September 25th, 2012
It's becoming clear that there is only one sensible solution ahead of us as the Eurozone’s problems evolve: Germany and the other countries suited to a strong currency should leave. If they do, the European Central Bank (ECB) will be free to pursue the easy money policies recommended by Keynesians and monetarists alike. It's increasingly clear that Germany has no option but to behave like any creditor seeking to protect its interests – and do its best to defuse the growing resentment against her from the Eurozone’s debtors. If Germany is to abandon the euro, it has to do so as quickly and elegantly as possible. It must be able to demonstrate that it has no alternative and that it is the best solution for all parties involved. Germany’s politicians know this. For the moment they are frozen in a state of inaction, but there is a general election to concentrate their minds in about a year’s time - and Germany’s electorate is becoming acutely aware of the enormity of the task. It has become obvious to many people from all walks of life in Germany that the euro has done them no good, and, far from reaping benefits, they are actually less wealthy as a result of it.
As we noted earlier, the main reason for the surge in consumer "confidence" in September was the near record surge in sentiment for those making $15,000-$25,000, which soared from 43.5 to 62.4 in the month, the most since April 2009. And whether this was due to their forecast of the future, and expectation that things will get much better, or not, we don't know, what we do know is that half all of those people whose sentiment defined the market tone today, and who may be quite instrumental in the outcome of the upcoming election (per Mitt Romney), have less than $100 in cash savings. Other findings: both males and females reported similar savings patterns, however, 55 percent of Americans with children under the age of 18 reported having less than $800 in emergency savings compared to 42 percent of those without. Findings also reflect disparities across geographic regions, with 60 percent of individuals living in both the Northeast and the West having $800 or more in savings, yet 31 percent of those living in the North Central region reported that they had less than $100. Most importantly, 23% of all Americans have less than $100 in savings to cover any emergency expenses, and 46% have less than $800. One can see why when it comes to the discussion of whether or not financial assets should be taxes, soon 46% may be the new 47%.
Draghi jawboned Zee Germans and rumors of another 'path to fiscal union' were enough to provide equity markets with some ammo to buy-the-dip following the ECB/Buba news that they were lawyering up over the legality of the OMT (and IMF doubting Greece's ability to fund). Rapidly, the high-beta 'options' on Europe - i.e. IBEX, ripped and that dragged stocks into the green across Europe. BUT - while EURUSD also improved (which provided US equity traders with their pre-European-close methadone), European sovereign spreads did not follow the same path of exuberance, Greek bonds tumbled off highs, and European corporate and financial credit spreads cracked wider and kept going in the biggest divergence since Draghi's Dream speech. It seems that post the CDS roll, positioning is becoming a little more nuanced and for sure - credit markets are not buying it...
Another fairly uninspiring day.
In absence of hard data, subject to rumours and sentiment, as well as sudden “squeezes” or “sell-offs”, albeit in very tight ranges.
Mood maybe less rainy then yesterday, but, call me a bear, it doesn’t feel very convincing out there.
Perhaps the IMF forgot, but nobody in Europe is allowed to rock the boat until the Obama reelection. Either way, this just hit:
- International Monetary Fund won’t agree to further aid payment to Greece before decisions taken on new debt restructuring, Athens-based Skai.gr reports on website, without citing anyone.
- IMF insists debt ratio come down to 120% of GDP in 2020
- IMF may stop funding Greece under bailout agreement
Since the credibility of those "without citing anyone" reports is more or less negative, expect an official IMF response in minutes. On the other hand, if there is no IMF response, look for the #Grexit hashtags to promptly reappear.
Get out your magnifying glasses boys and girls...
It's perhaps not the most shocking headline given the circumstances but as Bloomberg reports via DPA, the man in charge of handling the correspondence at Italy's upper house of parliament was arrested Tuesday by police on drug charges. While there is no suggestion he peddled his drugs inside the senate, it seems mild-mannered Orlando Ranaldi who managed the Senate's post office by day, was a Tony Montoya-like 'Italo-Albanian' gang-member cocaine-dealer by night. We are sure Monti will just let this 'blow' over, but from now on - any unusual white powder found in envelopes may not be sniffed at like it was in the past.
Health Tip for Paper Money Users
Ahmadinejad may well be playing the same long game as Osama bin Laden:
We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy.
