The biggest spin master in the Obama administration, Press secretary Robert Gibbs, who obstinately had refused to answer Zero Hedge questions about the economic "recovery" in his daily tweetersessions , has joined pretty much everybody else in dumping the titanic that is the Obama administration. There is one thing we can be sure of, however, Tim Geithner, the only man who is officially on economic retainer (yet gets about 1% the use of Goldman's Jan Hatzius when it comes to monetary and fiscal policy) will be forever by Obama's side.
Following the too good to be true ADP number, the December Services ISM number came at 57.1 on a 55.7 consensus and an improvement from November's 55- a multi-year high. Yet the usual casual glance behind the scenes confirms once again that disparate economic data series are in complete contradiction with each other: the employment index declined from 52.7 to 50.5, which makes absolutely no sense in light of the alleged surge on ADP service-related jobs. Even Goldman has nothing good to say: "The decline in the employment index, however, suggests that the
strong ADP employment number has considerable statistical distortion
and should therefore be interpreted with care." But such is life when one runs a ministry of truth with far too many controllable variables. Furthermore, the economic growth through inventory accumulation is continuing, as inventories increased from 51.5 to 52.5. And most importantly for EPS numbers, kiss those margins good bye: prices paid increased from 63.2 to 70.0.
The last time food prices hit ridiculous levels, the immediate outcome was global food riots in places such as Haiti and Bangladesh. Which is why distributors of riot equipment in the world's poorest countries may be in for a bumper crop as the Food and Agriculture Organization has just announced that world food prices have just surpassed the previous record last seen in 2007-2008. But it's ok: according to the centrally planning Chairman it's all good, and the inflation is really just in our heads. After all, courtesy of the recent spike in mortgage rates, home prices now have about 10% to drop, meaning even less equity will be extracted from already substantially depressed food prices.
"Off With Our Heads!": Bil Gross On How "Future Generations Pay The Price For Their Parents’ Mindless Thrusting"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/05/2011 - 08:28
- American politicians and citizens alike have no clear vision of the
costs of a seemingly perpetual trillion-dollar annual deficit.
- Policy stimulus is focused on maintaining current consumption as
opposed to making the United States more competitive in the global
- Dollar depreciation will sap the purchasing power of U.S. consumers,
as well as the global valuation of dollar denominated assets.
By Bill Gross
ADP, whose November better than expected data of 92,000 jobs diverged dramatically with the weaker than expected NFP report (which just happened to come at a time when political ammo was required to pass the Unemployment Insurance extension, and which we predicted would surge in December), has just come at 297,000, on expectations of 100,000. How this number is even remotely possible is beyond any reasonable attempt at reconciling NFP data with initial claims. Then again, this is the loudest telegraphing that the dollar should be far, far higher.
- Fed May Keep Easing at `Full Throttle' Until Jobless Rate Falls (Bloomberg)
- Goldman Employees Blocked From Facebook Get Tutorial (Bloomberg)
- U.S. Shopping Center Vacancies Rise as Unemployment Rate Climbs (Bloomberg)
- Oil falls below $89 on dollar strength (Reuters)
- China's 2010 GDP Likely to Grow 10%: PBOC Chief (China Daily)
- U.S. stresses need to reduce China trade imbalance (Reuters)
- The Smart Money Girds for a Drop in Stocks (Barrons)
- Rogoff Says Greece May Yet Face Default on Its Debts (Bloomberg)
- China to invest $106b in railways in 2011 (China Daily)
- U.S. Economy Overheating? We Should Be So Lucky (Bloomberg)
- Australian Central Bank to Weigh Floods in Next Rate Move (WSJ)
The Mortgage Banker's Association has released its Weekly Mortgage Applications
Survey for the weeks ending December 24, 2010 and December 31, 2010. On a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending December 24, 2010, the Market Composite
Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 3.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from the prior
week. For the week ending December 31, 2010, this index increased 2.3%. The kicker is when on looks at the unadjusted numbers which exclude Christmas and New Year's Day adjustments: "on an unadjusted basis, the Index
decreased 23.7 percent the week before Christmas and 10.0 percent
the week after." Hopefully the seasonal adjustment isn't accounting for more than the snowfall across the country. Considering the ongoing spike in mortgage rates, it would not surprise us if this unadjusted data point next week will confirm that any interest in refinancing mortgages at current (still very low) rates has gone the way of the dodo. But at least the Fed thinks that higher interest rates are an indication that lower interest rates are working, or some such tortured FOMC logic.
