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Alcoa Launches Earnings Season With A Whimper

You've heard the CEO's oracular outlook; you've read the press-release; you've seen Maria Bartiromo flush and the algos stymied in after-hours trading. Now here are the facts: Free Cash Flow: Q3 -$39MM; Adjusted EBITDA: Q3 $282mm, down 45% from Q2; Adjusted EBITDA: Q3 2011: $821 MM; Q2 2012: $ 517 MM; Q3 2013: $282 MM; Adjusted EBITDA Margin Changes: Q1 2012: 12.8%;  Q2 2012: 8.7%; Q3 2012 4.8%. Total debt: $9,524; Net debt: $8,092; LTM EBITDA $1,875 million; Total Leverage: 5.1x; Net Leverage: 4.3x

and here is the correlation...



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Oil Surge, Stocks Purge, AAPL Bulls Regurge

UPDATE: AA earnings beat, missed, won, lost, with forecasts up and down... facts below!

From the close after the Fed's QEternity announcement, it may surprise some that the Russell 2000, Nasdaq, and Dow Transports are all down 4%. S&P futures have retraced all of last week's gains, dropping the most in over week amid significant volume. AAPL dumped to its 100DMA, bounced, failed to break yesterday's VWAP close, then tumbled back to today's VWAP for another down day. VIX popped the most in 2 weeks (up over 1.2 vols) to end at 16.2%. From the 9/14 peak in stocks, only Healthcare is in the green, with Energy/Tech/Materials down around 5%. Oil jumped higher (up 3% on the week) in the face of USD strength that weighed a little on the rest of the commodity sector.



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David Rosenberg: "Does The Fed Matter?"

Nothing materially new here from David Rosenberg's latest letter, but it is useful to keep being reminded over and over how central planning has totally destroyed the primary function of capital markets: discounting, and replaced it with a dumb terminal which only responds to red flashing headlines reporting of neverending liquidity. "If the Fed really had its way, the economy would be booming. But it is sputtering. For all the talk of one month's employment report — look at the entire quarter for crying out loud. Looking at total labour input, aggregate hours worked, it eked out a tepid 0.8% annualized gain in Q3....That the stock market is up 16% this year (on track for the best year since 2009) with earnings contracting underscores the major success of Fed policy in 2012 — managing to deflect investor attention away from negative profit trends and towards its pregnant balance sheet. So welcome to the new normal: the Fed has managed to negotiate a divorce between the economy and equity market behaviour.



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Buffett's Favorite Bank, Wells Fargo, Sued By US

Couldn't happen to a nicer crony capitalist's favorite stock:

  • U.S. FILES CIVIL MORTGAGE FRAUD SUIT AGAINST WELLS FARGO
  • U.S. CLAIMS WELLS FARGO FALSELY CERTIFIED FHA LOANS
  • GOVERNMENT SEEKS DAMAGES AND PENALTIES FOR RECKLESS LOANS
  • FHA FORCED TO PAY `HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS' FOR DEFAULTED LOANS

Well, Charlie: "Suck it in" (even more than just the recent epic collapse of BYD of course). As for Wells, sorry Warren, but just like gold, you can't really fondle that stock certificate, held by DTCC in proxy, either.



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Why Oil's Post-QE Plunge May Be Over

A few days after the Fed launched QEternity we posted a roadmap for the post-QE track that Oil prices have mysteriously followed. We are now T+20 days from QEternity which corresponds to the post-QE trough based on the average of QE1 and QE2. What is fascinating about the following chart is just how closely the price of WTI crude has tracked the average path post-QE that we laid out three weeks ago. Is this the short-term lows? Who knows, but it seems that the divergence between WTI and Brent is narrowing with WTI playing catch up...



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Guest Post: Four Alternative Stores Of Value

One of the most successful con jobs in the history of the world has been the concept of unbacked paper currency… or fiat money. Over the last 100-years or so, governments have been able to convince people that their pieces of paper, backed by nothing but promises, actually have ‘value’. This seems truly bizarre when you think about it. Governments tend to be untrusted, serial failures. Yet people readily accept their guarantees the world over. As such, it’s high time for creative, thinking people to consider their options and start trading their pieces of paper for something of value.



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Latest Gallup Obama Poll Causes Another InTrade Flash Crash

Gallup just announced the results of their latest poll and find Romney has overtaken Obama 49% to 47% among 'Likely Voters'. Obama still holds the lead among 'Registered voters' but this headline was enough to cause a dramatic crash (back under 60%) in Obama's odds on Intrade's market. Critically, the entire post-QEternity bump that Obama-believers had bought, has now been retraced as it seems the old adage "As Goes AAPL, So Goes Obama" is proving true...



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Jack Welch Terminates Contract With Reuters, Fortune In Aftermath Of Infamous Tweet

The fallout in the aftermath of last week's infamous tweet by Jack Welch in which he dares to accuse the BLS of manipulating labor data (the same BLS which has already been purposefully caught leaking data, but never actually caught red handed manipulating it: after all things like these don't happen, Liborgate notwithstanding), something which it did (although the one thing that nobody dares to say is "why" because if suddenly it becomes clear that if this most critical of economic indicators is fudged, then every other one must be) has begun. Moments ago, in response to perceived political badgering by Fortune and Reuters, Jack Welch, the CEO of Chairman of GE from 1981 to 2001, just after the company's stock peaked at $593 billion, the outspoken critic of Obama has decided to sever ties with both the CNN-controlled publication and with the Thomson Reuters organization, and instead going forward will use the WSJ as a platform. What drove Welch over the edge is the now traditional media response of attacking the person instead of the argument whenever the status quo is threatened, in this case predicated by articles by both Fortune and Reuters.



