In a unorthodox piece by the WSJ, which goes direct to discussing some of the less than pleasant possible outcomes of central planning, Brett Arends asks "could Wall Street be about to crash again? This week's bone-rattlers may be making you wonder" and says: "way too many people are way too complacent this summer. Here are 10 reasons to watch out." And without further ado...
The indicator most hated by its creators, the ECRI Leading Indicators index, continues its bounce along the bottom, printing at -9.8% YoY for the week ending August 13 (in absolute terms 122.4, compared to a revised 121.7 from 121.8 prior), compared to -10.3%. In this way the index has once again recaptured the magical threshold of -10%, meaning Achutan et al will be more than happy to claim credit for how their index confirms the double dip is (cause, yes, that's where we are in a best case) is soon ending. Contrary to the index creators' admonitions, the ECRI LI was good enough to predict the collapse of the economy this quarter.
The latest Philly Fed professional forecaster (whose members are such resolute permabulls as Moody's Mark "How the Stimulus Worked" Zandi and BofA's Ethan "Goldman cutting estimates means I am raising mine" Harris) survey has been released and it is looking notably gloomier than before. "The outlook for growth in the U.S. economy looks weaker now than it did just three months ago, according to 36 forecasters surveyed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The forecasters see real GDP growing at an annual rate of 2.3 percent this quarter, down from the previous estimate of 3.3 percent. On an annual-average over annual-average basis, the forecasters expect slower real GDP growth in 2010, 2011, and 2013.The forecasters see real GDP growing 2.9 percent in 2010, down from their prediction of 3.3 percent in the last survey." The economists also see the chance of a negative Q3 and Q4 rising to 14% and 16.8%. So what they're really telling us is Q2 GDP was likely negative and going rapidly downhill from there.
The August UMich Confidence index came at 69.6, just higher than expectations of 69.0 and better than the previous print of 67.8. The Expectations index came at 64.1, compared to expectations of 63.7, Conditions came in at 78.3 (Exp. of 76.5), even as 1 Year inflation expectations came a little higher than consensus at 2.8, at the expense of 5 year, which in turn was lower 2.7. Stocks spike on the "better than expected" news, as cause and effect in the market continue to matter less and less.
Some developments out of Iran, which after 35 years in delays is set to launch its first nuclear power plant, a fact confirmed by Ali Akbar Salehi, the country's atomic energy chief. This had been preannounced by Russia, which helped build the facility located next to the city of Bushehr. More surprisingly, Russia has formally announced that it would be the country supplying Iran with reactor fuel, effectively ignoring almost 4 decades of roadblocking by the West to bring the NPP project to a conclusion. Did Russia just (in)formally announce it is joining into a new axis with Iran?
And to think Friday 13th almost started off on a favorable footing. After JPM and even Deutsche Bank's Lavorgnia whacked their Q2 GDP revision estimates to the low 1% range, Goldman joins in the realistic crowd, stating that based on retail sales data, "The report is not far enough off expectations to move the dial on revisions to Q2 (currently pointing to GDP growth in the 1% to 1 ½% range from the preliminary 2.4% rate) or to expectations for Q3." Additionally, the firm now sees a 25-30% change of a double dip.
This was our feeble attempt at MSM headline creation. According to Bank of Spain data, Spanish banks were responsible for borrowing a third of all the amount lent out by the ECB in July, or €140 billion (and €130 billion net of redeposits). This number is higher than the already record €136 billion the month before. And even though it is presumably priced in, it is somewhat hilarious to think that an entire European country's banking system continues to subsist purely on the liquidity provided by the central bank: Spain continues to be locked out, joining Greece and likely Portugal in the biggest capital markets shut out in history as no matter what the National Lampoons Stress Tests (remember those?) indicate. But yes, thanks to the temporary EUR plunge to 1.16 Germany managed to pull off a record economic quarter as surging exports carried the eurozone for another month or two. All that is now over, and with the market anticipating QE2.1/3 out of our own Fed any time soon, dollar weakness will be persistently just around the corner, which effectively brings the European Golden Age to a close.
July CPI 0.3%, Beats Expectations On Higher Energy Prices; Advanced Retail Sales Worse Than ExpectationsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/13/2010 - 08:41
July US CPI reported at 0.3%, versus expectations of 0.2%, and a prior -0.1%, most of it coming from increasing energy prices. Year over Year was 1.2%, in line with expectations. The inflation-and-deflation theme continues. CPI ex food and energy was up 0.1%, also inline with expectations, and slightly lower than June's 0.2%. From the release: "The energy index posted its first increase since January and accounted for over two thirds of the seasonally adjusted all items increase. Both the gasoline and household energy indexes turned up in July after a series of declines. The food index, in contrast, declined in July, largely due to the fourth consecutive decline in the fruits and vegetables index." Full release here. Elsewhere, advance retail sales missed expectations, meaning another GDP adjustment lower to come, pushing Q2 GDP further into sub 1% territory. "The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S.
retail and food services sales for July, adjusted for seasonal variation
and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes,
were $362.7 billion, an increase of 0.4 percent (±0.5%)* from the
previous month, and 5.5 percent (±0.5%) above July 2009." The expectation was for a 0.5% increase. Retail sales ex-autos was 0.2% (exp of 0.3%, prior at -0.1%), while retail sales ex auto and gas came at -0.1%, also worse than consensus of 0.1% (previous revised upward to 0.2%).
