So far the 21st Century has not been especially kind to equity investors. Yes, markets usually do bounce back, but often in time frames that defy optimistic expectations. Thhe real (inflation-adjusted) purchasing power of that $1,000 is currently, over 14 years later, only $218 above break-even. That equates to a 1.39% annualized real return.
Even as the western media finally remembered over the weekend there was a Ukraine civil war going on following an advance by the Kiev army to retake some rebel strongholds in the Donbas region, with some curious what if anything Putin would do in retaliation, what Putin, or rather his envoy Sergei Lavrov were actually doing, was completely ignoring the Ukraine situation (where the West has long since conceded the loss of Crimea to the Kremlin) and instead focusing on securing the successful launch of the South Stream (remember: the second South Stream goes online, Ukraine becomes irrelevant). And since Russia already signed another historic agreement with Austria in June, which positioned the AAA-country (with some surprising emerging bank troubles subsequently) squarely against its fellow European peers, it was the turn of the other South Stream countries, namely Bulgaria.
Uber Launches War Against Yellow Cabs, Cuts New York Fares By 20% As Ali-Baba Launches Chinese Uber CompetitorSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/07/2014 - 11:25
Curious what Uber is spending the record $1.2 billion in cash it raised in its most recent funding round (which valued it at a whopping $18.2 billion)? The answer: subsidies. In a page right out of Amazon's playbook, the management of Uber has found that the best use of proceeds now that it may have finally saturated addressable markets, is to use its cash on hand to fund sub-equilibrium pricing losses and in the process, hopefully, put its competition out of business. Earlier today, the Uber blog announced that UberX is "now cheaper than a New York City taxi."
So, Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt (post gas price surges), and now Israel... As the teen deaths, rocket launches (and landings), and rhetoric fly back back and forth; it appears last week's de-escalation is off...
*ISRAEL ARMY SPOKESMAN SAYS TROOPS BEING BOOSTED ON GAZA BORDER
*ISRAELI ARMY SAYS IT IS PREPARING FOR POSSIBLE GAZA ESCALATION
The US administration has been oddly quiet so far on this... we await their 'supportive' comments.
Whocouldanode? Treasury yields continue to push lower (now below Thursday's lows) having not looked back since the jobs report. Stocks - having exuberantly spurted to record highs to ensure American consumer comfort over the long weekend - have now collapsed back and given up all their post-"great-jobs-report" gains... CNBC is puzzled...
It appears the hopes and dreams of a resurgence in US GDP in Q2 will have to be extended-and-pretended another quarter. As Gallup notes, Americans' self-reports of daily spending fell back in June, averaging $91 for the month - down notably from a six-year high of $98 in May - and flat to the $90 average found in June 2013. Not exactly the pent-up demand 'surge' so many economists (and Fed PhDs) have been calling for... Even more concerning, Gallup notes, the drop in daily spending among all Americans can largely be attributed to upper-income Americans spending less in June. Even the 1% are cutting back?
We warned Thursday that there was something wrong with the picture of the equity market's exuberance but it seems the July-4th-week-effect has run its course and equity markets - having read the jobs report over the weekend - have realized it is anything but strong. The Dow just lost 17,000 (however briefly) and equities are catching down to Treasury yield's drop as USDJPY loses 102.00.
The jobs report has little value if we don't peer beneath the glossy veneer.
It was only two weeks ago when Bed Bath and Beyond reported earnings that missed across the top and bottom line. And while the company has little control over contracting revenues, one reason it may have missed on the EPS (at $0.93 vs $0.95) was the "contraction" in buybacks. A contraction, incidentally, which we use loosely, because it followed a February quarter repurchase amount that blew out all historical buybacks out of the water at over half a billion as shown in the chart below. The bigger problem is that with just $861 million left under its existing buyback authorization, this most popular pathway for New Normal "growth" would have been promptly shut for the company at the current pace of buying up its own stock as soon as two more quarters. So what does Bed Bath and Beyond Buybacks do? Why it promptly authorized just the thing the central-planning doctor ordered: an authorization to buy even more shares back, some $2 billion worth to be precise.