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There Could Be Weeks When Decades Happen

Recession drives contingent liabilities into present liabilities quickly and with force and the cattle are now out of control and the stampede has begun. For those of you perhaps wishing for and certainly waiting for some type of “Lehman Moment” to flee; you may find it soon. The danger has always been that Europe will believe its own stuff and then make judgments based upon it and if this turns out to be the case then the decisions will be wrong and the consequences horrific.



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A Surge In "Market Conditions" Imminent?

While hardly a crash, today's AAPL driven market swoon is certainly not the stuff centrally-planned market confidence is built on (not to mention yet another day of various abnormal stock trading patterns in some of the more retail-heavy held stocks which will hardly break the pattern of domestic capital flowing out of equities and into bonds). And as we have seen in the past two weeks, when even green days have resulted in the infamous "market conditions" clause being triggered for companies attempting to sell equity or raise debt, today's red day, assuming of course, the fat pipe between Citadel and the FRBNY is not unclogged for the last hour of trading ramp, may mean that a surge of "market conditional" excuses by companies and underwriters is imminent. The reason: as the WSJ reports there are no less than 10 IPOs in the next 3 days. Should today's market tone persist into the close, we would be very surprised if even half of these price in a market in which the primary market bid disappears on even a -0.01% close.



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Guest Post: What Will Benefit From Global Recession? The US Dollar

Many times what "should" happen does not happen. For example, global stock markets "should" decline as the global economy free-falls into recession, as global recession is not exactly an ideal scenario for rising corporate sales and profits or demand for commodities. Yet global markets are by and large rising significantly. Sometimes what "should" happen is simply being delayed. In other cases, some other dynamic is at work. Stock market bulls, for example, say the "other dynamic" is global money-printing by central banks, and this "easing" will power stocks higher even as sales and profits sag. Analysts who believe fundamentals eventually over-ride monetary manipulation believe the stock market decline has only been delayed, not banished. A similar tug-of-war is playing out between those who feel the U.S. dollar "should" decline in the years ahead and those who see the dollar strengthening significantly.



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LIBOR-gate Comes To Crude: Total Exposes Price Fixing In The Energy Market

While the recent revelations of multi-year LIBOR manipulation (but, but how was that possible: it involved thousands of people, operating for years, manipulating numbers - all the traditional reasons presented against conspiracy theory crackpots alleging that manipulation may be going on here, or there, or at the BLS, or somewhere), which we had said had been happening for the past 3 years, confirmed that the entire rate-based derivative market was a giant scam, at least one market spared from cartel whistleblower, i.e., insider, humiliation, was the commodities market. No longer. As the FT first reported, a Swiss trading office of Total Oil Trading sent a response letter to IOSCO (the International Organization of Securities Commissions), alleging that the same kinds of market "pricing" shennanigans that have been now exposed to have taken place over bottles of Bollinger, may have been pervasive in the crude market as well.



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Santelli Slams 'Surprise' Unemployment Data In Epic Screamfest

While careful not to get drawn into the conspiracy-theory wonk camp, CNBC's Rick Santelli just connects the dots on last week's miraculous unemployment rate. In one of the most voluminous rants we can remember, Santelli - from a position of realist (and market whisperer) - argued with Liesman - from a position of 'but, but, the data must be true' - and summed it all perfectly "if I told you that you'd win the lottery tomorrow, and you did; wouldn't you wonder how did I know that?" With Langone also chipping in that he does not see anything in his business to suggest unemployment is improving at all - we think the bigger elephant-in-the-room is the Liesman 'comfortably-numb' line-of-questioning on "why did you think last month that this month's unemployment rate would be under 8%"; i.e., why did you think there would be manipulation? The answer is pretty obvious, especially as Santelli was proven 100% correct - "the current trend of these [jobs] numbers is so different from the current trend of any other numbers. If you were looking for conspiracies (and I'm not), you only need to change a certain number." Must Watch!



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Apple Correction Sends Risk Sliding

It seems, just as everyone knew but really did not want to admit, that AAPL is the core (pun intended) of the entire risk-rally. With the re-appearance of the bond-market this morning after their long-weekend, risk-assets everywhere have caught the tech companies' cold with EURUSD at one-week lows - back under 1.2900, S&P futures tumbling back towards pre-QEternity levels and having wiped out all of last week's gains, as AAPL is down over 2% (seemingly picking up speed once we noted the 10% iCorrection earlier). Oil is holkding gains while USD strength is sapping Silver, Copper, and Gold's performance. Treasuries have snapped back to low yields of the day (down around 4-5bps). VIX has snapped back above 16% (up around 1 vol).



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Guest Post: Why A Gold Standard, Alone, Is Not Enough

We have lately noticed that there is an ongoing debate on whether (or not) the world can again embrace the gold standard. We join the debate today, with an historical as well as technical perspective. The gold standard will be the last option: If adopted, it will be out of necessity and in desperation. We are not historians. In our limited knowledge, we note however that historically, the experiment of adopting a gold standard –or a currency board system- was usually preceded by extremely trying moments, including the loss by a government of its legal tender amidst hyperinflation. The change to a commodity standard has often been then out of necessity. In summary, the Argentine case and the Dutch Golden Age suggest that the elimination of the credit multiplier (i.e. extinction of shadow banking) is more important than the asset backing a currency.



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