- Obama's economic tragedy - U.S. fiscal gap makes Greece look responsible (Washington Times)
- The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act: The Triumph of Crony Capitalism, Part 1 (Minyanville)
- Fed's Effort to Bolster U.S. Recovery Fails to Calm Investors (Bloomberg)
- US Farmers to Benefit From Failing Wheat Crops (FT)
- Treasury's new idea for laggard banks: we'll sit at your meeting (WSJ)
- Record German Growth Drives Euro-Region Expansion (Bloomberg)
- Americans grim over economy before elections: poll (Reuters)
- It's confirmed - Central Banks in Europe Said to Have Purchased Irish Notes; Yields Decline (Bloomberg)... And with all the lies about banking stability, one wonders why Europe's periphery continues to be completely locked out of capital markets
- Irish Banks Rattling Nerves (WSJ)
- Hungary’s Recovery Halts as Austerity Stifles Demand (Bloomberg)
- Asian stocks rebound from 3-week low on earnings growth; Yen weakens.
- China shares up due to easy-credit policy hopes.
- French GDP rose a better-than-expected 0.6% in Q2 from the previous three months.
- Germany’s GDP grows 3.7% in Q2 - fastest pace since its reunification.
- Massive German growth helps eurozone expand by 1% in 2Q.
- Oil rises above $76 in Asia; bounces back from week's losses.
- Retail Sales in US probably rose in July for first time in three months.
- US car dealership count fell to 18,223 after 258 showrooms shut their doors in H1 2010.
- Autodesk's Q2 EPS at $0.36 (cons $0.27); revs rose 14% to $473M (cons $458.9M).
- Airport operator BAA and Unite union hold talks to prevent strike.
- BP to pay a $50.6M fine for failing to fix safety hazards at its Texas oil refinery.
- Brazil controls mean Petrobras can't turn oil price surge into profit gain.
One of the classic comedy themes of the year has been Goldman's series of failed recommendations on the EURUSD, where the hedge fund has had about a 1 out of 10 "success" rating (for its clients). Today, the Markets Strategist Mark Tan recaps the firm's 3, 6 and 12 month forecast on the EURUSD, which are, conveniently, 1.22, 1.35 and 1.38. That's like saying the S&P will be in a range of 950 to 1500. At least the firm is sure to "hit" its projected range.... And be sure to watch that major inflection point some time in December which send the dollar sharply lower: is Goldman implicitly saying the "real deal" QE will now come around New Year's, just after the elections and just before the government has to raise the debt ceiling regardless? One thing we agree with, as we have long claimed: look for strikes and other expressions of non-appreciation to spike once everyone is back from vacation. As Goldman says: "One of the main reasons we incorporated downside risks to our EUR/$ forecast (1.22 in 3-months) is to reflect the potential for rising political tension again. This could potentially occur as Europe returns from its summer lull and is confronted with the reality of unpopular austerity measures." What are the InTrade odds on CNBC broadcasting the next storming of the Greek parliament?
RANsquawk European Morning Briefing - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 13/08/10
Easily the most feared technical pattern in all of chartism (for the bullishly inclined) is the dreaded Hindenburg Omen. Those who know what it is, tend to have an atavistic reaction to its mere mention. Those who do not, can catch up on its implications courtesy of Wikipedia, but in a nutshell: "The Hindenburg Omen is a technical analysis that attempts to predict a forthcoming stock market crash. It is named after the Hindenburg disaster of May 6th 1937, during which the German zeppelin was destroyed in a sudden conflagration." Granted, the Hindenburg Omen is not a guarantee of a crash, and the five criteria that must be met for a Hindenburg trigger typically need to reoccur within 36 days for reconfirmation. Yet the statistics are startling: "Looking back at historical data, the probability of a move greater than 5% to the downside after a confirmed Hindenburg Omen was 77%, and
usually takes place within the next forty-days." The last Hindenburg Omen occurred during the lows of 2009. Today, we just had another (unconfirmed) Hindenburg Omen. It is time to batten down the hatches - something big is coming.
What made America great was her unsurpassed ability to innovate. Equally important was also her ability to rapidly adapt to the change that this innovation fostered. For decades the combination has been a self reinforcing growth dynamic with innovation offering a continuously improving standard of living and higher corporate productivity levels, which the US quickly embraced and adapted to. This in turn financed further innovation. No country in the world could match the American culture that flourished on technology advancements in all areas of human endeavor. However, something serious and major has changed across America. Daily, more and more are becoming acutely aware of this, but few grasp exactly what it is. It is called Creative Destruction. It turns out that what made America great is now killing her!
Ideally, reforming the government-controlled mortgage financing
behemoths Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would achieve three goals:
1) Minimize the government’s balance sheet risk from a future collapse in home prices.
2) Promote a more constructive pricing of risk that isn’t distorted by government guarantees.
3) Avoid an increase in borrowing costs that could come as the
government’s role is redefined. (Well, this goal might not be ideal:
There is something to be said for a world of lower home prices and
higher market-based credit costs, but any idea that produces that
result seems a political non-starter.)