The hope-strewn bounce in Services PMI over the last 3 months (despite collapsing macro data) has ended. Markit Services PMI dropped in April to 57.4, weakening notably from preliminary expectations of 57.8. Markit remains convinced that their survey implies 3% GDP growth and all is well in the world. ISM Services however smashed expectations, printing 57.8 vs 56.2, its highest since November - despite a plunge in new export orders into contraction.
Hope springs eternal. The S&P Energy sector is surging once again this morning as crude prices top $60 with stocks now back at Nov 2014 levels (up 12% in the last month). What most do not realize as they blindly follow the momentum, excited that 'something is working' is that the valuations - based on analysts' forward earnings projections - have only been marginally higher than this once... right at the peak in 1999. The S&P Energy sector trades at a 28x Fwd P/E!
After the Saudis allegedly halted their air campaign against Yemen's Houthi rebels on April 21 (allegedly because it promptly resumed the very next day to almost no public announcement), the Yemen civil war and the "skirmishes" by Houthi rebels along the border with the world's biggest oil exporter were quickly forgotten. Until this morning, when the Saudi press and social media has been overrun with reports that the Saudi city of Najran was shelled by Houthi mortars, an attack which Saudi advisor to the armed forces Ahmed Asiri said "will not pass without a response".
There is little advantage to be gained by being aggressively allocated during the summer months. However, in reality, there are few individuals that can maintain a strict discipline of only investing during seasonally strong periods consistently. Also, time frames of when you start and when you need your capital for retirement make HUGE differences in actual performance. However, a willful disregard of "risk" will inherently lead to the destruction of the two most precious and finite assets that all investors possess – capital and time.
ISIS Warns Of "Harsher And Worse" US Attacks After Claiming Responsibility For Botched Texas ShootingSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/05/2015 - 08:59
As we first reported on Monday, ISIS has indeed claimed responsibility for the attack on a security guard in Garland, Texas on Sunday evening. In a statement, the group warns of further attacks that it promises will be "worse and more bitter" and may be "just around the corner."
Remember that in a beggar thy neighbor world, where currency warfare has once again broken out between the US, Europe and Japan, for every winner there is a loser. In this case, the loser is the one country that has decided that a strong currency is a great thing for its economy (if only for the time being): that would be the US. Why is this relevant? Because as the chart below shows, US trade excluding Petroleum, just crashed to $43.7 billion, the worst print in the history of the series, suggesting that portrayals of the US as a resurgent export powerhouse are completely erroneous, and that instead the US is as big a net importer of goods and services (and soon to be oil) as ever.
After shrinking notably in Feb, March's US Trade deficit exploded. Against expectations of a $41.7bn deficit, the US generated a $51.4bn deficit - the worst since Oct 2008 and the biggest miss on record. Exports rose just $1.6bn while imports soared $17.1bn with the goods deficit with China soaring from $27.3bn to $37.8bn in March. Ironically, just as the "harsh winter" was found to lead to a GDP boost due to a surge in utility spending, so the West Coast port strike which was blamed for the GDP drop, was actually benefiting the US economy as it lead to a plunge in imports. In March, however, the pipeline was cleared, and US imports from China soared by over $10 billion to $38 billion. End result: prepare for upcoming Q1 GDP downgrades into negative territory.
WTI Crude is now up 43% from its mid-March lows (at $42), topping $60 for the first time since early December. This is a 25% retracement of the June to March drop. Despite near-record US production (rose last week WoW), record Saudi production, slowing global economies, and expectations that higher prices will bring a flood of new supply as cash-starved frackers start pumping again; it appears the squeeze combined with Middle East tensions is driving the resurgence (for now). Perhaps everyone should listen to Influential Saudi Oil Minister, Ali Al-Naimi, who said Tuesday that "no one can set the price of oil - it's up to Allah." It seems Allah wants higher gas prices.
- Fed's Yellen says met firm at heart of leak probes (Reuters)
- EU Raises Growth Outlook as ECB Counters Greek Threat (BBG)
- Hillary Clinton Takes Hit in WSJ Poll, but Holds Edge Over GOP Rivals (WSJ)
- China stocks slump on tighter margin rules, IPOs; Hong Kong down (Reuters)
- McDonald’s Chief Promises Turnaround in a Restructuring (NYT)
- German Bond Market Selloff Continues (WSJ)
- Vanguard overtakes Pimco’s Total Return following outflows in wake of Bill Gross’s departure (WSJ)
- EU Demands Concessions as Greece Hurtles Toward Deadlines (BBG)
- Junk Bonds Are The New Haven Assets (BBG)
If yesterday's laughable lack of volume (helped by the closure of Japan and the UK) coupled with hopes that the end of the buyback blackout period was enough to send stocks surging if only to end with a whimper below all time highs despite what is now looking like three consecutive quarters of Y/Y EPS declines according to Factset, today's ramp will be more difficult for the NY Fed and Citadel to engineer, not least of all due to the headwind of the overnight "incident" by China's stock bubble which saw the Shanghai Composite tumble by 4%, the most since January.
Yesterday, when we heard that China brokers may impose tighter margin requirements to contain what is now a laughable stock bubble we said that tonight's Shanghai session could get exciting: "China may get exciting: Some China Brokers Raise Margin Trading Requirement: Sec. News" It did: overnight the Shanghai Composite tumbled by 4.1% to under 4300, the biggest one day drop since January 19.
"China’s capital account might be closed—but it’s not that closed. Between 2003 and 2012, $1.3 trillion slipped out of mainland China—more than any other developing country... GFI says the most common way money leaks out in the developing world is through fake trade invoices. The other big culprit is “hot money,” likely due to corruption—which GFI gleans from inconsistencies in balance of payments data. In China, both activities have picked up since 2009." Just like in the U.S., the so-called government “stimulus” in China achieved nothing more than to stimulate an oligarch crime spree. Hence the global boom in $100 million real estate, art and everything extremely high-end. As intended, the bailouts and stimulus on a global basis went directly to the 0.0001%.
Since we last updated the state of Saudi Arabia's reserve stash, things have gone from bad to worse. It appears the battle to crush US Shale producers is taking its toll as The FT reports, Saudi Arabia is burning through its foreign reserves at a record rate as the kingdom seeks to maintain spending plans (and thus social stability) despite lower oil prices. All the time The Fed remains 'easy', no matter how negative US Shale cashflows are, the muppets will buy their debt and keep the mal-invested market alive. Saudi reserves are now their lowest in almost 2 years (but they have plenty more to chew through to out-wait The Fed).
"...this is a real problem... because today’s American is simply a shell of a citizen none of the criminal atrocities creates even a stir from us. Sure we all read about these atrocities and we are angered in the moment but it passes rather quickly and we fall back into our self-induced ignorant bliss."
Fourteen years after the PATRIOT Act was rushed into law, it is clear that sacrificing liberty does little or nothing to preserve security. Instead of trying to fool the American people with phony reforms, Congress should repeal all laws that violate the Fourth Amendment, starting with the PATRIOT Act.