Osama bin Laden
And they may succeed (although those who believe that war is a stimulus that can end a depression will surely disagree — as Antal Fekete has noted, Western governments may look to a new hot war in the middle east as an opportunity to exit an economic depression that they cannot control). But for Ahmadinejad and Iran, it may come at a huge, huge cost — a long painful invasion, ending in death in the street or on the gallows. Neoconservatism — and Obama and Romney are both to lesser and greater degrees neoconservatives — is a violent utopian ideology that seeks to force the entire world — by whatever means and at any cost — to conform to American foreign policy imperatives. As America should have learned a long time ago — and as Ahmadinejad may well soon learn — needlessly pissing off violent utopian ideologues creates blowback.
Forget foreign policy debacles; never mind the gridlock and polarization that is dominating a looming 'fiscal cliff'; ignore Super-PAC-dominated propaganda - it seems the well-educated American citizen is fully cognizant of what each Presidential candidate (and his party) truly stands for. As the chart below shows, priorities on Sunday night were extremely clear...
Confused why contrary to all public lies otherwise, Spain is Greece? Here's why
- TAX RECEIPTS THROUGH AUGUST FELL 4.6% ON YR, SPAIN DATA SHOW: perhaps their tax collectors were also on strike?
- SPAIN GOVT SPENDING THROUGH AUGUST ROSE 8.9%, BUDGET DATA SHOWS: missed the austerity by just thiiiiiiis much
- SPAIN JAN-AUG CENTRAL BUDGET DEFICIT 4.77% GDP VS 3.81% YR AGO
Luckily, there is always hope that the magic money tree will bloom eventually
- SPAIN EXPECTS HIGHER TAX REVENUE IN COMING MONTHS
So, to summarize: revenues down, spending up, budget deficit naturally higher than last year. Oh, stop calculating... and just buy their bonds. The Central Planners will make sure the math is irrelevant always and forever.
Somewhat under-the-radar amid the US media's attention to housing data is the growing chaos in Europe. UBS' Art Cashin ensures we do not forget that Europe still drives the bus as he reminds us of the rise of the 'Occupy Congress' movement in Spain and the protests later today. With youth unemployment over 50%, it is sure that Rajoy will be keeping a close eye on this demonstration and other European leaders (and Greek demonstrators) will also be paying close attention. As Art says "let's hope the streets don't explode," especially given the NY Times noting that the number of 'hungry' Spaniards rose to nearly one million this year, and even previously well-to-do middle-class citizens are now dumpster-diving for food.
The NY Fed is not the only place where Hopium grows anew. Moments ago the conference board reported its September confidence print, which soared by nearly 10 points to 70.3, from 60.6 in August, and expectations of a 63.1 print: this was the highest print since February when hopes that the European LTRO may work (it didn't), and the largest beat in seven months. Ironically, the February beat was driven by 6 month forward hope as well, hope which have been dashed by today's current conditions number as the spread between hope and reality once again collapses. Naturally, the driver for today's miraculous pre-election beat: 6 month outlook soared from 71.1 to 83.7. In other words, if the present did not quite work out as had been hoped, one can just defer hope one more time - surely this time the future will certainly be different. Finally, and as was to be expected, the "confidence" when broken down by income buckets: those with $50k and more in income feel better, those with $35k and less in income feel better. Who is worse off? Why the middle class of course, or those with incomes between $35-$50k.
Investors remain convinced, it would seem, that the fiscal cliff will not happen because our great-and-good politicians in Washington know full-well that the economic repercussions will be too great. Even though Ben's foot is to the floor, he has stated that monetary policy will be unable to offset the negative economic impact of the tax hikes and spending cuts. The prospect of agreement among a deeply polarized politik and just as Goldman expects, we worry that the S&P 500 will fall sharply following the election once investors finally recognize the serious possibility that the 'fiscal-cliff-problem' will not be solved in a smooth manner. In order to clarify that thinking, Bloomberg Brief has provided 12 charts on the timelines, impact, uncertainty, and possibilities surrounding this most obvious of risk events.
Apple Bias In The Media Has Simply Gone Too Far, Potentially Hoodwinking Investors Into Believing Apple Has Not Reached Its ZeniSubmitted by Reggie Middleton on 09/25/2012 09:24 -0400
As the media distorts the truth and the facts, I fight back with the Anti RDFun (Reality Distortion Field Ultimate Nullifier). Apple is outgunned in the data space, its maps product is simply the first in a long string of mishaps as it tries to transform from hardware to data, like Google.