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Traders Walk In On Another Sleepy Session In Search Of Its Volumeless Levitation Catalyst

Moving onto overnight markets, apart from China we are seeing broad based gains across most Asian equities. Bourses in Japan, Korea and Australia are up +0.2%, +0.2% and +0.5% respectively whereas the Hang Seng and the Shenzhen Composite indices are down -0.2% and -1.1% as we type. The gains in broader Asia Pacific followed what was another constructive session for risk assets yesterday during US trading hours. The S&P 500 (+0.38%) rose for its 5th consecutive day partly driven by better corporate earnings from the likes of GE and Morgan Stanley. Staying on the results season, we’ve had 70 of the S&P 500 companies  reporting so far and the usual trend is starting to emerge in which earnings beats are faring better than revenue beats. Indeed the beat:miss ratio for earnings has been strong at 77%:23% whereas revenue beats/misses are more balanced at 50%:50%. Looking ahead, markets should get ready for another big week of US earnings.



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Furious Chinese Rioters Beat Corrupt Policemen To Death

It appears, based on these extremely graphic images, that the Chinese people has a different way of dealing with corrupt officials. As Shanghaiist reports, a riot involving around 1,000 people broke out last Saturday in Cangnan county of Wenzhou city, Zhejiang province, resulting in the hospitalization of five chengguan, China's notoriously abusive and under-regulated urban enforcement officials. The alleged cause for the riots was the five's brutally killing a civilian. According to reports, the chengguan "hit the man with a hammer until he started to vomit blood, because he was trying to take pictures of their violence towards a woman, a street vendor." This man later died while being rushed to the hospital. Given the following images of civilian retribution; is it any wonder, the powers that be in China fear social unrest?



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"Riders On The Storm:" A Fictional Letter Explaining What Is Going On In Russia

Dear Gennady, ...So you see, Gennady, we are actually quite prepared to see the stock market crash, to see all the stock markets in the world crash, and the yields on our dollar bonds rise to whatever level. We are prepared for much worse things... The inevitable economic setback may result in some political opposition within Russia itself, but in the context of an escalating confrontation with Europe it shouldn’t be too difficult to cope with.... I hope that makes things a little clearer. Yes, it is a risky strategy, but a Europe dominated by Russia, or at least detached from the United States and disunited, is a prize worth risking everything for. Beppo is worth a crash.... Think about what I’ve said – some of it may come as a shock, but in the end, I think you’ll agree that it’s actually good news that the long tense period of waiting is finally over. We can’t win a conventional or a nuclear conflict, but this plan really might succeed. If not, well, we Russians are used to overcoming adversity.. Your Friend, Sasha



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Is The US Military Preparing For The Collapse Of The Dollar?

It almost happened in 2008... but as this excerpt from Casey Research's Meltdown America documentary notes, it appears the US military is preparing for the potential collapse of the US dollar. As Scott Taylor warns, "...if the carrot (of credit worthiness) is fading, and the stick (of military threat) is weak, that empire is going to come down in a hurry..." which leaves a serial economic mis-manager only one option to 'secure' the empire.



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How China's Commodity-Financing Bubble Becomes Globally Contagious

"Marubeni [the world's largest soybean exporter to China] is deluded in thinking that payments will come once the cargoes have sailed," is the message from an increasing number of liquidity-strapped Chinese firms, "If they take these cargoes, some could go bankrupt. That's why they choose not to honor the contracts." As we explained in great detail here, this is the transmission mechanism by which China's commodity-financing catastrophe spreads contagiously to the rest of the world. A glance at the Baltic Dry is one indication of the global nature of the problem (and Genco Shipping's $1 billion bankruptcy), but as Reuters reports, "If buyers cannot resolve the issue, they may also cancel future shipments."



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Monday Humor: 33 Uncomfortably True Charts About Everyday Life

If one picture can paint a thousand words, the following 33 images, from Danish writer/artist duo Mikael Wulff and Anders Morgenthaler, should shed serious light on the everyday struggles, irritations, and insights of their fellow Westerners.



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Shrine Visit Retribution? China Seizes Japanese Cargo Vessel (Over War-Debts)

We noted yesterday, Japan's decision to send an Abe cabinet official to the Yasukuni shrine (home of Class A war criminals) and Abe's sending of an offering, warning it will likely see retaliation from China. We didn't have to wait long. As BBC News reports, China has seized a Japanese cargo ship (over a pre-war debt). With President Obama due to visit in days, it seems the tensions between China and Japan may force his hand to pick sides.



