As normal, what takes pundits 1000s of words to pontificate upon, UBS' ever-ready Art Cashin succinctly summarizes in one paragraph. Critically, as we have noted previously (here, here, and here), he hopes that the election is not close...
Define headline heaven? Any time you can gratuitoulsy insert the names Art Cashin, Becky Quick and Paul Krugman in the same title. Like in this case. HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.
Last week, the misty eyed reminiscences were recalling the 25th anniversary of Black Monday. Today, we look even further back. 83 years back to be precise to this date in hallowed antiquity, when in 1929 the selling had officially begun, with what would ultimately culminate as the Great Crash. Cue Art Cashin: "on this Thursday morning, the market opened nervous but relatively steady. Within the first half hour, prices began to fade and the tape began to run late. By noon the tape was nearly an hour and-a-half late in reporting transactions in a market that had opened only two hours before. To speed the reporting digits were deleted and so "Radio" which had opened at 68 3/4 now showed on the tape at 8 3/4. But prices were moving so fast that the price was not 58 3/4 but 48 3/4 on its way to 48 1/4 before it would bottom in the afternoon at 44 1/2. To avoid confusion the Exchange published flash prices of selected securities on the slower moving bond tape." By early afternoon the cascade of prices caused an emergency meeting at the offices of J.P. Morgan across the street from the Exchange...."
Almost exactly a month ago, the BOJ surprised most analysts with an unexpected increase in its asset purchase agreement by JPY10 trillion bringing the total to JPY80 trillion. There was one small problem though: the entire impact of the additional easing fizzled in under half a day, or 9 hours to be precise. This was, as Art Cashin summarized the following day, Japan's failed QE 8. It is now a month later, and with nothing changed in the global race to debase status quo, the time has come for the BOJ to attempt QE 9. Or that's the case at least according to the toothless Japanese government, which has formally demanded that Shirakawa do a nine-peat of what has been a flawed policy response for over 30 years now, this time with another JPY 20 trillion, or double the last month's intervention. Because according to Japanese Senkei, it is now Japan's turn to pull a Chuck Schumer and demand even mor-er eternity-er QE out of monetary authority of the endlessly deflating country. In reverting to the Moore's law of failed monetarism, we expect that a QE 9 out of Japan will have the same halflife as QE 8, if indeed the program size is double the last. At which point it will again fizzle.
Yesterday, we presented Art Cashin's unique perspective on the US equity market's darkest day 25 years ago. However, as Art notes, there was another event 555 years ago that offers some insight into the current state of the world. On this day in 1457, the government banned that most sacred of pastimes - golf. Most notably, Cashin reflects on the eventual backfire from this government intervention - as always seems to be the case.
On this day (+1) in 1987 (that's 25 years ago, if you are burdened with a graduate degree), the NYSE had one of its most dramatic trading days in its 220 year history. It suffered its largest single day percentage loss (22%) and its largest one day point loss up until that day (508 points). No one who was on the floor that day will ever forget it. While it was an unforgettable single day, there were months of events that went intoits making. The first two-thirds of 1987 were nothing other than spectacular on Wall Street. From New Year to shortly before Labor Day, the Dow rallied a rather stunning 43%. Fear seemed to disappear. Junior traders laughed at their cautious elders and told each other to "buy strength" rather than sell it, as each rally leg was soon followed by another. One thing that also helped banish fear was a new process called "portfolio insurance". It involved use of the newly expanded S&P futures. Somewhat counterintuitively, it involved selling when prices turned down.
For those who watched last night's pre-presidential theater, our condolences. You were not alone, however. Art Cashin was there too and here is his post-mortem.
While last night's VeeP debate was all feces and frolics, UBS' Art Cashin and his 'Friends of Fermentation' recently drifted onto the topic of the Presidential Election - and the conversation was not what he calls "reassuring" as they move from margins of victory to result-challenges and banana-republic like street demonstrations and riots. The heart of this discussion is the acrimonious tone that has evolved and grown in our political exchanges. All the "us and them" and class warfare posturing sets a dangerous backdrop to a close election.
UBS' Art Cashin provides the clearest 'simile' for our current economic malaise as he remembers back 90 years... On this day in 1922, the German Central Bank and the German Treasury took an inevitable step in a process which had begun with their previous effort to "jump start" a stagnant economy. Many months earlier they had decided that what was needed was easier money. Their initial efforts brought little response. So, using the governmental "more is better" theory they simply created more and more money. But economic stagnation continued and so did the money growth. They kept making money more available. No reaction. Then, suddenly prices began to explode unbelievably (but, perversely, not business activity). Think it can't happen here? read on...
European riots protests are on UBS' Art Cashin's mind. Furthermore, Art notes that Spain has seen a fifth region (Castilla La Mancha) request a billion-euro-bailout (along with Catalonia's secession concerns) and Greece is hotting up. However, it is Egypt that is becoming an increasing concerning for the avuncular aristocrat of the exchange floor, as he fears the region's growing instability along with its potential need to devalue the pound may see the current 'sporadic outbursts of social unrest' spill over into more broad based protestations on the streets of Cairo.
As we observed earlier, Spain, whose YTD expenditures are now nearly 10% greater than last year, has yet to implement any austerity (dear Spanish readers, if your standard of living has gone down it has nothing to do with less government spending, and everything to do with corruption and incompetent politicians). Yet even so, the locals (who at 24% unemployment have quite a bit of free time on their hands) are quite unhappy, and as Art Cashin observed earlier, are "occupying congress" or otherwise indicating their displeasure with the world. Those who wish to follow the major Spanish protest in Madrid, can do so here.
Somewhat under-the-radar amid the US media's attention to housing data is the growing chaos in Europe. UBS' Art Cashin ensures we do not forget that Europe still drives the bus as he reminds us of the rise of the 'Occupy Congress' movement in Spain and the protests later today. With youth unemployment over 50%, it is sure that Rajoy will be keeping a close eye on this demonstration and other European leaders (and Greek demonstrators) will also be paying close attention. As Art says "let's hope the streets don't explode," especially given the NY Times noting that the number of 'hungry' Spaniards rose to nearly one million this year, and even previously well-to-do middle-class citizens are now dumpster-diving for food.
Curious what geopolitical developments traders are looking at? Here is a complete summary, in under 30 seconds, courtesy of the Chairman of the Fermentation committee.
Dick Fisher speaks: "Just recently, in a hearing before the Senate, your senator and my Harvard classmate, Chuck Schumer, told Chairman Bernanke, “You are the only game in town.” I thought the chairman showed admirable restraint in his response. I would have immediately answered, “No, senator, you and your colleagues are the only game in town. For you and your colleagues, Democrat and Republican alike, have encumbered our nation with debt, sold our children down the river and sorely failed our nation. Sober up. Get your act together. Illegitimum non carborundum; get on with it. Sacrifice your political ambition for the good of our country—for the good of our children and grandchildren. For unless you do so, all the monetary policy accommodation the Federal Reserve can muster will be for naught.”"
While the US is only now embarking on QE3, on Tuesday night, to much fanfare, the Bank of Japan, in sympathy to the Chairsatan, launched QE 8. As we reported, the entire JPY10 trillion incremental intervention was fully priced in and digested less than 9 hours later, confirming that monetary policy is now completely helpless to do anything but destabilize currencies for a brief period of time (and at every greater dilutions). Here is how this farce of central-planner hubris looked through the eyes of UBS' veteran trader Art Cashin.