Last week we destroyed in detail the fallacy that the plunging participation rate in the US was related to demographics. Despite Ben Bernanke's comments during his press conference last week that demographics play a role, it seems Fed's Dudley and Lockhart have a different view - in line with ours.
- *DUDLEY SAYS UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DECLINE `OVERSTATES' PROGRESS
- *LOCKHART SAYS A NUMBER OF EXPLANATIONS FOR PARTICIPATION RATE (as we covered here)
- *U.S. FED'S DUDLEY SEES 'HOLLOWING OUT' IN LABOR MARKET INCLUDING FACTORY WORKERS
- *LOCKHART: LOWER PARTICIPATION MAY MEAN LOWER ECONOMIC POTENTIAL, WHICH IS A CONCERN
What now? Instead of demographics (the aging of America fallacy), it is a 'hollowing out' of our manufacturing base and this leads to lower economic growth potential. It seems Stockman's 'born-again jobs scam' is very real.
As expected, here come the first two doves "explaining" the reasons behind Bernanke's taper surprise last week:
- DUDLEY SAYS FED MUST ACT ‘FORCEFULLY’ TO PUSH AGAINST HEADWINDS
- DUDLEY: MAY TAKE CONSIDERABLE TIME TO REACH 6.5% JOBLESS LEVEL
- DUDLEY SAYS ECONOMY STILL NEEDS `VERY ACCOMMODATIVE' POLICY
And Lockhart adds to the chorus:
- LOCKHART SAYS FED FOCUS SHOULD BE FASTER U.S. ECONOMIC GROWTH
- LOCKHART HAS BACKED FED'S ASSET PURCHASE PROGRAM
- LOCKHART SEES `SOME SLOWING' IN U.S. PAYROLL GROWTH
Translation: much more "high-quality collateral" to be extracted from the system.
If the Fed was worried about 'froth' in the markets earlier in the year, then this chart should have them panicking. Of course, as Jim Bullard noted Friday, there is no bubble because everyone knows there is no bubble but judging by the massive surge in covenant-lite loan issuance, there is a bubble in forced demand for leveraged loans. At $188.7 billion, the 2013 issuance of these highly unsafe loans (which have seen huge inflows since the Fed started talking taper back in May) is almost double that of the peak of the last credit bubble in 2007 and is five times the size of 2012 YTD issuance at this time. As Reuters notes, Covenant-lite loans used to be reserved for stronger companies and credits, but are now so common in the U.S. leveraged loan market that investors are becoming wary of some credits with a full covenant package. With corporate leverage at all-time highs, what could go wrong?
Despite exuberance at European and Chinese PMIs, the US clean shirt just skidded with a miss. Against expectatins of a high YTD 54.0 print, PMI posted 52.8 - its lowest in 3 months and falling for the second month in a row. New orders fell at the slowest pace since April (boding ill for durable goods) and the employment sub-index grew at the slowest pace in 3 months (suggesting payrolls will not hold up well). Of course, as Markit notes, bad news is good news "as far as policymakers are concerned there are some worrying signals in relation to the sector’s growth momentum, which vindicate the Fed’s decision to hold off on tapering its asset purchases."
UPDATE: AAPL +5.7% on revised guidance
Despite concerns about supply (and 'change') the lines we saw on Friday and the disappointments in the UK have been dismissed by the latest Apple press release as opening weekend iPhone sales top their record at 9 million sales (compared with the 5 million sold at iPhone 5 launch and 6-7mm units expectations).
APPLE SAYS OVER 200M IOS DEVICES RUNNING IOS 7
APPLE 9M NEW IPHONE 5S AND IPHONE 5C MODELS SOLD IN 3 DAYS
APPLE SAYS OVER 11M UNIQUE LISTENERS USED ITUNES RADIO
APPLE SEES 4Q REV. NEAR HIGH END OF $34B-$37B, EST. $36.11B
The share price was up over 4.5% from Friday's sub-50DMA close in pre-market trading; but is fading back now.
