Today, looking at the technical evidence that, so far, suggests that there is zero evidence to suggest that we are in a bull market. In fact it appears there is risk building that this is a completely broken market in its final inning. Yes we’ve had a massive rally off of the February lows, but the technical evidence is mounting that this may still be a bear market rally. Why? Because key charts remain decisively bearish and any sizable pullback could literally kill any notion of a bull market...
Yesterday the Federal Reserve released a 19-page letter that it and the FDIC had issued to Jamie Dimon, the Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, on April 12 as a result of its failure to present a credible plan for winding itself down if the bank failed. The letter carried frightening passages and large blocks of redacted material in critical areas, instilling in any careful reader a sense of panic about the U.S. financial system. The Federal regulators didn’t say JPMorgan could pose a threat to its shareholders or Wall Street or the markets. It said the potential threat was to “the financial stability of the United States.”
Something ugly this way comes. As we noted last week, despite proclamations that any weakness in US spending or economic data is merely seasonal or transitory, BofA's credit and debit card spending data revealed that sales were notably weak. Today we get further confirmation of what Retail ETF investors have been seeing for a while as Johnson-Redbook reported a 2.8% plunge in Same-Store-Sales - the worst start to an April since 2005.
The problem with forward earnings estimates is that they consistently overestimate reality by roughly 33% historically. The illusion of“permanent liquidity,” and the belief of sustained economic growth, despite slowing in China, Japan, and the Eurozone, has emboldened analysts to continue push estimates of corporate profit growth higher. Even now, as the earnings recession deepens, hopes of a sharp rebound in profitability remains ebullient despite the lack of any signs of economic re-acceleration.
While big banks blame the collapse in Q1 GDP on "residual seasonality" (more on that later), with BofA recently slashing its Q1 estimate from as much as 2.7% to just 0.2%, the reality is that something is not well with the US consumer. The latest proof of this comes from the most recent Bank of America credit and debt card spending data, which reveals that sales were once again down 0.1% yoy.
"central bankers seem ever intent on going lower, ignorant in my view of the harm being done to a classical economic model that has driven prosperity – until it reached a negative interest rate dead end and could drive no more."
Yesterday was the last day for hedge funds to submit their Q4 13-F filings, and the biggest reactions this morning can be found in the stock of Kinder Morgan which rises 9% pre-mkt after Berkshire reported a new stake. Autodesk also gained 2% post-mkt yday after Lone Pine took a new position. Several funds boosted or reported new stakes in JD.com while Jana Partners reported a new stake in Valeant. Both Icahn and Einhorn trimmed their AAPL holdings.
Let me be blunt: this next crash will be far worse and more dramatic than any that has come before. Literally, the world has never seen anything like the situation we collectively find ourselves in today. The so-called Great Depression happened for purely monetary reasons. Before, during and after the Great Depression, abundant resources, spare capacity and willing workers existed in sufficient quantities to get things moving along smartly again once the financial system had been reset. This time there’s something different in the story line...
This is the title of its latest piece looking at retail spending paterns based on its credit and debit card data: "Confusingly cautious consumer." Here is why BofA so confused by the cautious consumers.
My overriding theme and the central drama for the coming year is that unexpected events can take on greater importance as the Federal Reserve ends its near-decade-long Zero Interest Rate Policy. Consensus premises and forecasts will likely fall flat, in a rather spectacular manner. The low-conviction and directionless market that we saw in 2015 could become a no-conviction and very-much-directed market (i.e. one that's directed lower) in 2016. There will be no peace on earth in 2016, and our markets could lose a cushion of protection as valuations contract. (Just as "malinvestment" represented a key theme this year, we expect a compression of price-to-earnings ratios to serve as a big market driver in 2016.) In other words, we don't think 2016 will be fun.
Actions – including the state’s best-intentioned ones (giving them the benefit of the doubt) - have consequences, not all of them foreseen and some of them contrary to what was (we assume) intended.
It's official: the start to the holiday shopping has been a disaster, and it's not simply due to a shift to online spending.
The just concluded 13-F bonanza shows that "some of the world’s top hedge fund managers scaled back their U.S. stock investments last quarter as markets tumbled." Below, courtesy of Bloomberg, is the full summary of what the most prominent hedge fund names did in Q3...
There is a very clear distinction in which cities US consumers are doing well, versus cities in which they have been tapped out. For those wondering where the US consumer is all spent out, look no further than the cities at the bottom of this chart.
Behold! More shark jumping as BofA, Citi blame warm weather for weak October retail sales: "We believe abnormal weather patterns may have biased retail ex-auto sales lower in October."