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Average Duration Of Unemployment: Second Highest Ever At 40.8 Week

The NFP report confirms the picture we have all known to grow and love - the people "entering" the labor force are temp workers, those with marginal job skills, and making the lowest wages. For everyone else: better luck elsewhere: the number of people not in the labor force has soared by 7.5 million since January 2007, and the average duration of unemployment is 40.8 weeks - essentially in line with last month's record 40.9. Bottom line - if you are out of a job, you are out of a job unless you are willing to trade down to an entry level "temp-like" position with virtually no benefits or job security.

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NFP Payrolls At 200K, Expected At 155K; Unemployment Rate Drops To 8.5%, Labor Force Participation At Lowest Since 1984

The nonfarm payroll number prints at 200K on expectations of 155K. The Unemployment rate comes at 8.5% - lowest since February 2009, and down from an upward revised 8.7%. U-6 15.2% down from 15.6% in November. Average hourly earnings rose at 0.2%, in line with expectations, previous revised to -0.1% from unchanged. Private payrolls +212L vs Expectations of 178K. Manufacturing payrolls rose 23K vs Expectations of 155K. Yet the unemployment rate trickery still continues, with labor force participation (prior revised), now at a 27 year low of 64%, and the labor force itself declined by 50K from 153,937 to 153,887. In fact, persons not in the labor force have increased by 7.5 million since January 2007! Bottom line - dropping out of labor statistics is the new killing it.

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Fitch Downgrades Hungary To BB+, Negative Outlook

Fitch joins the Hungary "junking" parade, which centers around the country's former unwillingness to yield to the banking cartel regarding its central bank, which as of today is no longer the case: "The downgrade of Hungary's ratings reflects further deterioration in the country's fiscal and external financing environment and growth outlook, caused in part by further unorthodox economic policies which are undermining investor confidence and complicating the agreement of a new IMF/EU deal."

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Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: January 6

  • Markets await US Non-Farm Payrolls data, released 1330GMT
  • UniCredit experiences another disrupted trading session, trades down 11%, then returns to almost unchanged
  • Iran causes further unease with plans to engage in wargame exercises in the Strait of Hormuz

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Frontrunning: January 6

  • So very encouraging - IMF's Lagarde: euro likely to survive 2012 (Reuters)
  • Drop Greek bond plan, urges ECB council member (FT)
  • Soros says EU break-up would be catastrophic (Reuters)
  • Japanese Banks Get 'Stress Tests' (WSJ)
  • Hungary Pledges Compromise on IMF Loan (Bloomberg)
  • Confidence in London property falls (FT)
  • Fed nears an adoption of an inflation target as Bernanke pushes transparency (Bloomberg)
  • Seoul and Tokyo seek to ease Iran oil ties (FT)

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Previewing Today's Main Event

Today we get the December employment report and a murder of Fed Doves speaks later in the day.

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Iran To Hold New "Massive" Naval Exercise Near Straits Of Hormuz, To Run Parallel With Joint US-Israel Wargame

The selloff in crude yesterday, provoked by this Reuters article stating that Iran is ready to resume nuclear talks with the West, is now well over and the accumulation has again resumed, following (not so) stunning news that merely days after its 10 day Straits of Hormuz military exercise ended, the country is already preparing for yet another, "massive" naval exercise. As RT reports, "Iran is planning to hold new “massive” naval exercises near the strategic Strait of Hormuz within the next few weeks, the country’s Fars news agency has said, as Tehran’s tensions with the West continue to escalate following threats of new sanctions against the Islamic Republic over its controversial nuclear program." And this time the wargame comes with a twist - it will likely occur just across from a comparable drill ran jointly by the US and Israel: "The newly announced Iranian drills, codenamed The Great Prophet, may coincide with major naval exercises that Israel and the United States are planning to hold in the Persian Gulf in the near future. AP quoted on Thursday a senior Israeli military official as saying the drills would be held in the next few weeks." And since the Tonkin Gulf Resolution script is being used point by point, any lost escalation "chances" in the end of 2011 will surely be regained within days.

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Pre-NFP Summary And Miscellenia

According to Bloomberg's First Word Cross Asset Dashboard, sentiment rose modestly in European session and into U.S. open, with EU and U.S. equity indexes as well as Bunds and Treasury yields modestly higher, Bloomberg analyst TJ Marta writes in following note:

  • Payrolls est. 155k; market possibly expecting upside surprise after yesterday’s ADP 325k vs est. 178k
  • After most Asia equity indexes fell moderately, EU equity indexes, U.S. futures modestly higher; S&P futures +0.7%
  • Treasury yields modestly higher ~1bps; Bund yields modestly to significantly higher, led by 2-yr +3.6bps
  • FX, commodities, EU sovereign yield to Bund spreads mixed in mostly modest ranges
  • In Europe, Hungarian bonds jumped by the most in 6 weeks following hope that talks between the Premier, Central Bank Chief and Ministers would resolve the IMF rescue impasse. The meeting was concluded with Orban saying that Hungary wants IMF aid and is ready to support central bank - in other words Hungary just caved to the banking status quo. CDS declined modestly from all time records.
  • Germany November factory orders collapsed by 4.8%, on expectations of a 1.8% drop - biggest drop since September 2008 - the recession has now firmly moved into the core.
  • ECB deposit facility usage rose to a new record of €455.3 billion.
  • Liquidity conditions are measured by Swap Spreads improved modestly, and are now at early November levels: the 3M EURUSD basis swap rose 6.8 bps to -102.25, highest since November 7; the 3M Euribor/OIS dropped to 0.93, lowest since November 25

