While we already know that "work is punished" in America, with almost 20% of Americans' disposable personal income made up of US government transfer payments (up from just 5% 60 years ago), it is perhaps no surprise that Bloomberg's Comfort Index shows the jobless in America haven't been this comfortable since 2007...
"In conclusion, this analysis finds little evidence of the permanent structural damage to the economy’s productive potential that many commentators see as the main culprit for the subpar recovery from the Great Recession..." and Surprise... "our model suggests that monetary policy played an important role in cushioning the blow from the financial crisis and in sustaining the recovery, which could have been significantly more disappointing without the aggressive actions undertaken by the Fed."
Having infamously "thrown in the bearish towel" late last year (must read), Hugh Hendry's Eclectica fund has not enjoyed the kind of money-printing melt-up euphoria he had hoped for in 2014. According to his August letter to investors, the fund is -10.9% year-to-date, shrinking the firm's performance since inception to a mere +0.7%. His positions are intriguing but his commentary can be summed with this sentence alone, "when central banks are actively pursuing a goal of higher prices the most rational course is to tenaciously remain invested in equities." And so he is...
Faux-pas, non? And these are the only airstrike-supporting Western "allies" America has in The Middle East?
Do you have a friend who consistently borrows 30% of his income each year, is currently in debt about six times her annual income, and wanted to take advantage of short-term interest rates so that he needs to renegotiate with his banker about once every six years? Well, if Uncle Sam is your friend you do!
"Russia is already more isolated than at any time since the Cold War" - President Obama, August 2014
"China will never support or join recently imposed sanctions against Russia" - China President Xi Jinping, September 2014
The last couple of hours of today's US session were quite surreal for many cross-asset-class traders. As the following chart shows, the "need" for the S&P 500 to achieve 2,000 (and green post-FOMC) was evident in a 3-step process of manipulating VIX, USDJPY, and Gold. All they could achieve was 1,999.79 highs but not without an epic last minute VIXtermination effort...
Do you believe in miracles? With death-crosses crossing, Hindenburgs Omening, bonds and credit diverging, breadth deteriorating, stocks on the verge of the worst run of thge year, and the S&P 500 testing the crucial 50-day moving average... it should be no surprise that a combination of VIX-slamming, USDJPY-ramping, PBOC-firing, Fed-speaking sent stocks to their biggest gains in 7-weeks after the worst selling in 5 weeks (and people think the BoJ is the only one buying stocks). Treasury yields rose but nothing like the exuberance in stocks. HY credit markets deteriorated notably (bounced with stocks but notably less so). The USD surged (apparently on PBOC rumors) early (+0.3% on the week). Gold & Silver dropped, copper rose modestly but WTI oil prices exploded higher with stocks' exuberance (and Benghazi headlines). VIX was banged from over 15 to under 13.5. S&P 500 2,000 (1,999.79 achieved) and getting back to green post-FOMC was all that mattered today - and Mission Accomplished... before a slightly weak close.
President Obama is explaining to The UN Security Council why actions are needed... not words...
- *OBAMA SPEAKS AT UN SECURITY COUNCIL SUMMIT ON FOREIGN FIGHTERS
- *ABOUT 15K FOREIGN FIGHTERS FROM 40 NATIONS IN SYRIA: OBAMA
- *OBAMA SAYS POLITICAL SOLUTION IN SYRIA MUST BE SOUGHT
- *OBAMA SAYS `RESOLUTIONS ALONE' WILL NOT BE ENOUGH ON TERROR
If tapering isn't tightening.. and it's about the stock not the flow... then equity bulls have nothing to worry about. However, this chart suggests both of those flawed assumptions are entirely incorrect...
If the US economy had boosted everyone's income by $1.4 trillion in the past quarter, USD GDP would now be growing at a double digit pace. It did not. So to get a sense of just whose net worth rose by the noted amount, we go to Stone McCarthy which answers the question who benefited from holding stocks directly. Bottom line: the gains in net worth associated with holding stocks directly have been concentrated among a relatively small number of households.
Having totally killed the Japanese government bond market, Shinzo Abe has - unlike the much less transparent Federal Reserve, who allegedly use their proxy Citadel - gone full tilt into buying Japanese stocks (via ETFs). In May, we noted the BoJ's aggressive buying as the Nikkei dropped, and in June we pointed out the BoJ's plan tobuy Nikkei-400 ETFs and so, as Nikkei news reports, it is hardly surprising that the Bank of Japan bought a record JPY 123.6 billion worth of ETFs in August. The market 'knows' that the BoJ tends to buy JPY10-20 billion ETFs when stock prices fall in the morning. The BoJ now holds 1.5% of the entire Japanese equity market cap (or roughly JPY 480 trillion worth) and is set to surpass Nippon Life as the largest individual holder of Japanese stocks. And, since even record BoJ buying was not enough to do the job, Abe has now placed GPIF reform (i.e. legislating that Japan's pension fund buys stocks in much greater size) as a primary goal for his administration. The farce is almost complete as the Japanese ponzi teeters on the brink.