News That Matters
Newly-upgraded Portugal unleashed a budget bombsell on Wednesday when it revised its 2014 deficit higher by some 60% after a failure to liquidate the predecessor to bailed out Banco Espirito Santo left taxpayers holding a €5 billion bag.
From Novotny, Coeure, and Jazbec, the leaks this morning have been clearly angled towards "do not expect any more Q€ anytime soon," so one wonders if, having seen the reaction in EUR weakness still whether Mario Draghi will try and talk these 'hawkish' comments back?
News That Matters
The aggregate Buybacks to Free Cash Flow ratio for the S&P 500 exceeded 100% for the first time since October 2009. The ratio hit 108% on a TTM basis at the end of Q2, which represented a 12.9% increase quarter-over-quarter and a 42% increase year-over-year. The 10-year median ratio was 72.2%. And that, in a nutshell, is why the market is tumbling today - the biggest buyers of stock in the past 2 years, the corporations themselves, just priced themselves out of the market and no longer generate the cash needed to push their own stock to new all time highs.
Today's Glencore implosion is a far greater risk to the capital markets and the global economy than Volkswagen: a few executive resignations, a few bribes to US Congress, and the scandal will be promptly snuffed. For Glencore, however, which suddenly the entire world realizes is - as we said in March 2014 - the way to trade China, it may now be too late.
- Pressure builds on Volkswagen CEO as emissions-cheating probe spreads (Reuters)
- Volkswagen Emissions Scandal Relates to 11 Million Cars (WSJ)
- Volkswagen Emissions Investigations Should Widen to Entire Auto Industry, Officials Say (WSJ)
- Germany's Bosch makes VW's U.S. diesel components (Reuters)
- Volkswagen scandal will have personnel consequences - state economy minister (Reuters)
- Glencore Falls to Record as Mining Shares Lead Stock Losses (BBG)
- Despite Slump, China’s Xi Jinping Pledges Economic Reforms (WSJ)
While Mr. Dimon's view - "Amerca has the best hand ever dealt right now." is certainly uplifting, it is a bit delusional. But of course, give any person a billion dollars and they will likely become just as detached from economic realities. Does America have "greatest hand ever dealt." The data certainly doesn't suggest such. However, that can change. We just have to stop hoping that we can magically cure a debt problem by adding more debt and then shuffling it between Central Banks.
We’re all Dr. Evil today, thinking that one million dollars is a lot of money, or that one second is a short period of time, or that we are individually smart or capable in a systemically interesting way. We use our small-number brains to make sense of an increasingly large-number investment world, and as a result both our market fears and our market dreams are increasingly out of touch with reality.
What was one "one and done", just became "none and done" as the Fed will no longer hike in 2015 and will certainly think twice before hiking ahead of the presidential election in 2016. By then the inventory liquidation-driven recession will be upon the US and the Fed will be looking at either NIRP or QE4. Worse, the Fed just admitted it is as, if not more concerned, with the market than with the economy. Worst, suddenly the market no longer wants a... dovish Fed?
"What scares me, or what worries me, is what the next downturn in the economy looks like, with asset prices where they are and a lesser ability of central banks to ease monetary policy."
"Every day brings another reason why the Federal Reserve should hold off before raising interest rates... First and foremost there was the recent plunge in stock prices."
The OECD is well aware of the possibility that a Fed hike could plunge emerging markets into chaos. Nevertheless, the time to hike is apprently now...
Who would have thought that decades of ZIRP, an aborted attempt to hike rates over a decade ago, and the annual monetization of well over 10% of sovereign debt would lead to a toxic debt spiral, regardless of how many "Abenomics" arrows one throws at it? Apparently Standard and Poors just had its a-ha subprime flashbulb moment and moments ago, a little over 4 years after it downgraded the US from its legendary AAA-rating which led to angry phone calls from Tim Geithner and a painful US government lawsuit, downgraded Japan from AA- to A+. The reason: rising doubt Abenomics is working.
The world today sits upon a very precarious point. One thing that’s not a “guess” is the way nations or economies have dealt with economic turmoil. History is far too littered with varying forms of “war” as not only the response, but also as the direct consequence of failed economic policies. Either of their own making or brought about by another. It doesn’t matter whether self-inflicted or not. The end game is the same: Currency war, Trade war, Diplomatic war, right down to actual combative kinetic war.