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The Earnings Season: "House Of Cards"

Just like the hit series "House Of Cards," Wall Street earnings season has become rife with manipulation, deceit and obfuscation that could rival the dark corners of Washington, D.C. From time to time we do an analysis of the previous quarters earnings for the S&P 500 in order to reveal the "quality" of earnings rather than the "quantity" as focused on by Wall Street. One of the most interesting data points continues to the be the extremely low level of "top line" revenue growth as compared to an explosion of the bottom line earnings per share. This is something that we have dubbed "accounting magic" and is represented by the following chart which shows that since 2009 total revenue growth has grown by just 31% while profits have skyrocketed by 253%.



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"Faith" In One Chart

Another day, another downgrade in the expectations for US economic growth in Q1 (to a mere 1.5%). But have no fear, oh ye of little faith, for the hockey-stick of hope will refuel that exuberance by the year-end to an underwhelming 2.7% 2014 growth rate...



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John Hussman On The Federal Reserve's Two Legged Stool

In her first public speech on monetary policy, Janet Yellen made it clear that the Fed intends to pursue a more rules-based, less discretionary policy. This is good news. The bad news, however, is that Yellen focused only on employment and inflation. In that same speech, not a single word was said about attending to speculative risks or financial instability (which are inherent in Fed-induced, yield-seeking speculation). Without attending to that third leg, the Fed is resting the fate of the U.S. economy on a two-legged stool.  The problem is this. In viewing the Fed’s mandate as a tradeoff only between inflation and unemployment, Chair Yellen seems to overlook the feature of economic dynamics that has been most punishing for the U.S. economy over the past decade. That feature is repeated malinvestment, yield-seeking speculation, and ultimately financial instability, largely enabled by the Federal Reserve’s own actions.

 



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The IPO Window Is Closing Fast

With a multitude of equity valuation dreams hinging on the success of Alibaba's forthcoming IPO, the following chart is likely the most frightening one for many VC companies currently. As Bloomberg notes, it's becoming much harder for companies to close IPOs successfully with only 2 companies last week raising money at an amount within the expected range. On average,  the eight companies from last week priced their offerings 12% below the mid-point of their range. As one analyst noted, "investors have more or less said "enough"."



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Another Sign That Central Planning Works: Condom Shortage In Cuba

Going to Cuba is like going back in time. The country lacks basic products and services, many of which we consider staples in modern life. All of this stems from a system of central planning in which government essentially owns and controls… everything. Businesses. Property. Medical services. Anything larger than a bicycle. Teams of bureaucrats lord over the Cuban economy trying to manipulate and control every possible variable. They dole out housing allowances. They set manufacturing quotas. They control prices of goods and services. Nevermind that any high school economics student understands why price controls don’t work… and typically lead to shortages. That’s precisely what’s happening right now. Condoms are now at critically low levels in Cuba. And the government’s solution is to sell expired condoms from two years ago. It’s genius.



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Why Putin Is Smiling At The Bond Market's Blockade Of Russia

One of the recurring themes the western media regurgitates at every opportunity is that while the western "diplomatic" sanctions against Russia are clearly a joke, one thing that will severely cripple the economy is the capital market embargo that has struck Russian companies, which are facing $115 billion of debt due over the next 12 months. Surely there is no way Russia can afford to let its major corporations - the nexus of its petroleum trade - go insolvent, which is why Putin will have to restrain himself and beg western investors to come back and chase appetiziing Russian yields (with other people's money of course). Turns out this line of thought is completely wrong.

 



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"Most Shorted" Stocks Outperform "The Market" Five-Fold Today!

In case you were wondering where the ammunition for today's rally in US equities came from on a day of de minimus volume and no real support from JPY carry...



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Netflix Rises On EPS And Intl Sub Beat, In-Line Revenues, And Domestic Subs Miss; Price Increase

With revenues meeting estimates to the dot, and with largely meaningless non-GAAP EPS (because after all NFLX is valued on a 2024 foward basis), Netflix is choppy after hours as algos try to determine what is more important for them:the miss in domestic subs, which rose 2.25 million on expectations of a 2.31 million increase, of the beat in international (and very much money-losing although now expected to be profitable in 2014) subs, which rose 1.75MM vs estimates of 1.64MM.



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