Recall that three weeks ago we warned that "Monti Paschi Faces Bail-In As Capital Needs Point To Nationalization" although we left open the question of "who will get the haircut including senior bondholders and depositors.... given the small size of sub-debt in the capital structures." Today, as many expected on the day following the German elections, the dominos are finally starting to wobble, and as we predicted, Monte Paschi, Italy's oldest and according to many, most insolvent bank, quietly commenced a bondholder "bail in" after it said that it suspended interest payments on three hybrid notes following demands by European authorities that bondholders contribute to the restructuring of the bailed out Italian lender. Remember what Diesel-BOOM said about Cyprus - that it is a template? He wasn't joking.
Following the FOMC surprise, no less than twelve Fed speeches will provide some "clarifications" on where the Fed now stands. It is very likely that this subject will continue to dominate the discussions of market participants. At the same time, US data will get scrutinized after the recent weakening and to see how warranted the Fed's concerns were. Two US consumer sentiment surveys, durable goods orders, and the third reading of Q2 GDP are important. In addition, monthly consumption and income data for August provide more information on the third quarter and of course there will be interest in the latest weekly claims numbers after some distortions in recent readings.
- Triumph Confirms 'Era of Merkelism' (Spiegel)
- Merkel must reach out to leftist rivals after poll triumph (Reuters)
- Norwegian Air says both its Dreamliners hit by technical issues (Reuters)
- Chinese court gives Bo Xilai life sentence (CBS)
- Social Dems Deflect Talk of Merkel Alliance (Spiegel)
- Blasts shake Nairobi mall, smoke pours from building (Reuters)
- Open-Government Laws Fuel Hedge-Fund Profits (WSJ)
- Forbes Calls Goldman CEO Holier Than Mother Teresa (Matt Taibbi)
- BlackBerry move away from consumers unlikely to stem decline (Reuters)
- And another Greek strike: Greek teachers, civil servants to strike against layoffs (Reuters)
After a three day standoff between as many as 15 al-Shabaab hostage takers in a Nairobi mall and the local police and now army (as a tank has just arrived) has resulted in nothing more than mass casualties and even more black smoke rising from the structure, it is likely that the end of the siege is near, especially considering the staccatto of loud explosions coming from the mall in the past hour. Follow the action live at the following live webcast.
The German elections came and went, with Merkel initially said to have an absolute majority, but in the end being forced to design a Grand Coalition. Still, the punditry has been tripping over each other desperate to make that result (or any other result) positive for Europe , which despite now paving the way for policy continuity, together with the latest round of less than impressive Eurozone PMIs (following the strongest China HSBC PMI in 6 months) failed to inspire appetite for risk in Europe this morning where stocks have traded mixed. What is amusing is that everyone expected, the second Merkel gets reelected things in Europe would start going pump in the night - sure enough, the Italian FTSE-MIB is underperforming in early trade amid reports that Italy's economy minister Saccomanni threatened to step down if the country does not stick to its pledges it made to the European Commission. However to a certain degree, the negative sentiment towards Italy was offset by €4.8bln of coupon payments and €24.1bln of redemptions from Italy which is eligible for reinvestment this week. With a second Greek 2-day strike in one week scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, look for Europe's catalytic event to unclog, now that the German political picture is set, culminating with the 3rd (and 4th) Greek bailouts and probably more: after all Europe now needs a lower EURUSD (recall Adidas' warning), and that usually means a localized crisis.
As it turns out, a lot... and also very little.
UPDATE: Most of Emerging Asian equities are notably in the red still
Asian markets were quietly limping lower taking their lead from the US weakness on Friday but China's flash PMI just printed above expectations and Japanese, Chinese, and US futures are getting a little lift. After priting below the official data for the last 5 months, the HSBC PMI is now firmly into 'expansionary' territory but perhaps the most 'amazing' thing is the last 2 months have seen the equal best improvement in almost 4 years, as it shifted from the worst contraction in a year to the best expansion in six months. It is very clear that the PBOC has realized what we described just 2 weeks ago - no leverage, no growth; and decided the free-money train is back on the rails (as illustrated by the surge in home prices). Of course, there's always the questions whether any of this is real - but buy first, think later seems the order of the night.
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As Typhoon Usagi bears down on Hong Kong, the Securities and Derivatives Exchange that the mornig sessions of both markets will be delayed. If the Typhoon remains a Level 8 of above past 9am (HK time), the morning session will be cancelled and all trading cancelled if the Usagi holds Level 8 or above beyond midday local time. The Hong Kong Obersvatory currently has the Typhoon a Level 8.