The disastrous blowback from inflating housing bubbles is painfully obvious: as housing becomes unaffordable, households impoverish themselves to "get in now before it's too late;" malinvestment (i.e. McMansions in the middle of nowhere) flourishes as housing becomes a speculative financial vehicle rather than shelter; retirement funds are sold designed-to-default mortgage-backed securities, and when the bubble finally pops, those lured into buying at the top are left underwater, owing more on their mortgage than their house is worth. But the euphoria and greed of the bubble mindset do serve one valuable purpose...
Pool: after statement Obama headed to the Vineyard Golf Club
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) August 20, 2014
"Today’s environment, however, is quite distinct, as seen in the chart below, where we lay out the GMO seven-year forecasts in a volatility (an imperfect shorthand for risk) versus return format for the traditional asset classes, or betas. This beta desert is so challenging because not only are there no asset classes that we believe are priced to deliver 5% real return (the red line), there is also no safe place to hide and wait (the green circle)." - GMO
While it is not clear what President Obama will discuss this morning in his daily dictation; we suspect, on the heels of yesterday's gruesome American journalist beheading video from ISIS, that he will explain why 'humanitarian' airstrikes in Iraq will continue until morale improves. Perhaps he will re-dip his toe back into the ongoing Ferguson riots - noting his right hand man Holder is on the case? Or finally, perhaps he will opine on the surge in US stocks recently as proof America is beating Putin back? As a reminder, the President is back in Martha's Vineyard...
Reports are coming in that, following Russian ministry urging this morning that the humanitarian mission start as soon as possible (following ongoing Ukrainian attacks on Donetsk and Eastern Ukraine), that the white humanitarian trucks of the Russian convoy are crossing the border into Ukraine customs.
Sanctions blowback? Russian food safety watchdog Rospotrebnadzor has ordered the closure of four McDonalds restaurants in Moscow, according to Reuters, due to "numerous sanitary breaches."
*MOSCOW TEMPORARILY CLOSES SEVERAL MCDONALD'S RESTAURANTS
This was not entirely a surprise since Russia had previously raised concerns over McDonalds cheese and was angered when the fast-food restaurant ceased operations in Crimea. This also comes on the heels of McDonalds problems in China and Japan over food supply issues. It appears the "tangible losses" Putin promised, are beginning.
The algos and chart traders are making another run at 2000 on the S&P 500, attempting to convince the wary investor one more time that buying on the dips is a no brainer. And in that proposition they are, ironically, correct. To buy this utterly manipulated market at these nosebleed valuation levels is about as brainless of an undertaking as is imaginable.
For most (practically all) Americans, this is officially the worst recovery ever. As we pointed out previously, wage growth has never been slower in a post World War II recovery. However, not everyone is hurting...
*GOLDMAN SACHS SAID TO RAISE JUNIOR STAFF'S SALARIES ABOUT 20%
This comes just weeks after Morgan Stanley announced it would raise junior banker salaries by 25%. It appears President Obama's hopes for 'fair, livable' minimum wage is being heeded by the banking community - good patriots, they are.
In October 2008, the month after Lehman failed and the Great Recession started, industrial bellwether Caterpillar underwent a series of 19 consecutive, record, declines in Global dealer retail sales declines, finally emerging from its unprecedented funk in May of 2010, just in time to celebrate the start of financial and economic Greece's collapse which ended with a sovereign default. Well, as of July 2014, that record is no longer valid, because starting with a -1% drop in Global retail sales in December 2012, CAT has now posted a new record of 20 consecutive global delaer retail sales declines, after a -9% Y/Y print for the month of July.
While the world awaits the test results from an Ebola suspect in Sacramento to learn if Ebola has now officially entered the US, the epidemic in Africa has now drifted away from the confines of its original hotspots of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and after spreading to Africa's most populous nation Nigeria, and the third most populated city in the world, Lagos, it appears to have just entered the second largest country in Africa by area, and fourth most populous African nation: the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
It appears Sen. Orin Hatch's comment that "everything from this ill-conceived tax's structure to its implementation has been a disaster," are coming true. As AP reports, an "Obamacare" tax on medical devices is falling short of its revenue target because thousands of companies aren't paying it, according to a government audit released Tuesday. An audit found the IRS received only 5,107 returns (against expectations of over 9,000) with a 24% shortfall in revenues. The tax is projected to generate $29 billion over the coming decade, so a 24 percent shortfall - if it were sustained - would be significant.
With the Ebola epidemic raging in west-Africa, and increasingly more countries paranoid, with good reason, the epidemic may enter to their borders, the worst case scenario so far for the US has been avoided: namely an Ebola patient zero arriving on US shores. That may have changed overnight when CBS13 reported that a patient admitted to Kaiser Permanente may have been exposed to the Ebola virus, and test are currently being done to determine whether the virus is present. Shortly thereafter, the California Department of Public Health released a statement late Tuesday saying it had no confirmed cases of Ebola in the state, but that a patient it describes as low-risk was being tested in Sacramento.