The FOMC has used experimental tools for so long to keep the accelerator pressed that it fears what happens when the car stops. Therefore, the FOMC believes they have little choice other than to keep the car going forward, which works until it doesn’t. The risk/reward tradeoff continues to skew unfavorably. The farther markets move into the right-tail side of the distribution curve, the deeper they will eventually more into the left-tail. Vrooom...Crash.
"At a time when so much may seem uncertain, the people of Ferguson can have confidence that the Justice Department intends to learn - in a fair and thorough manner - exactly what happened... In order to begin the healing process, however, we must first see an end to the acts of violence in the streets of Ferguson."
The angry mobs have assembled early today, with KTVI reporting that moments ago the Justice Center in Clayton, MO has been put on lockdown. The reason: a flash mob has just appeared outside. We understand their anger, but what we don't get is why don't they just buy stocks instead: wouldn't the protesters rather be wealthy than furious and screaming? Plus, it's not as if there is any risk in buying stocks.
Nobody really believes the official narrative that the "recovery" is powering the remarkable strength of U.S. stocks, bonds and real estate. The real Main Street economy is quite obviously struggling, outside the energy and Federal government sectors, and so many see the Federal Reserve's free money for financiers (a.k.a. quantitative easing) bond and mortgage-buying programs as the real reason bond yields have declined and stocks have soared. This leads us to wonder if capital inflows into the U.S. aren't a largely overlooked driver of rising U.S. markets.
S&P futures traded the lowest volume of the year today (for a non-holiday trading day) and volume has slid consistently lower as this rally of the last 8 days. The S&P outperformed today (up over 0.5%) as yesterday's oil-is-falling-so-buy-Trannies meme reversed into oil-is-falling-so-sell-Trannies which ended the day almost unchanged. The Nasdaq made new 14-year highs, up 5 days in a row. Treasury yields dropped notably early on then surged higher as US stocks opened (30Y +8bps on the week). The USD index also surged today (up 0.55% on the week) to new 11-month highs as EUR and CHF weakened notably. Commodities in general were clubbed like baby seals with copper, silver, and WTI hammered (but not Brent) after the inflation/housing data leaving oil under $95 - its lowest in 7 months. Gold fell much more modestly (but ended below $1300). AAPL closes at all-time high. VIX and HY Credit diverge notably from stocks after Europe closed.
On the bright side, Nigeria claims it is "cautiously optimistic" about the spread of Ebola in Lagos; however, 3 more cases reported and the fact that Cameroon has decided to block all borders with Nigeria because "it is better to act preventively rather than have to heal" suggests things are anything but under control. The 17 quarantined Ebola-symptomatic patients that escaped from a Liberia clininc have been found and put back into quarantine in another clinic. The WHO reports the rate of cases and deaths are accelerating further with 1,229 deaths and 2,240 reported cases with Austria the most recent nation to get a scare as APA reports two cases found.
Another Police Shooting In St. Louis, Just 3 Miles From Ferguson: "Suspect Dead At The Scene" - Live FeedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/19/2014 - 14:22
St.Louis city police are investigating a fatal police shooting in St.Louis City - less than 3 miles from Ferguson - today at 1230pm. Residents heard at least 5 shots fired. The suspect approached the officers with a knife in an open-hand grip and screamed "shoot me, kill me now." One witness described it at 'suicide by cop'.
Ukraine’s next crisis will be a devastatingly economic one, as violent conflict destroys critical infrastructure in the east and brings key industry to a halt, furthering weakening the energy sector by crippling coal-based electricity production.
For each $1 of additional quantitative easing by The Fed, the S&P 500 adds $4 of market capitalization. This correlation-is-causation 'fact' has been remarkably constant since the Fed unleashed QE on the world, but, as Bloomberg's Chase Van Der Rhoer notes, still well below the $12 market cap gains pre-2008 and that it now takes $41 billion in additional stimulus to nudge High-Yield credit spreads 1bp tighter. However, the largest 'diminishing effect' of QE is seen in job creation (were one to believe there was any causal link). It now takes a record $37,400 of additional QE for each additional job created (5 times the pre-Lehman levels). It seems it is indeed time to retire QE...
Mainstream media business 'entertainment' appears to have been taken over by the #IceBucketChallenge, as they name-drop from CEO to CEO in the interests of ratings (as opposed to raising money for ALS). However, things took a much more serious turn today as not only did Alan Greenspan show us how he 'cools off' the economy but actor Vin Diesel issued the ultimate challenge to none other than Michelle Obama and Vladimir Putin...
Absolute Bubble Insanity: For Nearly Half A Billion Dollars, Here Is The World's Most Expensive PenthouseSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/19/2014 - 13:02
Forget Hong Kong, London and New York: when it comes to the pinnacle in absolute real estate insanity - perhaps in all of history - look no further than James Bond's favorite gambling mecca, Monaco. It is in this tiny Riviera principality where we find the Tour Odeon, a double-skyscraper being built by Groupe Marzocco SAM near Monaco’s Mediterranean seafront, which will contain a 3,300 square-meter (35,500 square-foot) penthouse with a water slide connecting a dance floor to a circular open-air swimming pool. The description is nice, but it is the bottom line that is mindblowing: Bloomberg reports that the apartment may sell for more than 300 million euros ($400 million) when it goes on the market next year, French magazine Challenges reported. That would make it the world’s most expensive penthouse, according to broker Knight Frank LLP.
Brent crude is rising this morning up from an earlier dip to $101.75. That is not the case for WTI crude which has been in freefall since this morning's CPI data print. Brent-WTI has soared from below $5 to over $6.50 in the last few hours as WTI drops to a $95 handle at its lowest since mid-January.
The ongoing clashes between residents of Ferguson, MO and heavily armed police forces - which are equipped with M16 rifles and armored vehicles - have drawn attention to the increasing militarization of police in the United States. Here are the 'alternative' cases for and against outfitting local law enforcement with military-grade weapons...