With lumber prices plunging to fresh 3 year lows, the divergence between homebuilders and the most economically-sensitive commodity is starting to suggest a rather scary case of deja vu all over again.
Bank Of England Exposes US Cronyism: Questions Why Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Is Not Too Big To FailSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/20/2015 - 18:00
If you thought currency-wars were a problem, just wait until crony-wars begin. In a stunning show of disagreement among the omnipotent, The FT reports that a Freedom of Information Act request has confirmed The Bank of England wrote to US authorities seeking clarity about Berkshire’s absence from a provisional list of "systemically import" (Too Big To Fail) financial institutions (SIFIs). The US Treasury declined to comment...
"At the bottom of the cycle, firms cut labor faster than output. The higher productivity led to improving margins, earnings and stock prices. Now labor is being added faster than output, and with large companies like McDonalds, Walmart and Target announcing pay increases, unit labor costs are likely to increase further. All told, there is a good chance earnings will actually shrink this year. We think the market is too high if earnings have, in fact, peaked for the cycle, and we have reduced our net exposure by adding more shorts."
- David Einhorn
Last week, we documented the mysterious case of WalMart’s move to shutter multiple geographically distinct locations across the US for “plumbing issues.” Once we dug a bit deeper into the history of the affected stores we noticed that one store in particular — the Pico Rivera, CA location — has been at the forefront of wage and working condition protests for the better part of three years. Now, as NY Times reports, "a claim set to be filed on Monday by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union with the National Labor Relations Board says that the closings were in retaliation for a history of labor activism at one of the shuttered stores, in Pico Rivera, Calif."
IBM numbers in a nutshell: Revenue dropped by 11.9% to $19.6 billion; Net Income dropped by 2.4% to $2.3 billion...
And yet... GAAP EPS rose by 2.6% to $2.36!
Here's the accounting magic behind this "beat"
"An alternate, more sophisticated approach to explaining why QE may not work to stimulate aggregate consumption is, perhaps, because the demographic mix of the U.S. (and most parts of the developed world) has shifted toward older people. Unlike 30 or 40 years ago, the enormous baby boomer generation, and even retirees, are much wealthier (including human capital) than in the past, and they are wealthier than current generations earlier in their life cycle. So the wealth effect does not lead to an increase in consumption and, potentially, has the opposite outcome."
- Robert Merton
Following Monsanto lobbyist comments recently that he's "not stupid" enough to drink the weedkiller that he also proclaimed was safe enough that "you can drink a whole quart of it and it won’t hurt you;" Reuters reports that the maker of the world's most widely used herbicide, Roundup, wants an international health organization to retract a report linking the chief ingredient in the weedkiller to cancer. The company said on Tuesday that a report, issued on Friday by the WHO, was biased: "The WHO has something to explain." However, as one scientist noted, "there are a number of independent, published manuscripts that clearly indicate that glyphosate...can promote cancer and tumor growth."
While it is 'possible' that The Fed's net worth could become negative, such a phenomenon would be "temporary and would not create serious problems."
China is looking to succeed where the United States has failed. Beijing — which, as a reminder, claims it will not use its regional infrastructure development initiatives as a tool of foreign policy — is now set to facilitate the construction of nearly $50 billion in power plants, roads, and railways in neighboring Pakistan. The proposal, which will give China access to the Indian Ocean via the Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea, is part of President Xi Jinping’s ambitious “Silk Road” Economic Belt, and importantly, will likely include financing for the completion of the "Peace Pipeline," which will carry natural gas from Iranian gas fields across Pakistan.
Did Greece Just Launch Capital Controls: "Mandatory Cash Transfer" Decreed Due To "Extremely Urgent Need"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/20/2015 - 12:57
We warned last week that capital controls were inevitable and it apears the first steps have been taken (very quietly):
*GREECE ISSUES DECREE: LOCAL GOVTS OBLIGED TO TRANSFER DEPOSIT RESERVES AT CENTRAL BANK
The built-up tensions and fragilities are begging for release. The unfortunate consequence of not allowing the process of “creative destruction” to occur in banking and Big Business is that the historic forces behind it will seek expression elsewhere in the realm of politics and governance. The desperate antics of central banks to cover up financial failure can’t help but provoke political upheaval, including war.