Archive

January 10th

Are Stocks Cheap?

We have asked (and answered) this question a number of times in recent weeks. Ignoring for a moment the bubble-trajectory, hope-expectations, and investor sentiment, as ex-Morgan Stanley-ite Gerard Minack notes, equity markets in 2013 appeared to completely ignore macro fundamentals. For 2014, as we warned here, the dream of moar multiple expansion may be over. With the Fed desperate to convince the world that strong language is just as effective as 100s of billions of dollars in liquidity provision, we suspect the 'wedge' between hope and reality will compress (significantly)...

The Good And The Bad News For The Future Of America's Jobs

Perhaps the only good news in today's job report is that it is now in the past, because absent from some inexplicably respected so-called pundits doing the most idiotic thing imaginable, and saying to just ignore this report, there was absolutely nothing good one could say about the lowest monthly job gain since January 2011 (driven by temp and retail workers) at least until it is revised several times over the next 3 years when we ultimately learn that today's noisy jobs print was really a gain of 500K jobs. Of course by then, there will be far bigger problem to deal with. However, while December in the past, the future still remains. And it is here that we have some good and bad news. According to the just released Occupation Outlook Quarterly (OOQ) looking at the period from 2012 to 2022 released by the BLS, in the future the US will be in a significant need of jobs, which is good for all those worried that the economy is grinding to a halt, or those demoralized from not having a job for months on end and unsure if this will ever change. That's the good news. The bad news is that as in the case of today, the vast majority of future jobs will pay absolutely miserable salaries.

"All Yours Janet": JPM Warns Fed About Using "Arguably Flawed Statistics"

The December jobs report was an ugly mix of slowing employment growth and disappointing labor supply. JPMorgan's Mike Feroli doesn't mix his words in his brief report on today's ugly jobs data. While other 'economists' proclaimed we should "ignore it" or blamed it on the weather, Feroli notes for example, "It's hard to see how the weather -- or anything else -- was to blame for the 25,000 decrease in employment of accountants." But it his comments for the Fed that are most concerning as he worries, "the forward guidance decision could be even more difficult than the tapering call... lowering the unemployment threshold further would be doubling down on predicating policy on an arguably flawed statistic."

The Case Of The Missing Recovery

Have you seen the economic recovery? We haven’t either. But it is bound to be around here somewhere, because the National Bureau of Economic Research spotted it in June 2009, four and one-half years ago. It is a shy and reclusive recovery, like the “New Economy” and all those promised new economy jobs. I haven’t seen them either, but we know they are here, somewhere, because the economists said so. At a time when most Americans are running out of coping mechanisms, the US faces a possible financial collapse and a high rate of inflation from dollar depreciation as the Fed pours out newly created money in an effort to support the rigged financial markets. It remains to be seen whether the chickens can be kept from coming home to roost for another year.

The Other Side Of Marc Faber: Gold, Hashish, And 'Efficient' Whiskey-Drinking

From hashish to drinking cheap whiskey in Chiang Mai clubs, the following clip rounds up the 'best of' Marc Faber over the last few years...

  • On the elites - "I am not sure the thinkers are in Davos"
  • On the media - "you are an optimist, keep on dreaming... us foreigners just laugh"
  • On solutions - "cut government expenditures by 50%; fire half the government... including the President"
  • On Americans - "people in the western world have abandoned personal responsibility"
  • On government - "who would have faith in the US administration, certainly not someone who thinks"
  • On Gold - "not to own gold is to trust central banks, and that you don't want to do in your life"

 

When A Stock Bubble Goes Horribly Wrong And Hyperinflation Results

Perhaps the most amusing and curious aspect of this entertaining summary of the Mississippi Bubble of 1720, the resulting European debt crisis (the first of many), how bubble frenzies are as old as paper money, the man behind both - convicted murderer and millionaire gambler, John Law, what happens when paper money's linkage to gold is broken, and how everyone loses their wealth and hyperinflation breaks out, is who the source is. The New York Fed. Perhaps the Fed-employed authors fail to grasp just what their institution does, or have a truly demonic sense of humor. In either case, the following "crisis chronicle" highlighting how banking worked then, how it works now, and how it will always "work", is a must read by all.

