David Rosenberg released an emergency note today, in addition to his traditional morning piece, in which the sole topic is the upcoming recession, which he says is now a "virtual certainty". He also says what Zero Hedge has been saying for month: that 2011 is an identical replica of 2010, but with the provision of modestly higher inflation, which needs decline before QE3 is launched. Sure enough, a major market tumble will fix all that in a few days, and ironically we can't help but continue to wonder whether the Fed is not actively doing all in its power to actually crash the market to about 20% lower which will send practically flatten the treasury curve and give Bernanke full reign to do as he sees fit. However, as long as the BTFD and mean reversion algos kick in every time the market makes a 2% correction, such efforts are doomed, which in turn makes all such dip buying futile. We give the market a few more weeks before it comprehends this. In the meantime, with each passing day in which "nothing happens", the recession within a depression looms closer, and soon it will be inevitable and not all the money printed by Bernanke will do much if anything (except to terminally wound the dollar). In the meantime, for those who wish to prepare for the double dip onset, here is Rosie's checklist of what to do, and what not.
- Japan Intervened in Yen, Nikkei Says
- Japan Intervened to Sell Yen, Finance Minister Noda Says
- Yen Falls as Much as 1.8% to 78.43 Per Dollar After Intervention
- Japan’s Intervention Was Unilateral, Finance Minister Noda Says
- MOF sold under Y500 billion in intervention: 2 dealers
- Noda Says He Hopes Bank of Japan Will Take Appropriate Actions
The EFSF plan to let countries buy bonds at a discount is a true Catch-22 proposition. If they don’t source many bonds, the benefit to the country is too small to make a difference at the sovereign level, and sovereign contagion risk remains in play. But if they are able to buy a meaningful amount of bonds, those bonds will be coming from banks that had been desperately avoiding taking the mark to market hit, potentially triggering contagion among the banks. The narrow window where this program might stop sovereign contagion without triggering bank contagion is too small to think that a bunch of politicians or economists will be able to steer the course accurately and that some other unintended consequence won’t rear its ugly head.
Presenting Why The SEC's Proposed "Market Volatility" Contingency Plan Is A Failure, Even As The SEC Continues To Lie To EveryoneSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/03/2011 - 18:25
The rational and efficient market mythbusters at Nanex have made another major discovery, having gone through the SEC's proposed plan to deal with extraordinary market conditions, better known as Limit Up/Limit Down Plan to Address Extraordinary Market Volatility, brilliantly abbreviated to LULD, and find that even if said been had been in place before May 6, 2010 it would have done absolutely nothing to prevent the 1000 swing in the Dow. Cutting through the chase, and partially explaining once again why there has been over $150 billion in domestic equity mutual fund outflows since the beginning of 2010, is that "The SEC has proposed many band-aid fixes since May 6, 2010 in an effort to make investors feel confident again about the equity market. The sad truth though is that none of their proposals so far will prevent another flash crash. Worse, some proposals, such as this one, will likely make things even worse." Bottom line: investors have no confidence that this market is at all better, and in fact it is very likely that the market could crash just as violently as May 6, at any given moment, as the SEC has done nothing to fix the underlying problems, but merely redirect and pretend that it is on top of things, while taking a nip and a tuck at some of the easily remedied symptoms. And as long as this mutually acceptable delusion continues, stocks are in constant danger of another epic wipe out courtesy of the SEC, which will eliminate what little confidence there is, even among those who trade purely with "Other People's Money." We thank Nanex for their ongoing pursuit of the truth behind the SEC's endless lies. Because if the regulator itself is corrupt and incompetent, then there really is no hope for market efficiency and fairness.
Gross US Debt Surges By $240 Billion Overnight, US Debt To GDP Hits Post World War II High 97.2%, Official Debt Ceiling Increase Only $400 BillionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/03/2011 - 18:06
Two things happened when the Senate voted in the "Bipartisan" plan into law yesterday: i) deferred debt on the Treasury's balance sheet finally caught up with reality, and ii) as a result of i) America's Debt/GDP just hit a post World War 2 High of 97.2%. Becasue as the Daily Treasury Statement as of last night indicates, total US marketable debt surged by $124.6 billion, while debt in intragovernmental holdings (Social Security, Government Retirement Accounts, etc), soared by $113.6 billion, for a combined one day change of $238.2 billion, the single biggest one day increase of US debt in history. Obviously this is a result of massive underfunding and disinvestment in the various government retirement accounts as well as due to deferred debt which was to be booked since the debt was breached on May 16. However, how marketable debt could increase by a whopping $125 billion without any actual auction settlement is slightly confusing. Just as confusing is that according to the endnote in the debt subject to limit calculation, the new ceiling is not the $900 billion increase as requested, but only $400 billion more than the $14.294 billion previous, or at $14.694 billion. We hope this is some Treasury type or misunderstanding as this new ceiling will be breached in a month. And the last thing we need is this whole debt ceiling drama back again in September. One thing there is no confusion about, however, is that based on the latest gross debt number of $14.581 trillion, and the just reported Q2 GDP of $15.003 billion, total US debt to GDP is now a post World War II high of 97.2% (and that excludes the GSE off balance sheet debt).
