November 20th, 2013
In today's finance lesson, JCPenney demonstrates what happens when one takes the X in TR=P*X a little too far. As for that "Old Normal" concept of of actually generating a profit on TR... well, just ask Amazon.
The Fed’s economic models, and 99% of the economic models employed by Central Banks in general, believe that monetary easing can bring about an economic recovery. The primary argument for this crowd if QE has thus far failed to produce a recovery is that the QE efforts have not been big enough. And then there’s Japan...
The U.K. faces a housing-market bubble unless the government boosts the supply of new homes, the OECD warned yesterday. U.K. home values have climbed 36.6% since 2004, the seventh-biggest rise among OECD nations and back near their 2007/8 bubble highs. The Bank of England said last week mortgage approvals had surpassed 60,000-a-month six months earlier than it had predicted. As Bloomberg's Niraj Shah notes, while the OECD raised its forecasts for U.K. economic growth, it said risks to the recovery include “vigorous” house-price increases that may curtail affordability. We are sure this will all end well - a speculative real estate bubble as the key driver of nominal economic growth? What could go wrong?... Is it any wonder that UK realtors see the crash coming and are asking the government to step back from this policy-induced euphoria?
At one point during the evening, when pressed about whether his Quantitative Easing program was good for Wall Street at the expense of Main Street, Ben Bernanke flat out denied it, saying that such a premise is "simply not true". He defended his printing $85 billion per month, suggesting that fixing interest rates at zero is beneficial for society because, among other things, it allows people to 'buy cars'. I saw these words coming out of his mouth and thought to myself, "Is this guy f'ing serious?" Cars. Wow. As if going into debt to purchase a rapidly depreciating consumer item is somehow a victory for the people.
It's Bullard's Turn To Pour Cold Water On Stock Ramp, Says December Taper Possible, Considers Negative Rates As WellSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/20/2013 11:39 -0400
First it was Carl Icahn, then Larry Fink, and now it is Fed "bellwether" Bullard who take the ECB's NIRP and doubles down with a "Taper"
- BULLARD WOULD LIKE STUDY OF NEGATIVE RATE FOR EXCESS RESERVES
- BULLARD SAYS THINGS ARE LOOKING BETTER
- BULLARD SAYS JOBS PICTURE LOOKING BETTER
- BULLARD SAYS QUESTION IS WHETHER JOBS PICKUP SUSTAINABLE
- BULLARD SAYS A STRONG JOBS REPORT FOR NOVEMBER WOULD INCREASE PROSPECT TO TAPER IN BOND BUYING IN DECEMBER
Yeah, everyone is falling for that one again. Sure. For now however, EURUSD is buying it, and is down 100 pips on the combined action of the NIRP rumor and the possibilty of a December Taper.
Given our earlier comment on the collapse of European earnings, it is perhaps unsurprisng that the CEB is throwing everything at the problem of a strong EUR:
- *ECB SAID TO WEIGH MINUS 0.1% DEPOSIT RATE IF MORE EASING NEEDED
Of course, we await the official denial but suspect this is nothing more than attempt to gauge market response to the policy idea (just as Draghi did in May). For now, EURUSD has dumped to 1.3480, and US equities are soaring...
It seems, despite the Fed's efforts to unscamble the treasury complex's eggs, that the rate shock of a taper/no-taper decision has become sticky in the housing market. With the fast money exiting, existing home sales missed expectations for the 4th month in a row - dropping to the lowest annualized number since June (very much against the trend in recent years). This is the biggest month-over-month drop in existing home sales since June 2012 but, of course, NAR has an excuse... "low inventory is holding back sales." So, in other words, they could sell loads more houses if only there were more available for sale (or prices were lower...)...
Well that escalated quickly. Just a week ago we noted that President Obama's approval rating trajectory was following an increasingly Dubya-esque route and sur eneough, today, a CBS poll shows that a mere 37% "approve" of the job Obama is doing. This is the same poor approval rating as Bush II's second term at this time and perhaps more ironically comes only a month or so after he crowed of the Republicans' collapsing polling results during the debt-ceiling debacle. In aggregate, as RealClearPolitics shows, Obama's approval rating has collapsed to the lowest on record (and likewise his disapproval rating has soared). We await the next 'distraction' from the administration's dismal state of affairs...