Irish Finance Ministry Reveals It Has Lost Banking Crisis Files

We are sure there is a joke in here somewhere but it is no laughing matter. Following a request for copies of 8 documents  of correspondence between Ireland's (former) finance minister and the nations' largest bank executives, the Irish minstry of finance has been forced to admit that it cannot find two out of the eight. The documents, previously 100% redacted, raises questions as to whether other documents have gone 'missing'. As RTE reports, the Department of Finance said it had carried out a widespread search for the documents and it was not clear why the original versions could not be located. Those darn leprechauns... We are sure, however, it has nothing to do with the Irish banks "picking bailout numbers out of their arses."

The US Is Not Switzerland: Weighs Sanctions Against South Sudan

Despite telling us just yesterday that it would not take sides in the tensions in South Sudan...

*U.S. NOT TAKING SIDES IN S SUDAN: PSAKI

the US government is on the verge of deciding to... take sides. As Reuters reports, the United States is weighing targeted sanctions against South Sudan due to its leaders' failure to take steps to end a crisis that has brought the world's youngest nation to the brink of civil war. Africa, as we have discussed at length, remains the only region on earth with incremental debt capacity (and therefore growth in a Keynesian world) and so it is no surprise the US wants to get involved in yet another conflict.

5 Things To Ponder: Markets, Valuations & Investing

This morning we showed several charts that "Market Bulls Should Consider", as the mainstream media, analysts and economists continue to become more ebullient as we enter the new year.  This weekend's "Things To Ponder" follows along with this contrarian thought process particularly as it appears that virtually all "bears" have now been forced into hibernation.

Stocks Stick-Saved While Bond Bears Battered

Treasury yields collapsed 10-12bps today with the largest decline since 9/18/11. Treasury yields in general slipped back to the lowest level in 3 weeks. The USD was slammed lower (except against CAD which pushed lower - down 2.5% on the week!). JPY strength was offset by AUD and the cross provided the ammo to lift equities back to day-session highs in the last hour (104 USDJPY was defended aggressively). Stocks broadly bounced immediately after the knnjerk selling off the NFP print, then leaked lower until 3pmET when a decidedly low volume meltup took NASDAQ and Russell back to almost unchanged on the year. Trannies outperformed, Dow underperformed (TRAN +0.65%, DOW -1% YTD). Silver and gold surged back into the green for the week with the latter closing above its 50DMA for the first time since October and its highest in a month. VIX tumbled to 12.2% as hedges were lifted and recoupled with the S&P.

 

Today's Reserve Currency Is Tomorrow's Wallpaper

Somehow, like it or not, the world turns. Today's hegemon becomes tomorrow's also-ran. Today's reserve currency becomes tomorrow's wallpaper. Today's cock o' the walk becomes tomorrow's dinner. Hey, we didn't create this system. We don't even especially like it. But that's just the way it is. Whether you already have made a fortune, or are trying to build one, you need to be very careful about what currency... or currencies...  your wealth in denominated in. From an economic point of view, the system (established by Richard Nixon in 1971) is loopy. The Chinese pretend they have good customers. Americans pretend they have good credit. And everyone pretends to get richer … based on promises to settle up sometime in the future. Instead of edging toward a reckoning, all major governments seem to want to make the situation worse.

 

Guest Post: Rate Cycles and Yield Curves – A Target for 5-Year Treasuries

With the Fed once again in the late stages of an easing cycle (affectionately dubbed QE3), we find the 2s/5s curve steepening yet again, hitting its widest level in 30 months at more than 135 basis points on January 1. Given this curve’s uncanny track record, one can’t help but wonder if it will ring the 160 bell yet again when the Fed completes its final purchase operation of QE3. With tapering now upon us, and the end of QE3 almost in sight, one might even be tempted to sell a few 5s against twos in the hopes of catching that final 25 basis points of steepening. A closer examination of that trade, however, reveals that one might be better off doing just the opposite.