Take Green (i.e. double zero), and subtract from it the Birth Death adjustment and presto: you have reality, or what we predicted earlier today- a negative NFP print. Also, for the seasonal sticklers Birth Death has added 491k jobs in the past year: no seasonality here.
- At 0, the NFP number is a plunge of 85K, from a downward revised July, which was previously at 117. This is the biggest drop since September 2010
- The Household Survey saw an increase of 331K in the number of employed
- Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 3 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $23.09. This decline followed an 11-cent gain in July. This is the first time the avg hourly earnings have been negative MoM since January 2008
- Underemployment, U-6, rose to 16.2%, from 16.1% in July
- The labor force rose to 153.6 million in August.
- Ironically the only good news in the report, was what many have been indicating is a negative for months: namely that the Labor Force Participation rate actually rose for the first time in months from the nearly 30 year low of 63.9% to 64.0%
Once again European debt problems are hitting the headlines and putting pressure on stocks globally. While we were busy basking in the glow of the now annual Jackson Hole rally, the situation in Europe actually got worse. The bickering and finger pointing seems constant now. A few key things are worth watching are presented below. In the meantime, as we wait for NFP, SOVX is back above 300, MAIN is above 160, and IG and HY are both well off their tights and are trading as though a lot of bears got long for a trade jumping on the momentum from last week and the month-end and long weekend technicals.
With just half an hour left until the NFP report, all bets should have been made by now if the number will come above the consensus of 68K, or well below it. One who is confident the number will be a big disappointment is Goldman's Jan Hatzius and team who lists the following reasons for why the number will not meet Wall Street's traditional permabullish outlook: Weakened hiring, due to a deterioration in households' assessment of the labor market, weaker real time economic employment indices, fewer online job ads, moderate ADP employment gains; the picture is not better on the demand side as jobless claims remain low, and announced job cuts are rising. There is always a strawman in the form of the Verizon strike which would cut about 45,000 people from the NFP, but laslty, and most importantly, Income tax receipts have dropped substantially in recent weeks: an indication that either employees are paying less in taxes, or there are just less of them. Goldman's summary: "Taken together, our models suggest a deceleration in the pace of payroll growth in August. We therefore expect a gain of 25,000 in the 's report (revised down from 50,000 previously)." Also, let's not forget that the Fed needs some ammunition if it wishes to proceed with announcing QE3 at the September 21 FOMC meeting- yesterday's ISM certainly did not provide it.
Everyone will focus on the Non Farm Payrolls report, which even Goldman expects will be just a shade higher than negative. We, for what it's worth, are confident that when all the revisions are said and done, and when removing the birth/death adjustment, both the headline, and the private jobs number will be negative.
- White House sharply cuts U.S. growth forecast (Reuters)
- U.S. judge pans rush in BofA $8.5 billion mortgage pact (Reuters)
- Italy cobbles together austerity compromise (FT)
- Fresh Scrutiny of BofA (WSJ)
- Fed asks BofA to list contingency plan: report (Reuters)
- Germany backs calls to widen IMF currency basket (FT)
- U.K. Warns Scotland on Costs of a Split (WSJ)
- U.S. Is Set to Sue a Dozen Big Banks Over Mortgages (NYT)
- US Deficit forecast falls below estimates (FT)
Today, the President of the ECB, Jean- Claude Trichet did not rule out a gold backed euro bond in an interview with ‘Il Sole 24 Ore’ published on the ECB’s website. The comments were a response to former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi who proposed - in Italian national daily business newspaper ‘Il Sole 24 Ore’ last week - the creation of a euro bond backed by member states’ gold reserves. Prodi was President of the European Commission from 1999 to 2004. Trichet was asked about “the creation of a fund guaranteed by the gold reserves of countries that would issue bonds to buy back national debt and make new investments.” Trichet did not answer the question directly but said “at this stage, we have the EFSF bonds, which are bonds with a European signature. The main message of the ECB Governing Council to governments is to implement rapidly, fully, comprehensively the decisions taken by the European heads of state and government on 21 July.” Separately the Central Bank of Ireland has said that it will not disclose whether the gold reserves of Ireland (a paltry 6 tonnes) have been swapped or loaned out or had any other receivable status recorded against them (see Commentary below). A senior administrative officer for financial control at the Central Bank of Ireland responded to an inquiry regarding the custody and ownership of Ireland’s gold reserves: “The bank is not, however, in a position to provide further information, nor to outline its investment strategy in relation to the gold holdings.”
In a move that could either send BAC stock limit down overnight or send it soaring (we are still trying to figure out just what is going on here), the NYT has broken major news that the US is preparing to go nuclear on more than a dozen big banks among which Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, in an attempt for Fannie and Freddie to recoup $30 billion if not much more. The lawsuit is expected to hit the docket in the next few days: "The suits stem from subpoenas the finance agency issued to banks a year ago. If the case is not filed Friday, they said, it will come Tuesday, shortly before a deadline expires for the housing agency to file claims." Now, taken at face value, this would mean that Bank of America can kiss its ass goodbye as unlike the Walnut Place litigation, this will take place in Federal Court where Article 77 is not applicable. Yet there is something that gives us pause: namely logic, captured by the following words: "While I believe that F.H.F.A. is acting responsibly in its role as conservator, I am afraid that we risk pushing these guys off of a cliff and we’re going to have to bail out the banks again,” said Tim Rood, who worked at Fannie Mae until 2006 and is now a partner at the Collingwood Group, which advises banks and servicers on housing-related issues." In other words: if the banks are sued, and if justice prevails, the end of the world is nigh and cue TARP 2 - XXX. Now where have we heard that argument over, and over, and over before.
