"Hollow Markets"

...and a trader who doesn’t pay attention to the modern realities of market structure and liquidity provision is not long for this world.

The Rise Of The Politics Of Fear

"In the past, politicians promised to create a better world. They had different ways of achieving this but their power and authority came from the optimstic visions they offered their people. Those dreams failed. Today, people have lost faith in ideologies. Increasingly politicians are seen simply as mannequins. But now they have discovered a new role that restores that power and authority. Instead of delivering dreams... politicians promise to protect us... for life."

The Inside Story Why The ECB Decided "The Markets Needed To Be Disappointed" And How It All Fell Apart

Here is what really happened: the ECB tried to engineer a modest market selloff because the "market needed to be disappointed", coupled with a modest rise in the EUR to give the Fed some rate-hike breathing room. Instead the market's dramatic overreaction in stocks and FX forced Draghi to not only panic but to publicly come out and admit that the only purpose of his Friday speech was to offset the damage from his failure to defeat the opposition at the governing council and to send markets surging. Which they promptly did.

JPMorgan Warns Of "Eye-Catching" 76% Probability Of Recession

Just days ago Citi pronounced, much to the chagrin of the status-quo-hugging Fed faithful, that given the turn in corporate profits (and concerns over margin sustainability) that the chance of a recession in the US had risen to 65% (and on that basis had a bearish outlook for US equities). Now, as other major sell-side shops jump on the equity un-bullish narrative, JPMorgan's Michael Feroli warns that in the past, a low unemployment rate, rising compensation, falling margins, and elevated durables investment have historically signaled an elevated risk that an expansion is nearing its end... and puts the probability of a US recession within 3 years at 76%. Of course, you do not need to worry, because Janet Yellen said this is not true (though failed to provide here reasoning).

The San Bernardino Massacre: Perceptions, Propaganda, And Blowback

As for the authoritarians who want to use incidents like the San Bernardino attack as a pretext to abolish the Constitution and institute a regime of total surveillance and outright repression: where was their vaunted surveillance system in this case? We didn’t detect this plot – and perhaps that’s because watching everyone, and collecting everyone’s information, blinds us to the real villains hiding in our midst. Then again, perhaps ferreting out villains isn’t the real purpose of government spying.

'Bankrupt' Mortgage Lenders Unveil The Zero-Money-Down "Friends-And-Family" Mortgage

Ripping straight from the pages of the "those who failed to learn from history are doomed... period" book of centrally-planned desperation to maintain American Dream 'wealth' by unsustainably levitating home prices, the government's bankruptcy mortgage guarantors have just announced "HomeReady Mortgages." These so-called 'enhanced affordable lending products - provided by the US taxpayer - enable 97%-plus Loan-to-Value loans to borrowers based not on their income (which is too low) but on "non-borrowers" like extended family or children! "Whatever it takes" to maintain the illusion of normalcy and hand out more money just reached peak Einsteinian insanity.

Will 2017 Be The Year Of The EM Corporate Debt Crisis?

"The liquidity picture for EM corporates in 2017 looks less appealing, due to a 38% yoy increase in USD bond maturities (to USD122bn) and lingering uncertainty on commodity prices (an important component of the corporate sectors’ cash flow) and FX (a headwind for domestic-oriented players). A further depletion in cash buffers and reduced appetite for certain portions of the EM corporate universe may lead to increased refinancing stress in 2017."

Broken Commodities Continue To Crush Investors

The point is, if you are going to attempt to catch a proverbial falling knife on a chart, at least do so only at a point you deem to be a “make or break” type level. Whether or not you can likely accurately identify a “make or break” level is another matter. The point is that, should that level fail, like it did on the CRB Index a year ago, you know the security is broken and it is time to walk away.

These Ain't Your Grandfather's "Jobs" - Why Friday's Rip Should Be Sold

The "Jobs Friday" ritual is getting truly absurd. So it can’t be repeated often enough: These artifacts of the BLS’ seasonally maladjusted, trend-cycle modeled, heavily imputed/crafted and five times revised “jobs” numbers have precious little to do with the real health of the main street economy. Indeed, the six-year run of job gains since early 2010 primarily represent “born-again jobs” and part-time gigs. In economic terms, they do not remotely resemble your grandfather’s industrial era economy when a “job” lasted 40 to 50 hours per week all year round; and most of what the BLS survey counted as “jobs” paid a living wage. Not now. Not even close.

The Beginning Of The End Of The Cult Of Draghi

Draghi’s Friday talk of a “no limit” ECB balance sheet must have Weidmann and responsible members of the ECB at their wits end. It’s the nature of monetary inflations that there’s always a need for more. Throughout history, it’s been ‘just one more round of ‘printing’’ or ‘just one more year and then we’ll rein things in’. But things spiral out of control – and there’s a lot of currency with a lot more zeros. It can end in hyperinflation, at least when monetary inflation is afflicting the real economy. Today’s strange variety is inflating securities market Bubbles. It will end with Bubbles bursting and confidence collapsing. Integral to the bursting Bubble thesis is that policymakers are losing control. Granted, such analysis has about zero credibility when markets are in melt-up mode. But perhaps the markets’ response to Draghi is a forewarning.

The "Real Stuff" Economy Is Falling Apart

Can an economy thrive if it doesn’t make or move physical things? Intuitively the answer is no, because most of the services either maintain the status quo (like healthcare and restaurants) or (like houses) consume rather than build capital. The US, in short, is engaged in an experiment to see how long an economy can function with services growing and manufacturing contracting. As with so many of today’s monetary and fiscal experiments, no one knows when definitive results will come in. But the data so far aren’t encouraging.