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Top Three Central Banks Account For Up To 25% Of Developed World GDP

For anyone who still hasn't grasped the magnitude of the central planning intervention over the past four years, the following two charts should explain it all rather effectively. As the bottom chart shows, currently the central banks of the top three developed world entities: the Eurozone, the US and Japan have balance sheets that amount to roughly $8 trillion. This is more than double the combined total notional in 2007. More importantly, these banks assets (and by implication liabilities, as virtually none of them have any notable capital or equity) combined represent a whopping 25% of their host GDP, which just so happen are virtually all the countries that form the Developed world (with the exception of the UK). Which allows us to conclude several things. First, the rapid expansion in balance sheets was conducted primarily to monetize various assets, in the process lifting stock markets, but just as importantly, to find a natural buyer of sovereign paper (in the case of the Fed) and/or guarantee and backstop the existence of banks which could then in turn purchase sovereign debt on their own balance sheet (monetization once removed coupled with outright sterilized asset purchases as is the case of the ECB). And in this day and age of failed economic experiments when a dollar of debt buys just less than a dollar of GDP (there is a reason why the 100% debt/GDP barrier is so informative), it also means that central banks now implicitly account for up to 25% of developed world GDP!

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Guest Post: Why Has Gold Been Down?

In spite of some short-term fixes, there remains no real resolution to the sovereign debt issues in many European countries. We're certainly not spending less money in the US, and now we're bailing out Europe via currency swaps with the European Central Bank. Shouldn't gold be rising? Yes, but nothing happens in a vacuum. There are some simple explanations as to why gold remains in a funk.

  1. The MF Global bankruptcy, the seventh-largest in US history, forced a high degree of liquidation of commodities futures contracts, including gold. Many institutional investors had to sell whether they wanted to or not. This is similar to why big declines in the stock market can force funds and other large investors to sell some gold to raise cash for margin calls or meet redemption requests.
  2. The dollar has been rising. Money fleeing the Eurozone has to go somewhere, and some of it is heading into US bonds, which means first converting the foreign currency into dollars.
  3. It's tax-loss selling season, something that's also impacting gold stocks. Funds and individual investors are selling underwater positions for tax purposes. Funds also sell their big winners to lock in gains for the year and dress up quarterly reports.

These forces have all acted to depress the gold price.

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Complete Cheatsheet For What To Buy Ahead Of QE3

Fed and/or ECB intervention is coming: whether it is called LSAP, QE x, Nominal GDP targetting, selling Treasury puts, or what have you. A regime that now exists only by central planning intervention, by definition requires ever more central planning intervention to sustain itself, let alone grow further. Furthermore, the banks not only want QE, they need QE. And since central banks serve other banks, not the people it is only a matter of time. Don't believe us? Read anything written by Bill Gross in the past year. So what to do ahead of QE3? Luckily, SocGen has released a complete cheat sheet of not only the dates of the next steps, but what to buy and what to sell ahead of the announcement. In short - one should buy Mortgage Backed Securities, in order to "simply buy MBS before the Fed" - something Bill Gross knows too well and has been hoarding MBS relentlessly as a result, as reported here. More importantly - one should buy gold. Lots of it as "USD debasement restarts." You didn't think the Fed will allow US corporate earnings - the only thing keeping the market alive - to be crushed with a EURUSD that will soon go under 1.20, now did you? And as for crude going to $250 - yes, it may cause huge headaches for regular folks but for banks it means record bonuses, and as a reminder, the Fed works for the banks, not the people, pardon neo-feudal debt slaves...

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Jeff Gundlach Complete Slideshow Presentation

DoubleLine's Jeff Gundlach, who has managed to double the AUM of his new firm in a few short months following an admirable return in 2011, and at last check had over $22 billion, as usual has put together a rather impressive slidedeck of raw data for his just completed investor call, which the chart porn addicts will salivate over for hours courtesy of the plethora of items covered: from Europe, to the US economy, to all financial products. Of particular note is slide 26 which shows the complete breakdown of the US bond market - it is curious that recently Treasurys became the biggest asset class on a relative basis, greater than both MBS and Corporate. The implication here is that the Fed, courtesy of being the largest single holder of Treasurys, now in effect is the marginal price setter of the largest US security.

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Mass Home Refinancing Rumor Rejected, And Why Even If It Was True It Would Not Help BAC

Looking for a reason why the surge of BAC has been abruptly halted after hours? Look no further - as predicted earlier, when we commented on the periodic reincarnation of the always false global refi rumor which served among other things to push BAC higher by almost 10%, the rumor was found to be false... all over again. In other words no refi, no benefit to TBTF, and all of today's gains are based on what Bloomberg noted was a report issued yesterday by a Jaret Seiberg, who until recently was an employee of MF Global, and has since been acquired with his entire Washington Research Group by none other than Guggenheim partners, which just happens to be run by former Bear Stearns exec Alan Scwhartz. From Bloomberg, here is the official denial (which came literally seconds after market close):

  • White House Has No Plan for Mass Home Refinancing, Person Says

Incidentally, even if the rumor was true, here is JMP explaining why it would have no real impact on Bank of America

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