Wikileaks Releases Entire 65 Gigabyte Uncensored Cablegate Archive (With Or Without Bank Of America Disclosure)Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/01/2011 - 21:04
Looks like Wikileaks is not waiting to see how litigation with the Guardian turns out and is set on doing all it can to bring the world to the brink of, what's that word again, oh yes, war. And a free Zero Hedge hat to the first guy or gal (the latter gets a choice of ZH thong instead) to discover whatever it is that Wiki may or may not have had on Bank of America. Something tells us not many people will be sleeping at the Department of State tonight.
The crusade against High Frequency Trading which Zero Hedge started well over two years ago, is now coming to an end. Reuters reports that U.S. securities regulators have "taken the unprecedented step of asking high-frequency trading firms to hand over the details of their trading strategies, and in some cases, their secret computer codes." As everyone knows, the only thing of value within the sub-penny scalping HFT universe are the odd nuances in computer code. Which is why its supreme and undisputed secrecy is sacrosanct. As soon as anyone, especially a regulator, has a whiff of understanding how any given algorithm works, it becomes the equivalent of collapsing the wave function: observing the HFT theft-scalping duality in action eliminates the Schrodinger equation associated with any simplistic algo and collapses its "wave function" to a worthless series of ones and zeros. Said otherwise, this is the end for HFT.
Retaliation: Greek Budget Expert Fired For Opposing Europe, Telling The Truth About Country's InsolvencySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/01/2011 - 18:16
Yesterday we made an amusing contrast between the lies of European insolvent state annexator general Olli Rehn who said that "Greece’s debt is on a “durable declining path” and new projections will show that the second rescue program reduces net liabilities, European Union Economic and Monetary Commissioner Olli Rehn said" and the truth uttered by Greek budget committee head Stella-Savva Balfousia, who said "Greece's debt has run out of control and government policies are failing to restore finances." Guess which one just got the axe. No this is not a trick question. And if you said prematurely terminated Devan Sherma you get half a point, because as the more observant out there may have noticed, the only benefit for blowing the whistle these days is immediate and irrevocable termination from both one's high profile job, and the status quo.
Let's take a quick look at some numbers: 8, 160, 400, 350, 12 and 5. There have only been 8 weeks out of last 160 weeks that unemployment claims have been below 400 thousand claims. In normal circumstances we are worried about recessions when claims are rising above 350 thousand claims. Furthermore, jobless claims tend to plunge below 350 thousand a week within 12 months after the end of a recession. Currently we are still holding above 400 thousand claims after more than two full years since the recession statistically ended. Those are some pretty ugly numbers, but the most important number is 5. The reason that we think unemployment might move sharply higher is that every time the STA Composite Employment Index drops to a level of 5 or less the economy has been in a recession. Of course, it is during recessions that unemployment claims rise sharply as businesses cut back on their labor force to reduce costs. This is clearly seen in the chart.
Recently, we’ve received a number of emails from readers asking why the primary gold ETF, SPDR Gold Trust (NYSE:GLD), doesn’t more closely track the price of gold, and other related questions. For those readers who aren’t already familiar with the workings of this innovative way to “own gold,” it’s worth going over a few of the details, because there are some common misunderstandings regarding the ETF. The creators of GLD were as savvy as it gets. They saw a market crying for something like this and turned that need into one of the most successful new financial products ever introduced. The ETF burst upon the scene in November of 2004 and was immediately latched onto as a means of riding the gold bull market without the inconvenience of having to transport and securely store actual bullion. In the past seven years, its rise has been meteoric. It has steadily ascended the list of the world’s leading gold repositories, until today it has the sixth-largest global stash of the metal, at more than 1,230 tons, or 39.57 million ounces, worth over $70.7 billion.
So Much For "Value Investing" - Whitney Tilson Plunges 13.3% In August, Down A Mass Redemption-Inducing 21.1% YTDSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/01/2011 - 15:09
If anyone works in finance, chances are they have at some point, or more likely, constantly, received emails (we want to keep it civil) to participate in the Value Investing Congress, which purportedly, promotes ideas based on, well, value. Alas, if that is indeed the case, then primary sponsor Whitney Tilson's T2, has to urgently look up the definition of velue. To wit: "Our fund declined 13.3% in August vs. -5.4% for the S&P 500, -4.0% for the Dow and -6.4% for the Nasdaq. Year to date, it’s down 21.9% vs. -1.8% for the S&P 500, +2.1% for the Dow and - 2.2% for the Nasdaq." Even more to wit: "On the long side, our portfolio got clobbered across the board despite generally good company- specific news regarding our major holdings (discussed below). Amidst a tumultuous month in the markets, investors dumped stocks that were even slightly illiquid, or that are valued primarily on future, rather than current, profits – both traits that characterize many positions in our fund. One of our biggest advantages is being willing and able to look out 2-3 years when most investors are looking out 2-3 months (or, in many cases, 2-3 microseconds), but this hurt us last month." But wait, despite what is basically the start of yet another hedge death watch, Tilson sees smooth sailing ahead. "In our view, the turmoil of the past month has created the best bargains we’ve seen in the market since the chaos and panic of late 2008 and early 2009. Of course stocks aren’t anywhere as cheap now as they were then, but the risks aren’t nearly as great either (we think many people didn’t realize or have forgotten how close we were then to a worldwide Great Depression), so on a risk-adjusted basis we think our portfolio is as attractive now as it was then." We can only hope Whitney has some, any, money left to spend on chasing these amazing value bargains. In the worst case, the fees from the VIC conference should find the purchase of at least one block of ES.