October 15th, 2014
Presented with no comment...
"We hope that our partners will realize the futility of attempts to blackmail Russia and remember what consequences discord between major nuclear powers could bring for strategic stability." - Putin
It appears the "Fed is ending QE because the economy is recovering" narrative is failing (as the world wakes up to the fact that The Fed is being forced to exit due to having broken the markets). In the September FOMC meeting, Yellen put the final nail in the QE coffin by confirming the money-printing would end in October. This is what has happened since then...
The current Ebola outbreak, unlike others throughout history, is lasting a very long time; with cases now being reported on a variety of continents well outside of its equatorial African origin. We're not especially worried about Ebola striking me or my loved ones (for reasons we explain below). But we're growing increasingly concerned about government response to the outbreak. So let's spend some time understanding the nature of Ebola, specifically, and viral contagion, more generally. At the very least, Ebola can serve as an instructive reminder about how our society's responses to a viral outbreak could prove to be at least as disruptive and damaging as the virus itself.
“Unemployment down, jobs up,” President Obama exclaimed, adding gloatingly that "manufacturing growing. Deficits cut by more than half. High School graduation up. College enrollment up. Energy production up.” As Spectator's Ralph Reiland points out, Obamanomics, allegedly batting a thousand - everything that should be up was up and everything that should be down was down. “By every economic measure, we are better off now than we were when I took office,” declared President Obama... so why, if everything is ponies and unicorns, is President Obama's approval rating at record lows. 61% of Americans disapprove of Obama's foreign policy with only 42% approving of the President overall.
Is the stock market about to crash? Hopefully not, and there definitely have been quite a few "false alarms" over the past few years. But without a doubt we have been living through one of the greatest financial bubbles in U.S. history, and the markets are absolutely primed for a full-blown crash. That doesn't mean that one will happen now, but we are starting to see some ominous things happen in the financial world that we have not seen happen in a very long time.
Having now identified the 2nd health care worker infected with Ebola as Amber Joy Vinson, and discovered she (against CDC advice) traveled across the nation to her family home in Tallmadge (near Akron, Ohio), we now find out that, as WKYC reports, police have cordoned off the home of her mother and are allowing only limited access to the residential development.
Amazing how much things change in such little time. Remember, "it's different this time."
As market prognosticators search for something to pin the recent weakness on (Ebola panic, macro data weakness, global growth scare, M&A boom over, fund liquidations, oil crash.. and so on), there is one much larger driver of hysteria that is missing from this list... The Moon and the madness of crowds.
Between Q4 2011 and Q3 2014 Bank of America produced "Net Income" of $15.9 billion. However, the amount of added back "one-time, non-recurring" legal expenses is a stunning $28.9 billion: two of every three dollars, non-GAAP as they may be, comes from Bank of America engaging in criminal activity... and getting caught for it! So perhaps an even more relevant question than how long will the EPS "addback" bullshit continue, is how long will the regulators and enforcers allow Bank of America to exist as an organization for which two-thirds of its "ordinary course business" is, for lack of a better word, crime?
Istanbul's Marmar University Training and Research Hospital is not accepting new patients after, as Daily Sabah reports, a person suspected of being infected with Ebola has been quarantined. The patient, who arrived by plane from Ivory Coast, is suffering high fever and nausea. While Lagos, Nigeria was CDC Director Frieden's worst nightmare with regard Ebola contagion, we suspect Istanbul is a close second with over 14 million people living there. This news comes as US politicians begin to call for visa restrictions and travel bans from infected nations.
We know low interest rates and QE hasn`t worked, or they wouldn`t have to be re-initiated in the form of additional QE Programs, and we wouldn`t still be having this entire conversation 7 years after ZIRP began.
It’s generally considered that higher volatility in bond markets would accompany higher rates. Thus, if rates are falling, volatility will remain subdued. However, as the PIMCO Eurodollars liquidation showed, the market was already short. So the position liquidation is coming in a rally, rather than a sell-off. On top of that, inflation is falling and with oil under pressure should remain low. Meanwhile the Fed hawks evidently lost the argument to the doves in September, and their hand has been strengthened by the dollar rally. So the conditions are set for higher vol to accompany the fall in rates.