Exxon Mobil hasn't asked federal regulatory authorities to restart the Pegasus oil pipeline, which burst open in a neighborhood in Mayflower, Ark. In March, a 22-foot rupture in the pipeline spilled about 5,000 barrels of diluted Canadian crude oil into an area of marshland, though the company said it's been effectively cleaning the area with long-term remediation in mind. Talking points over pipelines are focused on economic and energy security interests on one side of the argument versus emissions and cleanup on the other. Given the legacy of pipeline spills since the Keystone XL debate began more than four years ago, the "real" issue may be the lack of debate over just why so many of these pipelines have burst open in the first place.
With the first arrow of Abenomics perhaps hitting its limit, it will be the second and third arrows that need to occur quickly and aggressively to carry this momentum forward (and for the economy to grow into stock valuations). Barclays lays out 15 of its most frequently asked questions below but concerns remain as the BoJ’s planned absorption of nearly 80% of new JGB issuance from the markets this fiscal year has triggered a dramatic change not only in JGB supply/demand and ownership structure but in the JGB market risk profile itself, which has moved from “low carry, low volatility and high liquidity (superior to other assets from perspective of risk-adjusted returns or Sharpe ratio)” to “low carry, high volatility and low liquidity (inferior from same perspective)”. Barclays added that with a wave of major political and policy events ahead, starting with a crucial Upper House election, there was no big change in the basic belief among foreign investors that Japan is likely to be the main source of surprise for the global economy and of volatility in financial markets.
...It seemed like every week we would hear about some terrorist with a suitcase-sized bomb, and the bureaucrats would dive into a lively debate about whether or not to evacuate the Americans. One day, I remember, my friend who was the senior ranking non-commissioned officer interrupted and said, “What about the Swedes? Do we evacuate the Swedes too?” The embassy staff looked at each other, shrugged a bit, “Oh sure, sure, we’ll coordinate with Washington on that.” And the discussion continued. “What about the Saudis?” Silence again. And then he really made his point. “It’s not just about Americans, you know. [others] blood is worth something too.”
Two days ago we suggested that "they better pray there is no short squeeze." Today, following the just released latest CFTC Commitment of Traders data which showed that the Comex gold short position grew once again to a new all time high of 79,416 shorts, all prayers are now off. If we may be so bold as to we suggest, the time has come to upgrade to the sacrificial slaughtering of at least a lamb on the altar of Saint Ben, because even the tiniest hint of a forced cover will now result in the biggest rip your face off levered short squeeze seen in the history of the yellow metal. Maybe throw in an ink cartridge or two for good measure...
You can see it clear as day in their hedging strategies... Natural gas producers are increasingly bearish on prices for their sector. With more firms hedging, investors looking for upside from rising gas prices need to be careful about where they put their money - especially today. With hedging activity rising the last few years, good deals in the hedge market are getting hard to find.
Just as Ben Bernanke's monetary easing program changes with the times (back then he believed it was the Stock that mattered, now it is Flow, but one thing is constant: always moar), so does his computer desktop. And while we know, tentatively, what his preferred computer space looked like three years ago, the times have changed. Behold Ben Bernanke's new and improved PC desktop...
What is going to happen when the greatest economic bubble in the history of the world pops? The mainstream media never talks about that. They are much too busy covering the latest dogfights in Washington and what Justin Bieber has been up to. And most Americans seem to think that if the Dow keeps setting new all-time highs that everything must be okay. Sadly, that is not the case at all. Right now, the U.S. economy is exhibiting all of the classic symptoms of a bubble economy. What we are witnessing right now is the calm before the storm. Let us hope that it lasts for as long as possible so that we can have more time to prepare. Unfortunately, this bubble of false hope will not last forever. At some point it will end, and then the pain will begin.