It feels like it was just yesterday that the Whack-A-Mole algo in Earthlink was wreaking NBBO havoc (completely unsupervised mind you: it is not like anyone would expect the SEC to move its little finger to address this glaring Reg NMS 'outlier'). Wait, it was... Which probably explains why the very same algo is back in the very same name, at the very same time.
Of all the dumbest things we heard today, the one that attributes the last minute jump in the market to a CNBC interview with Barton Biggs (or Not-So-Biggs based the meager $547 MM in AUM for his Offshore fund) easily takes the cake. The man whose only recent claim to fame is the following soundbite from last November which conclusively proves that in race for the 100% RDA of Geritol, Charlie Munger may have a serious competitor, ""Bernanke has gotten the stock market up, which is what he wants to do, the stock market is an important symbol of confidence, and Mr. Market is a pretty good forecaster of the economy" appeared on CNBC and told anyone who was not immediately bored to death or hit by a sudden urge to be incontinent, that the market is "grossly oversold" and sees a "significant rally" on the horizon, with a jump of 7-9% in the next three weeks virtually guaranteed. In retrospect this is precisely the idiocy the serves as a market catalyst in the post-11:30 trading block when Europe is closed, when Intesa Sanpaolo does not trade but not due to being halted all day, and when idiots and robots take over. Regardless, we decided to look at the levered beta momentum chaser's soundbite track record over just 2011. To our not so great dismay, Biggs has called at least 6 bull markets in a period of time in which the S&P has gone... negative.
RANsquawk Market Wrap Up - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 03/08/11
As is typical for me, I woke up this morning with the sun shining in my face from the east-facing window of my apartment here in Vilnius. It’s a really spectacular place– 2 bedrooms, around 1,000 square feet, and generously decorated with a lot of elegant finishings. From here, I’m about 2 blocks from the main square– an excellent location. But the best part is the price. This luxurious penthouse is setting me back a whopping 49 euros per night– that’s around $70 USD. This is reflective of Lithuania’s substantially lower cost of living, especially compared to the rest of Europe. For example, I spent about $100 at the grocery store for a week’s worth of food last night, most of it organic… and locally produced. Lithuania is also a very cost effective choice for business owners. The labor pool is quite inexpensive– you can hire a university educated, trilingual employee who speaks English and Russian in addition to Lithuanian, for $800 to $1,200 per month. Personal and corporate tax rates here are also very low, a hallmark of the Baltic economies. And one of the secrets of this place is that you can actually be granted residency in Lithuania simply by forming a local company.
Yesterday, JPM's Michael Feroli who is now undisputedly the least worst Wall Street economist (RIP Hatzius) cut his 2012 GDP forecast to under 1% net of fiscal adjustments. As of minutes ago, he just slashed his Q3 GDP from 2.5% to 1.5%. And the worst news for Obama: he will be dealing with 8.9% unemployment during his re-election campaign, which can now Rest in Peace. Speaking of RIPs, here's to you growth Hockeystick. You will be fondly forgotten.
The ICI fund flow data is out and it is ugly: in the past week, investors pulled money from every single strategy for a total outflow of $10.4 billion. As usual the biggest drop was in domestic equities, which saw $8.76 billion in withdrawals, the largest since the Flash Crash when investors yanked $13.4 billion. This is the 15th consecutive week of outflows, and brings the year's total cumulative outflow to $50 billion. Add to this the $98 billion in withdrawals in 2010 and one can see why the mutual fund ponzi, which is already facing record low cash levels, is desperately relying on further stock appreciation as any additional capital withdrawals will result in a toxic downward spiral of selling. Because should the cash balance of about 3% of assets be used up, there will be no other way to satisfy redemption requests than with accelerated selling. In other news, taxable bond funds saw $67 million in withdrawals, a very rare outflow from fixed income, while muni funds saw $147 million in outflows.
