The Greater Abomination: Washington's Lies About TARP's "Success" Are Worse Than The Original Bailouts, Part ISubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/23/2014 - 11:38
The mainstream economics narrative is so far down the monetary rabbit hole that the blinding clarity of the chart below has no chance whatsoever of seeing the light of day. That’s because it dramatizes the real truth regarding all the Fed gibberish about “accommodation” and “stimulus”. Namely, that what lies beneath its “extraordinary measures”, such as ZIRP, QE, wealth effects and the rest of the litany, is a central banking regime that systematically destroy savers. Period. TARP wasn’t “repaid” with a profit. It was simply perpetuated and morphed into a new form of destructive state subvention and malinvestment.
Narrative, we have a problem! No lesser oil-man than T. Boone Pickens made quite an appearance on CNBC this morning - stunning the cheerleaders into first defense then silence as he broke the facts on oil's collapse to them. Oil is down "mainly due to weak demand," he explains... the anchors deny, "I am the expert, not you" Pickens rages as he warns drilling rigs will be laid down on a very wide scale (just as we have noted previously). Arguing over 'peak oil', he calls CNBC chatter "bullshit" and laid out a rather dismal short- to medium-term outlook for the oil & gas sector - not what the cheerleading tax-cut slurping media narrative wants to hear at all...
In a larger sense, the Fed is already intervening in the oil sector via its zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) and its unlimited liquidity for financial speculation.Should the Fed turn the dial of intervention up by buying futures and oil-based bonds, it is not a new policy--it is simply a matter of degree. The intervention has been going on in every sector since 2008. The implosion of the oil sector is simply the latest outbreak of consequence following cause.
Following last month's surge to record high home prices, it is perhaps no surprise that for the 6th month in a row, home prices have been revised lower. New Home Sales printed 438k, down from prior revised lower 445k and missing expectations of a surge to 460k... missing for 8 of the last 10 months. However, the key focus should be on the epic revisions of the (by now useless) home sales. For the period May - November, the initial new home sales prints amount to 2.779MM houses. Post revision, the number plunges by 22% to 2.168K. There goes the housing pillar of recovery (let's hope economists are wrong and rates don't rise next year eh?)
Despite the collapse of inflation expectations in last month's UMich confidence, the push to 7-year highs was unstoppable (though missing expectations)...after soaring confidence amid Ebola scares and crashing stocks in October, even the surveyers were questioning the respondents' replies "it would be surprising if recent declines in household wealth did not reverse some of the recent gains in optimism in the months ahead." But sure enough, to maintain the magic, UMich consumer confidence rose from November's missed expectations to the highest since Jan 2007 at 93.6. Inflastion expectations for the next year fell from the preliminary to the lowest in over 4 years.
And just like that Q3 GDP, the one for the quarter ended Sept.30, was revised from 3.9% (which in turn was revised higher from 3.5%) to a mindblowing 5% - the highest print since Q3 2003 when GDP rose by 6.9%. This was above the highest Wall Street forecast of 4.7%, higher even than Joe Lavorgna's. The drivers: unprecedented revisions to Personal Consumption which supposedly rose by 3.2% in Q3 as opposed to the 2.2% prior reported, and 2.5% expected. Consumption accounted for 2.21% of the final 5.0% GDP print: this was the highest since Q4 2010 when it rose 2.8%. In fact, everything was revised higher: fixed investment rose 1.21% compared to the 0.97% reported previously; private inventories were virtually unchanged after allegedly subtracting 0.6% from growth in the original Q3 GDP estimate; net trade was unchanged adding 0.77% to GDP and finally the government boosted GDP a little as well, contributing 0.8%.
Against expectations of a jubilant 3% surge in November, Durable Goods Orders slipped 0.7% - the biggest miss since December 2013. Perhaps even more worrisome, YoY Durable Goods Orders rose at a mere 0.3% - the slowest since the Polar Vortex. Across the board the data was a disaster, ex-Transports -0.4% (against expectations of a 1% rise), Cap Goods Order non-defense were unchanged (against expectations of a 1% rise) and shipments rose just 0.2% (missing expectations of a 1.3% rise)... But apart from that, everything's great.
