Who Said: "If Rates Go Negative The Treasury Will Print A Lot More Currency"

  • if rates go negative, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing will likely be called upon to print a lot more currency as individuals and small businesses substitute cash for at least some of their bank balances.
  • As interest rates go more negative, market participants will have increasing incentives to make payments quickly and to receive payments in forms that can be collected slowly
  • if interest rates go negative, the incentives reverse: people receiving payments will prefer checks (which can be held back from collection) to electronic transfers
  • we may see an epochal outburst of socially unproductive—even if individually beneficial—financial innovation

The End Of Guitar Center (And An Irrational Addiction To Growth & The Scourge Of Unregulated Structured Finance)

The fact is, the die is cast. In a couple of weeks, Guitar Center will need to report its Christmas performance to its bondholders. If things do not look good, its bonds will be ripped apart like RadioShack’s. Here’s what this really means: it’s the end of big box retail, an irrational addiction to growth, and the scourge of unregulated structured finance. For a few years, unwise urban planning and unregulated banks created a new bubble in the American suburbs. The objective truth is that the growth of the last decade was financed by banking fraud, and that financial trickery of this sort only fools people in the short-term. Eventually, you must have a product people demand, sold by competent people who care about the business, financed in a way that makes sense.

Feds Probe NJ Governor Christie For Allegedly Quashing Grand Jury Indictments

With hopes that Bridge-gate was drifting into the back of potential voters' minds, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (and members of his staff) face yet another Federal criminal investigation. Having previously dismissed the accusations as being "conspiratorial nonsense," it appears allegations that the governor and his staff broke the law when they quashed grand jury indictments against Christie supporters, are being taken a little more seriously now.

What Central Bank Defeat Would Look Like, In Charts

Deflation remains the enemy thanks to debt, deleveraging, demographics, tech disruption & default risks. US aggregate debt is today a staggering $58.0 trillion (327% of GDP); the number of people unemployed in the European Union is 23.6 million; Greece has spent 90 of the past 192 years in default or debt restructuring. 7 years on from the GFC... The massive policy response continues. Central bank victory means that lower rates, currencies, oil successfully boosts global GDP & PMI’s in Q2/Q3, allowing Fed hikes in Q4. Bond yields would soar in H1 on this outcome. Defeat, no recovery, and currency wars, debt default and deficit financing become macro realities.

A New Theory Of Energy And The Economy, Part 2 - The Long-Term GDP-Energy Tie

In Part 1, we described the world’s economy as one that is based on energy. The design of the system is such that the economy can only grow; shrinkage tends to cause collapse. If this view of the situation is correct, then we need an ever-rising amount of inexpensive energy to keep the system going. We have gone from trying to grow the world economy on oil, to trying to grow the world economy on coal. Both of these approaches have “hit walls”.  Now we have practically nowhere to go.

3 Things - The 5.6% Lie, Dividend Cuts, Valuation

We can certainly "hope" that the markets will continue to march endlessly higher. However, "hope" has never been an effective portfolio management strategy. Considering that the decline in oil prices is supposed to good for the consumer, even though personal spending declined in the most recently reported period, the decline in dividends will certainly have a negative effect on those depending on those dividends. The current detachment between spending and the stock market will likely be corrected rather harshly at some point.

"Investors Are Now Playing An Epic Game Of Chicken"

"Central bank polices have ruptured the proper functioning of capital markets. Some investors myopically believe that 'money printing needs a home' and that it will end up in equities (the asset class with upside). However, such a belief needs to include a deep faith in the central bank’s abilities to navigate a soft landing. History is not on their side. Investors pouring into equities might be playing an epic game of chicken."

RadioShack Files For Bankruptcy

As credit markets have been indicating for 15 months, 94-year-old consumer-electronics chain RadioShack has finally pulled the ripcord...

*RADIOSHACK FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION AS LOSSES MOUNT
*RADIOSHACK WILTS UNDER BIG-BOX, ONLINE COMPETITION

RadioShack lists $1.2bn in assets and $1.38bn in debt. Additionally, Bloomberg reports that a post-bankruptcy deal is being worked on with Sprint.

