One month ago, we showed three prominent "red flags" that the US housing market was starting to roll over. Fast forward one month and we find that the adverse trends observed in early July have gotten progressively worse, and we can now add one more.
Today is the deadline for hedge funds to submit their Q2 13-F filings. Among the more notable changes was the previously reported 55% increase in Warren Buffett's Apple shares, offset by the cut in his Wal-Mart stake; Elliott's addition to stakes in security firms Qualys, Fortinet, CyberArk; ValueAct's new stakes in Morgan Stanley, Seagate; Tiger's exit of Netflix; Jana addition of Time Inc, and Soros' cut of his gold miner positions.
Despite this week's Macy's-driven retail sales exuberance - following BofA's suggestion that all was not well - the official retail sales print shows July was ugly... Retail Sales (ex Autos/Gas) fell 0.1% MoM (missing expectations of +0.3%) to the weakest since January. The headline data was flat MoM (dramatically missing the +0.4% expectations). The drop was driven by weakness in gas station and sporting goods sales (along with department stores... apart from Macy's?). Perhaps most worrying hjowever is the mere 2.3% YoY growth in headline retail sales - a level that has signaled recessionary conditions in the past.
According to Bank of America's internal aggregated credit and debit card data, consumer spending slowed in July, with retail sales ex-autos down 0.3% mom on a seasonally adjusted basis. As the bank concludes, "In our view, this sets up for a softer Census Bureau retail sales report on Friday – we would not be surprised to see either disappointing July sales and/or a downward revision to June."
A French government committee has heard testimony, suppressed by the French government at the time and not released to the media, that the killers in the Bataclan tortured their victims on the second floor of the club... "Wahhabist killers apparently gouged out eyes, castrated victims, and shoved their testicles in their mouths. They may also have disemboweled some poor souls. Women were stabbed in the genitals..."
“While we respect the firms’ judgment about what best serves their long-term competitive interests, we are aware of no market-driven basis for such an increase and do not expect to bear the costs of the firms’ decisions”
A few months ago we pointed out that mass layoffs were coming for bankers due to declining revenues and more difficult market conditions, and now we're seeing the first major wave of that come to fruition.
What was most disturbing in BofA's latest debit and credit card spending report is what happened with spending in home improvement stores: spending which traditionally is directly correlated to new home purchases and construction. It crashed, leaving even Bank of America speechless: "We do not have an explanation for this divergence"
While far less attention is being paid to hedge fund 13F filings, which show a stale representation of equity long stakes among the hedge fund community as of 45 days prior, than in years gone by as a result of increasingly poor performance by the 2 and 20 crowd, they still remain closely watched source of investment ideas but mostly to find out what the new cluster ideas and hedge fund hotel stocks are at any given moment. Here are the highlights from the latest round of 13F filings.
A few years ago we asked why anyone would exclude litigation charges from bank EPS. While we are still waiting for someone to explain that to us, we'd like to show an update on just how dilutive to shareholder value these "one-time, non-recurring" litigation charges have been over the past six years.
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.”