So how did Walgreen succeed in boosting its aftertax EPS to beat expectations even as revenues missed expectations, especially with operating income in the quarter virtually unchanged from a year ago? The answer, as shown in the chart below is simple: WAG used the oldest trick in the book, and stretched its effective tax rate for GAAP purposes in the quarter to the lowest it could go.
- Christmas rally enters sixth day in Europe (Reuters)
- Downing North Korea's Internet not much of a scalp (Reuters)
- North Korean Internet Access Restored After Hours-Long Outage (BBG)
- At U.N. council, U.S. calls life in North Korea 'living nightmare' (Reuters)
- Ukraine Cuts Gold Reserve to Nine-Year Low as Russia Buys (BBG)
- De Blasio Seeks to Heal Rifts With Police After Officers Slain (BBG)
- Oil steady around $60 on hopes of strong U.S. data (Reuters) - so it fell below $60 because...
- Australian Dollar Hits Four and a Half Year Low on Chine Growth Worries (Reuters)
A week after the Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, was unable to push through his nominee for president, Stavros Dimas, in a vote in parliament that needed 200 votes to pass, hours ago the second presidential vote took place and just like last week it again failed to secured the needed 200 votes, with just 168 lawmakers voting for the designated appointee. This means that in the third and final voting round next week, on December 29 - a trading day where bad news will propagate like wildfire in the absence of any market liquidity and means Kevin Henry will have to work overtime buying ETFs - New Democracy's Samaras has to find (or bribe) another 12 votes or else Greece is facing a snap election where the anti-bailout/anti-austerity leftist Syriza party is expected to win, and set off a chain of events that may result in Greece being kicked out of the Eurozone at least if the jitters seen during the summer of 2012 are any indication.
With the wind down of the record 2014 trading slump now in its final days (although judging by volumes throughout the year one may have a difficult time noticing just when the holidays began and ended), the already entertaining zero-liquidity market moves are sure to provide further amusement today in the context of the US economic data bonanza on deck, which includes Durable Goods, GDP, Personal Income and Spending, Richmond Fed, UMich, and New Home Sales. Beat or miss, all of the above are guaranteed to send the S&P to higher recorder highs because in the multiple-expansion euphoria blow-off top phase nobody cares about such trivia as fundamentals or the economy, especially when Japan and Germany are about to monetize all of their gross issuance. Just remember to occasionally keep an eye on the preferred rigging correlation pairs: the USDJPY and the VIX, whose every illiquid jerk will be followed by Citadel & NYFed's algos tic for tic.
A second senior airline industry source has revealed his belief that there is some sort of conspiracy behind the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. As The Herald Sun reports, Emirates president and CEO Sir Tim Clark made world headlines in October when he revealed his doubts about the fate of the missing plane, which disappeared early in the morning of March 8 this year. Now a second senior airline industry source has voiced his doubts about the fate of the plane, with the even wilder claim that the Boeing 777 may have been shot down by US military personnel who were fearing a September 11-style attack on the US Navy base on Diego Garcia.
The story of Ukraine's corzined gold just got far better, and far, far more bizarre and surreal. As Bloomberg reports, Ukraine opened a criminal probe after several gold bars at the central bank’s storage in the southern city of Odessa turned to be painted lead. The latest gold fraud involved a central bank employee passing lead bars covered with golden paint to the storage unit, registering them as gold, the Vesti newspaper reported today, citing an unidentified person with knowledge of the matter in Odessa’s police department. In other words, the central bank was actually conned into buying the gold-plated lead.
From the outside America may seem to be a land of endless optimism and confidence. But, as Sky News reports, an increasing number of Americans seem to think it is danger of falling apart, and they're preparing for the end. "We're not talking about folks walking around wearing tin foil on their heads,; we're not talking about conspiracy theorists. I'm talking about professionals: doctors and lawyers and law enforcement and military. Normal, everyday people. They can't necessarily put their finger on it. But there's something about the uncertainty of our times. They know something isn't quite right."