January Payrolls Have Missed Expectations 9 Of The Last 10 Times

The US chief analyst of Nordea, Johnny Bo Jakobsen, points out a curious statistical finding: in the past decade, consensus forecast over-estimated January reading on 9 out of 10 occasions. As the chart below shows, the average overoptimistic consensus miss for January is just about 50K, with the last time consensus was lower than the final result taking place in 2012, and before that, one has to go all the way back to 2003 for the second payrolls "beat".

CME Hikes Silver, Brent, RBOB Margins

In case algos still haven't gotten the message to jump all aboard into the S&P, here comes the CME with a gntle nudge in the form of 90 pages of margin hikes including Brent, RBOB and, just in case there is still anyone who wishes to trade paper precious metals against the BIS, silver. In fact, at first glance it appears the only future  whose margin was not hiked was stocks: apparently stocks are never volatile enough for a margin hike.

Hong Kong Is Doomed! Foolishly Lowers, Eliminates Taxes To Stimulate Economy

The Hong Kong government is so foolish that one official said: "There is a need to stimulate the city’s domestic consumption by introducing measures to leave more cash in the hands of the public." What are you talking about, man? Everyone knows that you stimulate the economy by increasing government spending, not reducing it and just leaving the people to decide what they’re going to spend it on. It’s insane.

Twitter Beats Adjusted Earnings, Misses On Users: Stock Dumps Then Jumps

On the surface, Twitter's Q4 numbers were good, with the company clocking in $479MM in revenue and $0.12 in EPS on consensus estimates of $454MM and $0.06. Of course, on a GAAP basis things were much uglier, with the company reported a loss per share of $0.20 cents in Q4, and a net loss of $577.8 million for 2014. However, as everyone knows, TWTR's value is not about its numbers, or rather adjusted numbers, but its user growth: after all the company has about a billion monthly active users it needs to catch up in order to compete with Facebook in total user engagement. And it was here that the company stumbled.

The Great PE Multiple Expansion Of 2011-2014: Why The Market Must Eventually Crater

The earnings season is all over except for the shouting, but the outcome doesn’t remotely validate Wall Street’s happy times narrative. Reported Q4 earnings for the S&P 500 companies (with about two-thirds reporting) stand at $25.02 per share compared to $26.48 in the year ago quarter. That’s right. So far Q4 profits are down 5% but shrinking corporate profits is something that you most definitely have not heard about on bubble vision. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We have had a tremendous inflation of PE multiples during the last three years in anticipation, apparently, of the US economy hitting escape velocity and the overall global economy continuing to power onwards and upwards. As is evident from the financial news and “incoming” data, however, that presumption is not remotely correct.

Spot The Gold One Out

The chart below, which presents not only the total amount of sovereign gold holdings, but indicates the percentage of the monetary base backed by gold reserves, shows something rather stunning.

Dollar Tumbles On Sudden Stop Hunt

For the 2nd time this week, the most-crowded trade in the world is getting exorcised. Just as we saw on Tuesday, The US Dollar is getting monkey-hammered lower driven by heavy buying of EUR (and a stop-run at 1.1500). CAD is also well bid (back under 1.24 against the USD). JPY is the only major that is ignoring this USD dump and is lower on the day... supporting the fundamentals of equity confidence.

Russia Deploys Nuclear ICBM Launchers On Combat Patrol

Perhaps it is a coincidence that a day before John Kerry's arrival in Kiev (a visit which "coincided" with a 35% devaluation of the local currency) where among other things, he was supposed to discuss the possibility of official (as opposed to unofficial) deliveries of US "lethal support" to the civil war torn and now hyperinflation country, that Russia decided to put its nuclear ICBMs on combat patrol missions in various Russian regions. Specifically, according to Tass, "About 700 units of military equipment, including launchers are deployed in the positioning areas in the Tver, Ivanovo, Kirov, Irkutsk regions, as well as in Altai Territory and the Mari El republic."