The 2nd worst week of the year (2nd only to Cyprus) for US equities was accompanied by Treasury buying as the JPY carry trade unwind continues in every risky-or-'yieldy' product. On an admittedly low volume day (typically good for a magical levitation in stocks), Treasury markets closed the day unchanged (and 30Y bonds ended the week unchanged). Stocks bounced after testing yesterday's intraday lows but intriguingly (Mrs. Watanabe?) it was Utilities that were the hardest hit sector on the day as stocks fell back rapidly after bonds closed finding balance at VWAP. The JPY strength weighed on the USD as it fell 0.7% on the week with gold and silver both up notably relative to other asset classes (+1.8% and 0.5% respectively). The last minute of the day saw a ridiculous instantaneous spike to take the S&P 500 to their day-session highs to desparately try to regain green on the day (SPX cash closed -0.87 points). Futures closed green with an 8 point run from 455ET (as we note no credit police were around to stop the idiocy).
By now every single chart laying out every possible permutation of a hopelessly insolvent and overlevered world has been compiled, created, colored and in some cases, animated and socially networked. The following chart showing global debt dynamics over time from the WSJ is no different: it is animated (check) it has lots of pretty colors (check), and it is quite informative because it remembers that in addition to public sector debt, there is a thing called the private sector (sadly it avoids shadow debt: perhaps someone good at making 3D animated charts should take a stab?) and succeeds in incorporating everything in one cool animation. Yet why it may be most memorable, or not as the case may be, is that it is merely the latest chart in a seemingly infinite series which are just not big enough to fit Japan. Perhaps it is time to make a chart of all the charts that need to be bigger to show the true Japanese state of affirs. That, or in reverence to the sadist joke, pardon "experiment" (as Jens Weidmann would say) that is Abenomics, we can finally start making bigger charts.
With the long-weekend rapidly approaching, ConvergEx's Nick Colas takes a trip to the Hamptons, but through a time warp back to the Great Depression. Examining the social registers (colloquially called the “Blue Book”) from 1927 and 1940, he finds that “The great and the good” of the day had real trouble holding their status during the social upheavals of the late 1920s and 1930s. Only 32% of the families appearing in the Blue Book in 1927 were still there in 1940. The ratio was even worse, at 29%, for the ultra-elite who belonged to the Meadow Club in Southampton. It’s too early to tell what the last few volatile years will do to the upper crust of East Coast society, of course. Or what may still be in store. But when the hedgie in the Bentley cuts you off on Route 27 this weekend, take some solace in knowing he may not be there in a few years. “Yes, the wealthy are different. Every year there are different wealthy people.”
Despite ultra-low interest rates, practically unlimited liquidity, and a capital market seemingly willing to lend to anyone for anything on any terms, the very heart of Europe's economy - German CapEx on machinery - is falling at a rate faster than during the Tech bust... the tough news for anyone looking for a silver lining is that this just goes to confirm what we saw in US durable goods orders - there is simply no 'decoupling', it is a lead-lag inter-linked global economy.
Today's binary message to vacuum tubes: "ignore the last available signal that has driven the market for months and make sure stocks close green" - simply just not to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of all those billionaire hedge-funders enjoying the launch of Hamptons season. The other best hope is that volume tapers (sorry Hilsenrath, we just said the word, oops) to zero, in which case the DJIA (now that nobody even pretends to care about the S&P) may just close limit up on a 1-lot trade.
In the past, food and alcoholic beverage makers got in trouble for attempting to cover the impact of inflation (such as the 12% Y/Y increase in Fed employee salaries) by diluting the content, or simply serving less, of their products while keeping the price constant: the same thing as rising prices, but optically more palatable to less than sophisticated consumers. That was the past. A new breed of industrious, high profit margin-seeking alcohol vendors have decided to skip this protocol entirely and instead of serving booze, have opted to replace the product outright. As AP reports, at numerous New Jersey bars, including 13 TGI Fridays restaurants, owners were accused of substituting cheap booze while charging premium prices. The profitability at all costs situation was so bad that at one bar, a mixture that included rubbing alcohol and caramel coloring was sold as scotch. In another, premium liquor bottles were refilled with water — and apparently not even clean water at that.