August 21st, 2012
As we noted last night, the 100bps of outperformance garnered by the NASDAQ (thanks to AAPL's exuberance) in the last 3 days was remarkable. Equally remarkable - the total compression of that 100bps of relative outperformance to zero in the last three-hours...
The US is experiencing its worst drought since 1956. Altogether 63% of the lower US 48 states are experiencing a drought. As a result of this, the USDA has said that 50% of the US’s corn crop will be in poor to very poor condition.
As everyone awaits (or doubts) the next coordinated central planning bank action - whether Fed QE (Lockhart stymied?), ECB 'bottomless pockets' (Merkel's back), or China RRR (reverse repos?) - the prices of things we need (as opposed to want) continue to rise. Nowhere is this more important than in China with its extremely high levels (and volatility) of deposit flows increasingly levered to re-inflationary actions by the PBoC. The critical aspect of the following analysis is that in the US, the stock market acts as an 'inflation buffer' for the rich's excess disposable income; in China, this is not the case and given the greater than 3.4x leverage compared to the US, PBoC actions flow much more rapidly through the populace to the things they need - and right now more inflation is not what they need or want - which perhaps explains the reverse-repo 'gradual' tightening.
Since sickcare is fiscally and demographically unsustainable, it will eventually be replaced by something that is sustainable. Our only choice is to either let the current system collapse and then start pondering sustainable alternatives, or begin an honest discussion of sustainable alternatives before sickcare implodes in insolvency. In the spirit of openly discussing a variety of sustainable, systemic healthcare options, we present this essay by correspondent "Ishabaka" M.D. on how to cut our current (18% of GDP) healthcare spending by 50%.
Powerplant by powerplant
Don't worry, the 'fiscal cliff' will all be taken care of; have no fear, the market AAPL will hold up into the election to sustain Obama's hope-and-change; and, as The Heritage Foundry blog reports, in that change, there are 18 new tax hikes on their way via Obamacare.
Where European Banks Store Their Cash: Foreign Banks Domiciled In US See Cash Hoard Spike Back To Record HighsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/21/2012 11:49 -0400
Anyone looking at the broad headline data from the weekly commercial bank asset (H.8) release could rush to the superficial conclusion that cash assets at US-based financial institutions is approaching all time highs, which, again superficially, it is, at $1.9 trillion, the highest in 2012, and just shy of the all time highs of $1.936 trillion from July 2011. Further superficial analysis would lead one to believe that there is a notable divergence between total US bank cash (the bulk of its procured via repoing of previously purchased securities) and the weekly excess reserve balance indicated by the Fed. All these would be useful, if completely, wrong observations. The only relevant and accurate observation in this week's H.8 data is that foreign banks domiciled in the US have taken their cash balance back to all time highs, which at $918 billion is in the ballpark of the highest it has ever been, and merely confirms what everyone has known: the only reason the US market has benefited in the last several months is due to flight to safety into what, for whatever reason, is perceived as the safety of the US capital markets. At some point, this record cash balance will once again flow out, even as US bank cash holdings remain as flat as they have been for the past 3 years.
UPDATE: As we said - $660.14 VWAP was support
After a few explosive days of performance-chasing desperation in the hedge-fund hotel stock of the decade; everyone's new favorite stock AAPL just did something odd - it traded down! after almost touching $675 just after the open, we are now back below $665 after tsting VWAP and selling back down on heavy volume - small doors, large crowds. Next stop $660.14 (yesterday's VWAP)
This simple 70-second clip summarizes perfectly the folly of the central planner - who faced with a clean slate and the ability to craft an entire society with his all-knowing hands forgets that one critical aspect of humans - free-will. No matter how financially repressed, no matter how herded into AAPL, no matter how jawboned-to-death we become; there is always the option - the optimal decision in any unwinnable game - of not playing.
As the S&P 500 makes new multi-year highs, the USD dumps, commodities surge, and AAPL just does what it does best; The Fed's Dennis Lockhart has just 'subtly' announced the walking-back of expectations of QE3 happening anytime soon, via Bloomberg:
- *LOCKHART SAYS `MONETARY POLICY IS NOT A PANACEA'
- *LOCKHART SAYS ECONOMIC DATA HAVE BEEN `FIRM' IN LAST MONTH
- *LOCKHART SAYS HOUSING IS STABILIZING AND `ENCOURAGING'
- *LOCKHART: MONTHLY UNEMPLOYMENT RISE SHOULDN'T BE EXAGGERATED
- *LOCKHART SEES `MORE APPETITE FOR RISK'
- *LOCKHART SAYS DISINFLATION, DEFLATION NOT NOW A CONCERN
Whether its 'Trade' Wars or 'Real' Wars, tensions appear to be escalating at an increasing clip around the world. The AP is reporting that Israeli officials say Egypt is violating their 1979 peace treaty by deploying tanks in the demilitarized Sinai desert, which borders Israel.
The World's Biggest Hedge Fund Hotel Just Became The Biggest Ever - 230 Hedge Funds Own Apple As Of June 30Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/21/2012 09:58 -0400
Three months ago when we looked at the latest quarterly hedge fund position tracker from GS, we were not surprised to learn that a record 226 hedge funds were long AAPL stock. And as the chart below proves, a major driver of the increasing price of Apple stock is that increasingly more hedge funds continue to simply pile into the name, which in times of underperformance, such as now with just 11% of hedge funds outperforming the S&P as reported yesterday, is a short-cut means to generating modestly low-risk, high beta due to the collusive nature of all HFs rushing into the safety of one name all at the same time, that at least has some (arguably tenuous if indeed the leaked iPhone 5 photos are of the final thing) fundamentals propping the stock price. Sure enough, in the latest update, the hedge fund hotel California just got bigger once again for the 6th consecutive time, and as of June 30 a record 230 hedge funds were long the stock. We can only imagine how many more peripheral underperforming funds have joined the biggest hedge fund crowd ever since June 30 and have scrambled into the one stock that provides even a modest reprieve from the certainty of career-ending redemption requests come as soon as the September 30 redemption deadline, which is less than one short month away.
Last week it was Brent and Crude; yesterday it was Silver; and today Gold has broken out of its three-month range over $1640 - testing up to its 200DMA once again. Party on in tech stocks like its 1999 but don't forget the unintended consequence of all that free-money exuberance.
They were never just going to sit there and take it. With the election cycle hotting up, the Chinese were an easy target for any and every finger-pointing blame game that US politicians were cornered with - but they are coming out swinging. As WaPo (via AP) reports, China's government has ruled that US support to six US solar and wind projects violates free trade rules - and while they have pledged (promises are worth what exactly Mr. Draghi?) to cooperate in developing technology, they now accuse each other of improperly supporting their own producers and obstructing foreign competition (can't we all just get along in this centrally planned world?). At a time when WTI is breaking out (over $97) and Brent as EUR-priced highs, China's commerce ministry has called on Washington to stop the support and give 'fair treatment' to Chinese renewable products. These tri-party tensions - oh yes, Europe is involved too as in July the EU was asked to raise tariffs on Chinese solar cells - are only set to get worse as every nation attempts to unilaterally centrally plan and promote their own suppliers in the hopes of generating higher-paid jobs.