United Parcel Service expects to handle four million returns the first full week of January, up 15% from two years ago as online sales continue to grow as returns "represent a larger percentage of overall sales." As WSJ reports, more than 20% of returns happen during the holiday season - representing $60 billion in merchandise. While returns may be a boon for delivery companies, they are costly for retailers as returns, replacements and damaged goods represent about 10% of revenue. With return rates as high as 50%, one manager explains "'returns' is just a dirty business... Retailers are really losing their shirts on it."
On July 15th 2014, The Federal Reserve uttered the following warning to exuberant equity investors, "Valuation metrics in some sectors do appear substantially stretched -- particularly those for smaller firms in the social-media and biotechnology industries." 5 months later, Yellen Capital LP is half right...
"Blind faith in policymakers remains a bad trade that’s still widely held. Pressure builds everywhere we look. Not as a consequence of the Fed’s ineptitude (which is a constant in the equation, not a variable), but through the blind faith markets continue to place on the very low probability outcome – that everything will turn out well this time around."
Britain has inched out France as the world's fifth-largest economy thanks to what The Telegraph calls "a shake-up" of the national accounts this summer. UK gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to total $2.828 trillion (£1.816 trillion) this year, compared with French GDP of $2.827 trillion, as The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) said Britain's acceleration was boosted by the inclusion of sex and drugs to UK growth (as part of new pan-European accounting standards). Official estimates show prostitution added about £5.7bn to the UK economy in 2013, while illegal drugs were worth about £6.62bn. One question - how did they estimate it?
Presented with no comment...
During a state-TV "interview" which many are dubbing pure fear-mongering propaganda ahead of Monday's final 'vote of confidence', Greek Prime Minister Samaras unleashes his most assanine M.A.D. comments yet. "It's not a question of what's good for me or New Democracy. It's best for the country that there are not snap elections." Translation: you don't need no stinking democracy, trust us - your benevolent rulers - to do what's best for the Greek people (and by Greek people, he means 'unelected European bureaucrats').
2014 was awash with potentially status quo destabilizing 'realities' to the "we're back on track and world economic growth is about to reach escape velocity" meme... but time after time, the well-conditioned 'investor' was rescued... here's how...
Simply put: We've lived well beyond our economic, energetic and ecological budgets. It's time to change that.
Amid the heartbreak and sorry of the funeral of Rafael Ramos (one of the two assassinated NYPD cops last week), hundreds of police officers turned their backs away from the large screen outside the church as New York mayor Bill De Blasio began to speak...
The entire world is watching Putin play poker with the Western politicians lead by Obama and followed by Washington quislings in London, Brussels and Berlin. America's goal since the end of the Cold War has been to weaken by financial, economic and, if necessary, military means any real competition to its global financial and resource domination through the petrodollar and dollar world reserve currency status. We hope Putin realizes the US is not playing games here, as this is a financial and strategic game to the death for Washington and it's Western allies that have foolishly followed the Goldman Sachs/central banking cartel's deadly sovereign debt recipe and for growth and prosperity. The time is up; the debts can never be repaid and sooner or later must be repudiated one way or the other.
After two years of economic torture and financial destruction, Abenomics has finally claimed the Keynesian prize: real wages crash 4.3%, the most in the 21st century, and Japan's legendary savings rate, which peaked at 23% in 1975, just turned negative for the first time ever. Game over Japan.
60 Prominent Germans Appeal Against Another War In Europe: "It Is Not About Putin. What Is At Stake Is Europe"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/26/2014 - 21:22
Two weeks ago, as the S&P was preparing to surge on the latest round of all time high market-goosing algo trickery by the FOMC, 60 prominent German personalities from the realms of politics, economics, culture and the media were less concerned with blinking red and green stock quotes and were focused on something far more serious to the future of the world: the threat of war with Russia. In a letter published by Die Zeit, numerous famous and respected Germans including a former president and former prime minister write "Wieder Krieg in Europa? Nicht in unserem Namen!", or, roughly translated, "War in Europe Again? Not in Our Names!" As the signatories note: "It is not about Putin. Heads of state come and go. What is at stake is Europe."
Despite the decline in oil prices, the U.S. is expected to boost production by 300,000 barrels per day in 2015, up to a yearly average of about 9.3 million barrels per day, according to the most recent government estimates. But the number of oil and gas rigs in operation is already beginning to drop. The fall off is an indication that exploration companies are beginning to pare back investments. Pulling back on drilling may result in a lower future production, which could hurt the growth prospects of some oil firms. However, the slowdown in drilling activity is having a much more immediate and acute effect on a separate set of companies – those supplying the rigs.