Big picture and dispassionate discussion.
As reported previously, the latest meme surrounding the D.C. impasse is that Obama is suddenly willing to compromise on a short-term, supposedly six-week funding and debt ceiling extension, on the verge of his latest talks with republicans at the White House scheduled for this morning, as previously floated by the GOP. Throw some additional headlines such as "Ryan steps up to shape a deal" (in line with what we predicted yesterday) and "The ice breaks; fiscal talks set", by The Hill, and "GOP quietly backing away from Obamacare" from Politico, and one can see why futures are in breakneck soaring mode this morning, driven as usual by the two main JPY cross (USD and AUD), the first of which is less than 100 pips now away from being Stolpered out. So will a compromise deal finally emerge 7 days ahead of the first X-Date, or will a last minute snag once again derail the (non)-negotiations? We will know quite soon.
The study is called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies and it tested 166,000 people aged 16 to 65 in more than 20 countries. It found that in math, reading and problem solving, American adults scored below the international average. We can’t say this is surprising, after all, the public allowed the big banks that destroyed the economy to gift themselves trillions in the aftermath of the financial crisis with barely a peep in response. You don’t have to be a problem solving genius to figure that one out.
For all expectations of a big jump in US futures overnight on the largely priced in Janet Yellen nomination announcement which is due at 3 pm today, the move so far has been very much contained, as expected, with a modest 90 minute halflife, as the markets' prevailing concern continues to be whether the debt ceiling negotiation will be concluded by the October 17 deadline or if it would stretch further forcing the government to prioritize payments. There is however some hope with Bloomberg reporting that some possible paths out of the debt impasse are starting to emerge with less than a week before U.S. borrowing authority lapses after Obama said he could accept a short-term debt-limit increase without policy conditions that set the terms for future talks. Whether this materializes or just leads to more empty posturing and televized press conferences is unclear, although as Politico reports, the stakes for republicans are getting increasingly nebulous with some saying they are "losing" the fight, while the core GDP constituency is actually liking the government shutdown.
China's predominant foreign policy has been cutting business deals, while the US policy has been one of military deployment followed by pressuring trade deals. Reception to the latter, not surprisingly, is increasingly being viewed as one-sided and not a win-win.
We last discussed the rise of the robot (as a a replacement for human labor) six months ago, pointing to the implicit (and large) deflationary bust that this entails and nowhere is this more evident today than in Australia's outback. As Bloomberg reports, the 400-plus workers employed by Rio Tinto in the remote Pilbara region (driving train-loads of mined minerals) are the highest-paid train-drivers in the world. The decade-long mining boom down-under has sucked up skilled workers, raising wages for engineers to drivers to an average $224,000 per year - as much as a surgeon in the US. This ridiculous situation has led, unsurprisingly, to the mining companies replacing them with robot locomotives.
We identify the six investment themes that look likely to generate alpha over the coming decade.
David Stockman, author of The Great Deformation, summarizes the last quarter century thus: What has been growing is the wealth of the rich, the remit of the state, the girth of Wall Street, the debt burden of the people, the prosperity of the beltway and the sway of the three great branches of government - that is, the warfare state, the welfare state and the central bank...
What is flailing is the vast expanse of the Main Street economy where the great majority have experienced stagnant living standards, rising job insecurity, failure to accumulate material savings, rapidly approach old age and the certainty of a Hobbesian future where, inexorably, taxes will rise and social benefits will be cut...
He calls this condition "Sundown in America".
- U.S. Government Shut Down With No Quick Resolution Seen (BBG)
- 12 House Republicans now say they’d back a ‘clean’ CR (WaPo)
- Republicans’ 2014 Senate Edge Muddied by Shutdown Message (BBG)
- Obama Shortens Asia Trip Due to Government Shutdown (WSJ)
- Fed Said to Review Commodities at Goldman, Morgan Stanley (BBG)
- Foreign Firms Tap U.S. Gas Bonanza (WSJ)
- Behind Standoff, a Broken Process in Need of a Broker (WSJ)
- Japan Awaits Abe’s Third Arrow as Companies Urged to Invest (BBG)
- Microsoft investors push for chairman Gates to step down (Reuters)
In the upcoming week markets will continue to focus on these fiscal issues in the US, now that a temporary Government shutdown past Tuesday is assured. Still on the fiscal side but outside the US, look forward to Prime Minister Abe announcing his final decision on the VAT hike as well as unveiling a widely anticipated economic stimulus package. Finally, fiscal policy also played a role in the Italian political instability with four ministers resigning from the coalition Government. The backdrop to these events is a rapid deterioration of the political climate after former PM Berlusconi was convicted of tax evasion by a High Court.
Dispassionate overview of the key factors shaping the investment climate in the week ahead.
The primary trend of the AUD is down. Bernanke has provided us the opportunity to sell the rally and profit from a primary trend continuation.
UPDATE: AAPL +5.7% on revised guidance
Despite concerns about supply (and 'change') the lines we saw on Friday and the disappointments in the UK have been dismissed by the latest Apple press release as opening weekend iPhone sales top their record at 9 million sales (compared with the 5 million sold at iPhone 5 launch and 6-7mm units expectations).
APPLE SAYS OVER 200M IOS DEVICES RUNNING IOS 7
APPLE 9M NEW IPHONE 5S AND IPHONE 5C MODELS SOLD IN 3 DAYS
APPLE SAYS OVER 11M UNIQUE LISTENERS USED ITUNES RADIO
APPLE SEES 4Q REV. NEAR HIGH END OF $34B-$37B, EST. $36.11B
The share price was up over 4.5% from Friday's sub-50DMA close in pre-market trading; but is fading back now.
Why aren't rising stock markets being greeted with wild celebrations? We think the study of socionomics may offer some clues.
The day when the Fed will begin the unwind of its latest QE program (for the fourth time) has finally arrived (as has the day when an impeachment committee will vote whether to ban Berlusconi from public office, but understandably that is getting far less press). In a few short hours the answer to all those questions of whether and how much of the taper was priced in, will be revealed. But while the Taper discussions will dominate the airwaves, as they have for the past five months, there actually were some news in the world that had nothing to do with the US Politburo in charge of capital markets and the US economy, located in the Marriner Eccles building. Here is a brief summary.