Yesterday's drop of the BDIY to a one year low, coupled with stocks' (brief) jump to a one year high had quite a few technicians on edge: it isn't every day that we get such a major divergence between the two data series. But does this actually mean anything, and does it predict much in terms of future market performance? For the answer we go to one of the best technical analysts out there, Sentiment Trader, who shares the following piece of advice to those who are curious how stocks have traded in past occurrences of such notable divergences: "Overall, the S&P's median return over the next month or so was certainly below average, and I would consider this to be a minor negative, but not a major or terribly consistent sell signal." That said, there is also the threat that China is merely continuing to add additional supply in terms of Cape and other sized tankers, and we are confident that to some the plunge in shipping rates will be actually seen as a positive as it means less money has to be spent on chartering trans-Pacific transport. Which is good - a difference in opinions is, after all, what makes market.
The Chinese rhetoric on US Treasury holdings is once again heating up. After a year ago former PBOC advisor Yu Yongding called for a reduction in China's holdings of US Treasurys, popular magazine Caijing published another call to arms by the disgruntled ex-central banker. In apparent disagreement with traditional monetary policy and the Yuan peg, Yu said that moving towards a more market-driven exchange rate would mean reduced intervention in the foreign currency markets, giving China the option of winding down its holdings of U.S. debt. "China should strive to reduce instead of further increasing (its holdings of) dollar assets," he said. "Specifically, China should reduce the growth of its foreign exchange reserves as soon as possible. Furthermore, with the Fed now firmly holding far more US debt than China, the world's fastest growing economy is realizing that is negotiating power when it comes to US leverage via bond holdings is getting smaller with every day. Perhaps the country is finally realizing that it would be best to sell to the Fed now when it can, rather than some time in the future, when it has to, and do so on Bernanke's terms.
RANsquawk European Morning Briefing - Stocks, Bonds, FX etc. – 05/01/11
Today the PIIGS are back at the ECB subsidy trough with Portugal taking center stage with its E500 million 6-month bill auction. The next country to implode sold E500mln of 6-month Bills, and while the bid to cover was just a slightly better 2.6 compared to the 2.4 before, the yield again surged, hitting an unsustainable 3.686% versus 2.045% previously. The net result of this jump in yields is that peripheral spreads have once again commenced leaking wider, with the Greek spreads to Bunds pushing to a new record wide at 974 bps, a 10 point move. This is hardly the last we have heard of record Greek spreads it, and while it is very feasible we will see a four digit spread in the next few days, who really care anymore. After all it is just the ECB that will end up holding the toxic paper.
A common misconception among less aware segments of the American populace is that the phrase “New World Order” was concocted by attention seeking “conspiracy theorists” in dank basement apartments and sinister mountain shacks across the country. In reality, anti-globalists and Constitutionalists had nothing to do with the term’s creation (and most of us have decent digs, too). The truth is that mumblings of a “New World Order” have been floating around various elitist circles for decades, and every once in a while, those mumblings are publicized in the mainstream media. Globalists created the warped ideal; we just point out that it exists. Lately, we haven’t had to try very hard… As most readers here are probably already privy to, elitist spokesman George Soros (who for some reason reminds me of Baron Harkonnen from the movie ‘Dune’) recently let spill all kinds of NWO gossip in a candid interview with the Financial Times.