The Treasury's Borrowing Advisory Committee, chaired by such luminaries as JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, which according to some (and by some we mean anyone who cares about such things) is the brains behind the decision-making process of US debt issuance has released its quarterly minutes, in which it has issued one of the most stark warnings about the fate of the US Dollar to date. While it is now a daily occurrence for China and Russia to bash the dollar, for the most part still powerless to provide an alternative (but rapidly gaining), the same warning coming from Jamie and Lloyd has to be taken far, far more seriously. Which is precisely what happened today. As Bloomberg reports, "The Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee... said the outperformance of haven currencies and those from emerging nations has aided in the debasement of the dollar’s reserve status, according to comments included in discussion charts presented ahead of the quarterly refunding. The Treasury published the documents today. “The idea of a reserve currency is that it is built on strength, not typically that it is ‘best among poor choices’,” page 35 of the presentation made by one committee member said. “The fact that there are not currently viable alternatives to the U.S. dollar is a hollow victory and perhaps portends a deteriorating fate.”"
As always happens, about a week after Goldman telegraphs the need for QE3, which they did last Friday, the WSJ's Fed mouthpiece Jon Hilsenrath reaches out to the media and proceeds to give the secret QE handshake. Now in its third iteration. In an "exclusive" interview with the Fed's last tree monetary affairs committee, Donald Kohn, Vince Reinhart and Brian Matigan, Hilsenrath observes that according to these masters of the universe the chance of another recession is 20-40%, which we are confident is a given at 100%, but more importantly, he quotes Don Kohn who "said the Fed still has some options to support the economy, but "they're kind of limited." He said he expects the central bank, which holds a policy meeting Aug. 9, to wait and see whether the recovery is really losing steam before taking any action. If that's the case--and inflation is coming down--then he would give "very serious consideration" to a new round of bond purchases, he said." Well, the 30 Year is at 2011 lows, TIPS are screeching, and stocks are plunging: all indications that the market anticipates deflation. Looks like the only wildcard is whether the FOMC will determine next Tuesday that the economy has slowed down. Which it has. We believe the August 9 statement will be very interesting to most, and will result in some quite serious market volatility, as ever more are pricing in hints of an imminent resumption of LSAP or, in the least, Operation Twist with the confirmation likely to come at this year's Jackson Hole meeting, as we predicted back in April.
Volume Surges, 63% Above Average, On Way To Hit 1 Year High, 3 Days Away From All Time Longest Consecutive Down Day RecordSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/03/2011 - 13:06
For all those lamenting the disappearance of stock trading volume in 2011, that would be Goldman Sachs first and foremost if only one of the stocks sold off the most wasn't GS, today you get a reprieve. In anticipation of a 9-th consecutive down day, which will be the longest losing streak since 1978, composite trading volume through 1:00 pm is about 63% above the 30 day moving average, and 30% higher through this time yesterday. Run-rating today's volume over the remaining three hours of trading would imply a whopping 12 billion shares, which would be the highest since June 25, 2010, when 13.9 billion shares traded (the catalyst being the Congressional watering down of the financial reform bill; this time the catalyst is the ending of the Ponzi). Incidentally, the longest losing streak in US markets history is 12 days, recorded in both 1941 and 1968. This means we are just three more days of Eurocontagion from making history.
As if we needed another confirmation that the US consumer is running on empty, here comes Bloomberg with valuable disclosure from an internal, and supposedly confidential, Wal-Mart memo on store traffic patterns which indicate that in US store locations open for at least a year have seen a 2.6% drop in traffic in the February to June period compared to a year earlier. While this may not sound huge, keep in mind the company is massively leveraged to even the smallest marginal moves in traffic, courtesy of already razor thin margins. Specificall, the Wal-Mart stores in question had "82.8 million fewer visits through the first five months of the company’s fiscal year." More than anything this is an indication of just how exhausted the US consumer is becoming if even the most beloved, widespread and cheapest option for purchases is now being shunned outright. Bloomberg continues: "Wal-Mart’s plan to recapture customers by returning thousands of products to U.S. store shelves has failed to reverse a decline in foot traffic at the world’s largest retailer, said Jeff Stinson, an analyst at Cleveland Research Co. That’s primarily because Wal-Mart’s core low-income customers are shopping less and going to other retailers more often, according to two recent shopper surveys." This should not come as a surprise to anyone, since frequent Zero Hedge readers will recall the post in which the CEO of Wal Mart America said that "shoppers are running out of money"; and there is no sign of a recovery." When it comes to marginal traffic, it appears shoppers have just run out of money. And that includes those who no longer pay their mortgage and pay for everything with their now well maxed out credit cards.