Archive

December 10th, 2013

BlackRock Warns "High Valuations & Low Volatility Are A Lethal Mix"

BlackRock said there is a 20% risk that world events could go badly wrong, either because the eurozone acts too late to head off deflation or because of a chain reaction as the Fed starts to wind down stimulus in earnest. As The Telegraph notes, BlackRock’s risk indicator  is almost as high as it was just before the dotcom bust. "The ratio of the two is the key. High valuations combined with low volatility can make for a lethal mix. This market gauge sounded the alarm well before the Great Financial Crisis." Furthermore, the largest asset manager in the world warns, "troubling trends of growing inequality and weak wage growth, bring into question the sustainability of profit margins." What is good for investors is corrosive for societies, hardly tenable equilibrium.

Things That Make You Go Hmmm... Like "Nothing Being What It Seems"

Investors all over the world are confronted by markets that have been dressed up for the amusement of the crew in charge of the ship, and nobody seems to recognize what they are looking at. Sure, they look like markets, but at the same time there is an unfamiliarity that is extremely unnerving to at least a few in the gathering crowd. The majority of the mob, however, have decided that they look enough like markets to charge in blindly in the expectation that all will be as it should. Things are not as they should be. Far from it.

Guest Post: May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor - Part 1: The Reaping

We’ve spent the last five decades learning to love our oppression, adoring our technology, glorying in our distaste for reading books, and wilfully embracing our ignorance. Huxley’s vision of a population, passively sleep walking through lives of self- absorption, triviality, drug induced gratification, materialism and irrelevance has come to pass. Only in the last two decades has Orwell’s darker vision of oppression, fear, surveillance, hate and intimidation begun to be implemented by the ruling class. We’ve become a people controlled by pleasure and pain, utilized in varying degrees by those in power. Stay tuned for our modern day Hunger Games after this commercial for your very own Duck Dynasty Chia Pet.

Tuesday (Un)Humor: Selfies At A Funeral

Probably the largest and most watched funeral (memorial service) of the modern era and it appears President Obama just could not resist a selfie with Denmark's leggy blond PM (oh and David Cameron)... as an aside, it seems FLOTUS was not amused.

The Ultimate Guide To December’s FOMC Meeting: Breaking Down The Participants

In “Why the Fed Won’t Taper in December,” we pretended to write the first paragraph of the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) statement for next week’s meeting. By thinking about the likely mix of upgrades and downgrades to its assessment of the economy, which is the crux of that paragraph, we argued that we can find clues to policy decisions. Our results tell us to expect a deferral of the committee’s tentative plans to taper its securities purchase program. You may suggest, though, that economic data doesn’t always tell you what the FOMC will do. Because we agree, we’ve also taken a different approach: listening to Fedspeak and working through the math on the committee’s consensus view. This, too, leads us to think there won’t be a taper this month. Here’s our math, starting with the biggest QE supporters and ending with Chairman Bernanke...

Pivotfarm's picture

It’s always astonishing how funerals and memorial services can do two things to people. They make platform for public show and then they provide the opportunity for public speaking that knows no bounds in the hope that they will be remembered for eternity.

Ukraine Escalates: Police, Some Armed With Chainsaws, Storm Protest Camp - Live Webcasts

It will be a long night in Kiev, where as warned previously, once things start rolling downhill, they will deteriorate rapidly. Via Bloomberg:

RIOT POLICE ARMED WITH CHAINSAWS APPROACH KIEV BARRICADES
UKRAINIAN POLICE MASS NEAR BARRICADES AT KIEV SQUARE
POLICE STORM PROTEST CAMP IN CENTER OF KIEV, AP REPORTS
UKRAINIAN POLICE INSIDE KIEV PROTEST CAMP

 

Bipartisan Budget Deal Reached; No Extension Of Unemployment Benefits Means Unemployment Rate Set To... Plunge

Moments ago, news hit that democrat negotiators Patty Murray, and republican Paul Ryan reached a bipartisan deal to ease the automatic budget cuts by $60b. The deal calls for auctioning of govt airwaves, increased premiums for pensions backed by PBGC, a congressional aide told Bloomberg’s Heidi Przybyla. A press conference will be held at 6pm to unveil the bipartisan budget agreement, according to e-mailed statement. As a result, a January 15 government shutdown will be avoided. The agreement would require federal workers to contribute more to their pensions, increase premiums on companies whose pension plans are insured by the federal government and increase security fees paid by airline travelers.
And as a result of the implicit $5 billion a month fiscal boost, a near-term modest taper is now even more likely.

Worst. Congress. Ever

Despite rumors of a 'deal', "The major issues that we think are necessary to jump-start the American economy continue to languish," reflects one lobbyist on what Bloomberg reports will be Congress's least productive year ever, with just 56 pieces of legislation signed into law so far. The former record low, reached in 1995, was 88 new laws. 2013 was supposed to be the year lawmakers, free of immediate election pressures, would revamp U.S. immigration policy, pass a debt-lowering budget and expedite a pair of trade deals. Instead, partisan rancor grew deeper; and to make matters worse, the politicians took plenty of time off - the House has been out 191 days, and the Senate 199 days.

Is The Deficit Reduction Just A Mirage?

There has been quite a bit of discussion lately over the rapid reduction in the government's budget deficit as it relates to economic growth going forward. There are 3 issues that will likely impede further progress on the deficit reduction in the months ahead; 1) lower rates of tax revenue, 2) weaker economic growth and 3) greater levels of spending. The good news for stock market bulls is that deepening budget deficits increase the amount of bonds that the Treasury will need to issue to cover the shortfall in spending.  This will give the Federal Reserve more room to continue their current monetary interventions which have inflated asset prices sharply over the last year. Creating financial instability to gain economic stability has been an elusive dream of the Federal Reserve since the turn of the century; yet someday it is hoped that they may just be able to "catch their own tail."

Wall Streeter's Lament Volcker Rule: "Liquidity Is About To Be Sacrificed At The Altar Of Ignorance & Fear"

"... The entire socio-economic model is now built on this and, whether right or wrong, it demands a very different sort of banking that the "pay 3% on deposits and lend them at 5%" kind of industry of the 70s and 80s. Volcker risks over-egging the pudding and, to mix my metaphors, killing the goose that lays the golden "growth" egg. Liquidity, the holy grail of markets, is possibly about to be sacrificed on the altar of ignorance and fear."

Gundlach Live Webcast: "Something For Nothing"

At 4:15 pm Eastern, DoubleLine's Jeff Gundlach will be discussing the economy, the markets and his outlook for the future. Readers can register for the webcast at the following link, while for those stuck with phones can dial-in at (877) 407-6050 or (201) 689-8022 international.