Chicago PMI Slumps Back Into Contraction; Election Blamed

Having wavered around the magical '50' level for much of the last year, bouncing off December plunge lows, Chicago PMI printed below expectations of 50.5 at a contractionary 49.3 - the 6th month of contraction in the last 12 months. With weakness in new orders (lowest since Dec 2015) and production (both back into contraction), MNI notes that on the heels of April's decline, the latest results show activity stumbling in the second quarter, following only moderate growth in Q1.

Allergan Stock Surges After Carl Icahn Announces "Large Position" In The Company

Carl Icahn appears to be a big fan of Brent Saunders. After Icahn was instrumental in placing his favorite CEO at the top of Forest Labs before it was acquired by Actavis several years ago - a deal which made then Forest Labs investor Carl Icahn hundreds of millions in profit - the billionaire investor is now doubling down on Saunders, and moments ago the billionaire investor announced that he has acquired a "large position" in Allergan, and confirms he is "very supportive of CEO Brent Saunders."

Apple Back Under $100 On News It Will Extend iPhone Lifecycle To 3 Years, Cites Slowing Demand

In what, if confirmed, would be a major move for Apple's product development cycle, overnight Japan's Nikkei reported that Apple is moving from its existing "innovation cycle" with a major iPhone refresh every two years to a three-year cycle.  According to Nikkei the move is prompted by two factors, and is "largely due to smartphone functions having little room left for major enhancements. A slowing market is another factor."

Case-Shiller Home Price Rise Beats Expectations By Most In 2 Years

Following February's disappointing slowdown in home price appreciation, March's S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City home price index stabilized, rising 5.43% YoY (beating 5.16% expectations by the most in 2 years). However, the national home price index slowed further from 5.32% YoY in Feb to 5.15% YoY in March with Seattle, San Francisco, and Denver seeing the greatest monthly increases.

Marc Faber Warns Of "Moral Degeneration" From America's "Consensual Hallucination"

The flood of money that central banks are creating pollutes the Western capitalistic system and free markets, as well as democracy. The consequences are anemic economic growth, deep social discontent, a culture of cheating, and moral degeneration. At the same time, “the bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of an expanding bureaucracy” (Oscar Wilde). Hardly a recipe for sustainable economic growth and rising standards of living.

Personal Spending Spikes Most Since Aug 2009 As Fuel Costs Surge

Having disappointed in March (just +0.1% MoM), expectations for April's personal spending were sky high at +0.7% MoM, despite expectations of a 0.4% rise in incomes. Analysts were not disappointed as the headline spending print was a 7-year high +1.0% MoM spike driven by a 3.8% MoM surge in Energy spending. With income rising as expected at 0.4% MoM, and thanks to revisions, the savings rate tumbled to its lowest since 2015.

Animal Rights Protesters Jump Barricades, Rush Bernie Sanders At California Rally

Upset that Bernie Sanders isn't progressive enough, five animal rights protesters jumped over barricades and rushed the podium where Sanders was speaking yesterday during a rally in East Oakland, California. The protesters were led away by several Secret Service agents before they were able to reach the Democrat, whose speech was briefly interrupted by the disturbance, according to several posted videos.

Frontrunning: May 31

  • Major Bourses on Course to End Month Sharply Higher (WSJ)
  • Brent crude lower on strong Middle East oil output (Reuters)
  • Treasuries Lose Their Lead Over Shares as Fed Moves Toward Shift (BBG)
  • Lost Decade for Value Stocks Tests Faithful Who Say End is Nigh (BBG)
  • Iraqi army pause at southern edge of Falluja as IS fights back (Reuters)
  • Risky Reprise of Debt Binge Stars U.S. Companies Not Consumers (BBG)

Futures Flat, Gold Rises On Weaker Dollar As Traders Focus On OPEC, Payrolls

After yesterday's US and UK market holidays which resulted in a session of unchanged global stocks, US futures are largely where they left off Friday, up fractionally, and just under 2,100. Bonds fell as the Federal Reserve moves closer to raising interest rates amid signs inflation is picking up. Oil headed for its longest run of monthly gains in five years, while stocks declined in Europe.

FEMA Preparing For Magnitude 9.0 Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake, Tsunami

Starting on June 7th, FEMA will be conducting a large scale drill that has been named “Cascadia Rising” that will simulate the effects of a magnitude 9.0 earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone and an accompanying west coast tsunami dozens of feet tall. We have never seen such a disaster before in all of U.S. history. Do they know something that the rest of us do not?

Only In France..."The Right To Disconnect"

Vowing to intensify their action to overturn an unpopular labor law, striking French union workers have already left hundreds of thousands of tourists stranded, gas stations empty, and nuclear power plants stretched. However, as low-skilled American workers fall foul of minimum wage blowback, the French parliament - despite Prime Minister Valls insistence that "France must show that it’s capable of reforming" - just passed new legislation making it illegal for your employer to send you an email outside of work hours.

Will We Never Learn? The Economic Lessons From Venezuela's Current Collapse

Shops are being looted as Venezuela's citizens, who live on top of the world’s largest oil reserves, are literally starving and dying for lack of food and medicine; all while the country’s gold reserves are being sold to finance its debt. With 1.8 million signatures on a petition for a referendum on Nicolas Maduro’s presidency, the country is threatening to become a failed state. So what should the world learn from the country’s descent into misery? In short, Venezuela is the poster child of the perils of rejecting economic fundamentals.

As Short Interest Soars To Record Highs, Chinese Stock Futures Flash-Crash 12.5%

Shortly after 1042am local, Chinese stock futures (CSI-300) flash-crashed over 12.5% on extreme heavy volume (while the cash CSI-300 remained unch). This move erased 3 months of gains but within 1 minute was back in the green with stocks up over 2.5%. The shocking collapse, exaggerated by a major lack of liquidity, was made more surprising by the fact that the last week has seen a record short position in the major Chinese stock ETF. Simply put, the heavy hand of market-central-planning has erased any and all depth in futures markets and positioning has become so tilted that price vacuums are likely to continue to occur.