All "recovery watchers" are urged to look somewhere else than the just released monthly Caterpillar dealer retail sales. Because while in September there was some hope that North American industrial demand may finally be picking up when retail sales on the continent posted the first two month sequential increase since 2012 even as the rest of the world was stuck deep in negative territory, that hope too was just been dashed with October North American retail sales posting the first decline of -2% since July. And unfortunately while North American sales just rejected any glimmer of a localized recovery, the rest of the world just keeps getting worse and worse, with negative sales prints across the board for every region - the first time this has happened since February 2010. The only difference is that then the trend was higher. Now, well, it isn't.
Talking-heads and commission-takers have momentum-chased clients' hard-earned money into Europe's 'what works now' markets - on the basis of what has now proved to be entirely fallacious macro- and micro-fundamental improvement (as we noted here and here). But, while "whatever it takes" has smashed bond spreads lower and has blown stock prices higher; most critically, the 'confidence' has seen the EUR rise almost 15% against the USD from its July 2012 "whatever It Takes" lows. The effect of this EUR strength is to collapse earnings growth expectations as European competitiveness is crushed (core or periphery). Of course, bulls can rest assured, as the following chart shows, 2014 is expected to hockey-stock back to record EPS growth (just like 2013 was supposed to?).
Following several months of disappointing retail sales, and two months of missed expectations, October finally saw the best beat in headline expectations since April, with retail sales rising 0.4% vs 0.1% expected. However, as has been the case in all of 2013, the bulk of this beat was driven by car sales, which rose by 1.3%, leaving sales ex autos beating by the tiniest of fractions at 0.2% vs 0.1% expected, and ex autos and gas +0.3%, vs 0.2% expected. Looking at the components, following month after month of clothing store sales misses, this category finally posted a modest 1.4% rebound, together with an increase in Electronic and Sporting goods sales, amounting to 1.4% and 1.6%, respecitvely. This was offset by the traditionally strong Building materials sales which declined by 1.9% in October.
“This is different" and "this location is different" is the mantra of every property bubble. We will soon see if the London property bubble is truly different or will suffer the fate of the bubbles throughout history. Of the four charts in our market update today, which ones do you think show characteristics of a bubble? Those diversifying and buying gold in the UK will be rewarded in the coming years. The smart money is reducing exposure to overvalued London property and increasing exposure to undervalued gold.
Five years ago it was worth $0. Then, a month and a half ago it went to $150 a piece. On Monday it shot to over $600.
Moments ago JCP announced results for Q3 which were atrocious, with Q3 earnings of -$1.81 coming in worse than already numerously lowered expectations of -$1.74. Comp store sales declined 4.8% with total revenues of $2.779 billion in the quarter, even as margins continued contracting, and dipped to 29.5%. The margin chart below says it all: Q3 margins have followed the following path: 2011- 37.4%, 2012 - 32.%5; 2013 - 29.5%... one can figure out what comes next. But most notably, in Q3 the company once again ignited its cash burn afterburners, with total free cash flow of $898 million, bringing the total cash burn for 2013 to a whopping $3 billion! Luckily for the company, in 2013 it has been able to fund all of this cash burn through a combination of cash and stock, amounting to $3.2 billion YTD. At October 31, the company had $1.2 billion in total cash which should allow it to enter 2014 without filing for bankruptcy, although with a total debt load of $5.6 billion compared to $3 billion a year ago, only very foolish people can possibly see how this story has anything but a very unhappy ending.
- JPMorgan $13 Billion Mortgage Deal Seen as Lawsuit Shield (BBG)
- J.P. Morgan Is Haunted by a 2006 Decision on Mortgages (WSJ)
- World powers, Iran in new attempt to reach nuclear deal (Reuters)
- Keystone Foes Seek to Thwart Oil Sands Exports by Rail (BBG) - mostly Warren Buffet?
- How Would Fed Deal With Debt Ceiling Crisis? Look to Minutes for Clues (Hilsenrath)
- Anything to prevent the loss of prop trading: 'Volcker Rule' Faces New Hurdles (WSJ)
- BOE Sees Case for Keeping Record-Low Rate Beyond 7% Jobless (BBG)
- Obama Backs Piecemeal Immigration Overhaul (WSJ)
- Abenomics Seen Cutting Japan Bad-Loan Costs to 2006 Low (BBG)