One can kiss the US subprime-driven "manufacturing renaissance" goodbye. The reason, as we reported moments ago, Industrial Production dropped 0.1%, driven by a -0.4% contraction in manufacturing, the worst print since the "harsh winter collapse" of January 2014. The answer to the key question, what drove the tumble, is simple: what goes up has come down, in this case production of Motor Vehciles and Part, after posting its best number in 5 years, just posted... it worst monthly drop in five years, or since May 2009 to be precise. As the chart below shows, following July's month's 9.3% surge in production of motor vehicles and parts, August has come and wiped out all the gains, with a 7.6% plunge, the bigest collapse since May 2009.
But but but... the survey all said record highs... Yet another piece of hard data hits the tape and disappoints. While Fed surveys point to an exuberant economy, Industrial Production fell 0.1% in August (missing +0.28% expectations) for its worst print since January's "weather"-related plunge. This comes on the heels of Chinese Industrial Production at its worst in 6 years... perhaps explaining why global GDP expectations continue to test cycle lows. US Capacity Utilization also dropped to 78.8% (lowest since Feb) and the weakness was all Manufacturing driven as production slumped 0.4% MoM - its worst since Jan. So who you gonna believe? Soft surveys? or Hard data?
With the S&P 500 hitting fresh record highs day after day (apart from last week), everything must be great, right? Wrong! As we have noted previously, the leadership in this market is becoming more and more narrowly focused as stunningly 47% of Nasdaq Composite stocks are down at least 20% from their highs with the average stock in the index in a bear market (down 24%). The same is true for the Russell 2000, with over 40% of stocks in bear market and an average drop from recent highs of 22%. By contrast only 31 names in the S&P 500 have seen drops of 20% or more this year. It appears, just as there has been an up-in-quality rotation in credit markets, so stock investors appear to have rotated into momentum winners, chasing returns in an ever-more narrow group of extreme beta stocks.
US Industrial Production and the NY Fed Empire State Manufacturing survey are the two main releases for the US. In Europe, the euro area trade balance will be the notable print. Beyond today, US PPI, German ZEW and UK CPI are the main economic reports tomorrow. Wednesday will see the release of BOE’s meeting minutes, the US CPI, and the Euro area inflation report. On Thursday, President Obama will host Poroshenko and on the data front we have Philly Fed, initial claims, and building permits to watch out for, but the biggest market moving event will surely be the Scottish independence referendum. German PPI will be the key release on what will otherwise be a relatively quiet Friday.
Following last month's biggest plunge in 2 years to 4-month lows, it is likely no surprise that the soft-survey-based Empire Fed index exploded to 27.5 (smashing 15.71 expectations) to its highest since October 2009. Of course - away from the headline exuberance, employment plunged to its lowest since 2013, the average workweek slipped, and new orders barely rose (while Prices Received soared). Seems like seasonal adjustments played a strong hand in this exuberance... given hardly any sub indices jumped.
- Snow is coming: OECD Cuts Economic Growth Forecasts (WSJ)
- World waits for white smoke from U.S. Fed (Reuters) - Understandable error: they meant "green"
- Scots Breakaway at 45% Odds as Economists Warn of Capital Flight (BBG)
- Ukraine President Poroshenko Faces Backlash Over EU Trade Deal Delay (WSJ)
- German Anti-Euro Party Advances in Merkel Homeland Voting (BBG)
- Clinton Hints at 2016 Run as Super-PAC Packs Iowa Steak Fry (BBG)
- Air France, Lufthansa Hit by Strikes in Fight for Future (BBG)
- U.S. sees Middle East help fighting IS, Britain cautious after beheading (Reuters)
- Ex-Billionaire Charged by Brazil With Financial Crimes (BBG)
Something appears to have changed not only because the USDJPY is not some 100 pips higher overnight on, well, nothing but because the S&P, which is treading water, has yet to spike on no volume reasons unknown. That something may be algos which are too confused to buy ahead of this week's Fed announcement which may or may not have some notable changes in language or the Scottish referendum on the 18th. Or it could simply be that algos are no longer allowed to openly manipulate and rig the market on the CME as of today now that "disruptive market practices" are banned (why weren't they before)? In any case, keep a close eye on the market today: not all is at it has been for a while, unless of course it is still just a little early and the rigging algos (which haven't gotten the Rule 575 memo of course) haven't woken up just yet.
When you see the headlines touting strong retail sales, you need to consider what you are actually seeing in the real world. RadioShack will be filing for bankruptcy within months. Wet Seal will follow. Sears is about two years from a bankruptcy filing. JC Penney’s turnaround is a sham. They continue to lose hundreds of millions every quarter and will be filing for bankruptcy within the next couple years. Target and Wal-Mart continue to post awful sales results and have stopped expanding. And as you drive around in your leased BMW, you see more Space Available signs than operating outlets in every strip center in America.
So why does it matter if the gold price is rigged? A freely-determined gold price is central to ensuring that reality and not financial bubbles guides us in our financial and economic activities. Suppressing the gold price is rather like turning off a fire alarm because you can’t stand the noise.
Why The Collapse Of Abenomics Is Important: It's A Large-Scale Failure Of Keynesian Stimulus In Real TimeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/14/2014 - 21:07
We have frequently discussed the nonsensical attempt by Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and BoJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda to print and spend Japan back to prosperity. By now it is well known that devaluing the yen has not achieved the desired effect, but rather the opposite. Not only have exports not really received the expected boost, but Japan’s trade and current account surplus have decreased markedly, even posting negative numbers for the first time in decades. Of course, currency debasement never works: it cannot work. This is Keynesian logic and brilliance in all it splendor.
There is another "broad coalition" in The Middle East. With fighter from Sudan and Sweden to Spain and Switzerland, the following map shows where all the foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq's 'new crusades' are from...
While USDJPY is not moving much, no clear news from Scotland (GBP is modestly weaker) and an opposition win in Sweden (Krone weaker) along with China's dismal data (and Securities Journal note that no rate cut is coming anytime soon from the PBOC) sparked some significant selling in US stock futures at the open (-13 points). Treasury futures are modestly higher as S&P future are stabilizing around -7 points for now extending losses from Friday as AUDJPY slides...
The S&P’s rally has been sustained through near-zero-cost money used to: (1) buy back stock to enrich insiders and please activist hedge funds which have borrowed big to buy big; and (2) prop up the overall market because investors have learned that buying on margin when the costs are minimal - and below dividend yields - just keeps paying off. Stein’s law says, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” Too bad it doesn’t say when. Gold loses its luster when: (1) inflation seems to be as remote as a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; and (2) even a concatenation of crises fails to send investors rushing into the time-tested crisis consoler. We see geopolitical risks expanding from here - not contracting - and stick to our investment advice that the broad stock market is precariously valued. A range of options is available for those who wish to hedge themselves against even worse news. Gold is part of any such risk mitigation. So are long government bonds. Most importantly, we have entered an era when wise investors will devote as much time to reading the foreign news as they allocate to reading the investment section.