Heroic efforts are being made to cloak the stagnation of the U.S. economy. One of these is to shift the unemployed work force from the negative-sounding jobless category to the benign-sounding Not in the Labor Force (NILF) category. But re-labeling stagnation does not magically transform a stagnant economy. To get a sense of long-term stagnation, let's look at the data going back 38 years, to 1977.
"Suddenly, good news is busting out all over, and we can't not talk about them. I have been bearish for a while now, but if the facts change, I have to change with them," the "Mad Money" host said.
As was previewed last week in the advance release of international trade data which showed a big drop in the US deficit, moments ago the BEA confirms as much, when it reported that in August the US trade deficit blew out from $41.8 billion to a whopping $48.3 billion, an increase of 15.6%, as a result of a $3.7 billion drop in exports, offset by a $2.8 billion increase in imports. The August deficit, driven in major part by the surge in the US deficit with China which shot out to a whopping $32.9 billion, was the worst monthly print since March, and the second worst trade data read going back to early 2012.
Overnight Barclays looked at the link between the current state of corporate profits, plunging by 60bps, and the broader economic cycle. It used data set stretching to the last seven business cycles, dating back to 1973, and found that on 5 out of 6 occasions, such a drop in margins resulted in a recession. In Barclays' own words: "the results are not encouraging for the economy or the market."
While Reverse QE, or QT, or whatever one wants to call it has become traditionally associated with Emerging Markets and petroleum exporters, nobody had linked it with one of the most advanced Developed Markets in the world which also happens to be an oil exporter, the market with the largest sovereign wealth fun in the world: Norway. That is about to change because as Bloomberg report, "the future may already be here", a future in which Norway's gargantuan $830 billion sovereign wealth fund, the product of two decades of capital accumulation courtesy of Norway's vast petroleum reserves and oil trade, is forced to begin liquidating its vast assets.
"The data are positive for the probability of the yuan getting into the SDR basket. It shows that the so-called devaluation in August, which wasn’t massive in value, hasn’t driven people away from using the yuan."
- Asian shares rise on fading Fed rate views (Reuters)
- U.S. Equity Futures Fall, Risking S&P 500 Rally as Copper Slides (BBG)
- More biotech pain, this time from the WSJ: For Prescription Drug Makers, Price Increases Drive Revenue (WSJ)
- VW Will Delay or Cancel Non-Essential Investments Due to Scandal (BBG)
- Russia Rejects No-Fly Zone Over Syria as Clerics Urge Reprisals (BBG)
- Historic Pacific trade deal faces skeptics in U.S. Congress (Reuters)
- German Factory Orders Unexpectedly Fall Amid Economic Risks (BBG)
The best headline to summarize what happened in the early part of the overnight session was the following from Bloomberg: "Asian stocks extend global rally on stimulus bets." And following the abysmal data releases from the past three days confirming that the latest centrally-planned attempt to kickstart the global economy has failed, overnight we got even more bad data, first in the form of Australia's trade deficit, and then Germany's factory orders which bombed, and which as Goldman said "seems to reflect genuine weakness in China and emerging markets in general and this will weigh on the German manufacturing sector."
After 5 days of CEO-confidence-inspired BTFD-ing (a la Bear Stearns), following the 30% collapse at the start of last week, Glencore's stock price is tumbling 7.7% in the early European trading. Following a deep plunge off the open yesterday (which was rallied back to the highs) and extreme volume atthe close, Tuesday's early weakness has pushed the stock to the biggest loss since last Monday's carnage...
Earlier today the US decided to jump right on it, and as CNN reported, accordint to the latest U.S. assessment of Moscow's activity in western Syria, "Russia has moved several ground combat weapons and troops into the area to potentially back up Syrian forces in the field planning to attack anti-regime forces, according to two U.S. defense officials."
Baldly stated, the United States government is the greatest danger to peace and freedom the world has ever known. This is true precisely because it has held aloft the torch of liberty for so long, an example to the world of what a society based on individual freedom can achieve. That is the great paradox of American power. As we abandon our libertarian heritage – even as we retain the forms of a constitutional republic – we destroy what made our power possible. The process is reversible: we can restore our old republic – but only if we give up the mirage of empire.
Just as was evidenced after the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech, after Columbine and Tucson in 2011, and following the theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado in 2012, US gun sales have soared following the mass-shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, which killed 10 people and injured seven others. As The FT reports, gun sales this year could surpass the record set in 2013, when gun purchases surged after the December 2012 Sandy Hook murders.
The popular belief that the U.S. economy has been steadily recovering has endured months of disappointing data without losing much of its appeal. But the downright dismal September jobs report that was released last Friday may prove to be the flashing red beacon that even the most skilled apologists can't explain away. But rather than questioning the Fed's credibility in missing another forecast, most economists are lauding it for supposedly seeing weakness that others missed, which allowed it to wisely do nothing in September. But this is simply a continuation of the Fed's long-standing playbook: Talk the economy up through optimistic statements while continually holding off an actual rate hike that the Fed is concerned could undermine an economy teetering on the brink of recession.