Be careful what you wish for. As the Fed imbibes a sense of confidence in its ability to manage any bumps in the road on its perpetual bubble-blowing mission through the use of macro-prudential policies (big words that truly mean nothing) as stock valuations surge and the repo market is experiencing severe problems; it can always point to VIX as an indicator that all is well in the world and no real risk exists. The problem is - the world is beginning to wake up to the 'odd' micro-structure of the US equity markets and how 'dark pools' are beginning to dominate trading volume. As Barclays faces major legal problems over its alleged dark pool lies, lies, and more lies, the Fed must be growing concerned... as the following chart shows JPMorgan indicates there is evidence of an inverse relationship between equity volatility and the share of off-exchange trading.
With GM recalling virtually every car it has made since emerging from bankruptcy, another maker of flaming paperweights has quietly managed to slip through the cracks of public attention. So it was perhaps well-timed, if only for GM, that over the weekend we not only learned, but saw footage, of what happens when a Tesla is involved in a Police chase that results in a lamp post crash. Nothing short of complete obliteration. “There were fires after that that broke out,” Eric Martinez said. “I saw the firefighters — like 25 firefighters – standing around the white car with the Jaws of Life.” Martinez added that at one point, explosions could be heard. “We originally thought it was fireworks. Everybody thought it was fireworks that were just exploding,” he said.
- Bond Anxiety in $1.6 Trillion Repo Market as Failures Soar (BBG), as reported first by Zero Hedge
- As Food Prices Rise, Fed Keeps a Watchful Eye (WSJ)
- Yellen’s Economy Echoes Arthur Burns More Than Greenspan (BBG)
- Draghi’s $1.4 Trillion Shot: Silver Bullet or Misfire? (BBG)
- Israel's Netanyahu phones father of murdered Palestinian teen (Reuters)
- Ukraine says forces will press forward after taking rebel stronghold (Reuters)
- Goldman Sachs Brings Forward Rate Forecast as Treasuries Drop (BBG)... you mean rise?
- Super typhoon takes aim at Japan (Reuters)
- Kidnapped Nigerian girls 'escape from Boko Haram abductors' (Independent)
- Merkel says U.S. spying allegations are serious (Reuters)
Risk assets have started the week off on a slightly softer footing but overall volumes are fairly low given the quiet Friday session last week and with the lack of any major weekend headlines. Equity bourses are down between 25-50bp on the day paced by the Nikkei (-0.4%). In China, a number of railway construction stocks are up 3-4% after reports that China Railway Corp will buy around 300 sets of high speed trains and may potentially launch 14 news railway construction projects soon as part of national investment plans.
According to WaPo, the files on intercepted Americans "have a startlingly intimate, even voyeuristic quality. They tell stories of love and heartbreak, illicit sexual liaisons, mental-health crises, political and religious conversions, financial anxieties and disappointed hopes. The daily lives of more than 10,000 account holders who were not targeted are catalogued and recorded... résumés from job hunters and academic transcripts of schoolchildren. Scores of pictures show infants and toddlers in bathtubs, on swings, sprawled on their backs and kissed by their mothers. In some photos, men show off their physiques. In others, women model lingerie, leaning suggestively into a webcam or striking risque poses in shorts and bikini tops."
"He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past" - From George Orwell’s 1984. The reason Big Brother and his band of technocrat authoritarians spend so much time and effort erasing history in the classic novel 1984, is because they are a bunch of total criminals and they know it. Their grip on power is made so much easier if the proles are kept ignorant, confused and in the dark. This strategy is not just fiction, it is the philosophy of tyrants and authoritarians throughout history. While the internet is an amazing tool for communication and free speech, we must also be aware of how it can be abused by those in power who wish to whitewash history.