"I’m optimistic about the future of Russia. I was optimistic before this war started in Ukraine, which was instigated by the US, of course. But in any case, I bought more Russia during the Crimea incident, and I’m looking to buy still more. Unfortunately, what’s happening is certainly not good for the United States. It’s driving Russia and Asia together, which means we’re going to suffer in the long run - the US and Europe. Another of the big four Chinese banks opened a branch in Moscow recently. The Iranians are getting closer to the Russians. People are starting to reexamine the propaganda that comes out of Washington. Even the Germans are starting to reassess the situation."

America Is Not Greece

We all "know" how terrible the Greek economy is... day after day we are told about it... and reminded at the same time how "everything is awesome" in America. So the following chart may come as a surprise to some... with expectations for future Greek GDP growth now above 'awesome' America's last year.