While it has been a while since Charlie Gasparino broke anything material, and is why we urge readers to take this news with a grain of salt, the report that CNBC's Gary Kaminsky would be leaving the Comcast channel and his role as capital markets editor and heading to Morgan Stanley as vice chair of its brokerage division would make sense, and would certainly explain the quite amicable relationship between CNBC, its various anchors, and the B-grade brokerage.
Consensus suggests India is a basket case while China is recovering. We think both views are incorrect and therein lies opportunities for contrarian investors.
Following yesterday's Beige Book extravaganza of mediocrity, ConvergEx's Nick Colas decided to do what the kids today call a “Mashup” – mixing different sources to create a new experience. Instead of mixing popular songs, he compared the Beige Book with Google “Trend” analysis for a variety of search phrases. Take, for example, the message from the Fed that the housing market is recovering. Google searches for “Get a mortgage” are, in fact, very near record highs and over 100% higher than 2007. On the Fed’s claim that leisure travel is picking up, the Google data is less supportive. On auto demand – an important factor in this recovery – the Google “Buy a car” trend data does look solidly higher. Finally, the job picture is still mixed. Google says that if you are unemployed in Chicago, drive to Dallas. The Fed’s Beige Book seems to concur. The question is not whether the Fed could engineer this nascent recovery. The question is “Can it last?” For that, we’ll need some new songs. And some fresh data in the coming months.
As Morpheus said to Neo in the film The Matrix: You still think that is air you are breathing?
One of China's wealthiest men, Zong Qinghou - founder of the privately listed beverage empire Hangzhou Wahaha Group - is hunting fort deals overseas as the WSJ reports, he believes “The capital markets suck in China.” Since China's stock market bubble burst (after running up from 1000 in 2005 to 7000 in 2007), it has never recovered from its collapse, loitering around 2,000 points ever since. Plagued by too many offerings (run by the government) and a slowing economy, WSJ notes that a common complaint is that the only investors who make money from China’s stock markets are those with inside information. The retail investors that fueled the bubble in the first place remain scarred by the experience, and have mostly stayed away, as Zong concludes: "When the ordinary people invest in it, the market should reward them with some benefits. But it does not." This has driven the desire to 'invest' or speculate in real estate - a topic we discussed yesterday - leading to a looming bubble there also.
When the Eurozone crisis first broke some four years ago, most analysts quickly and correctly concluded that the Eurozone was an incomplete monetary union; but, as UBS Larry Hatheway notes, neither rapid integration nor breakup were or are politically feasible options for Europe’s political classes. The 'Merkel-Draghi wager' then began with the determination that capital markets would not dictate Europe’s future: with growth-supporting fiscal transfers or debt mutualisation ruled out by national politics, the remainder of the story is about an ‘Austrian’ solution to cleanse Europe of excessive fiscal deficits, narrow gaps in competitiveness, and shrink external imbalances. The ‘Merkel-Draghi wager’, then, is a political gamble of historic proportions. It is a calculated bet that a policy prescription of robust liquidity buffers coupled with internal devaluation and fiscal consolidation will work. Equally, it is a view that the historical, cultural, economic, financial and political forces that have brought Europe together in the post-war era will prove stronger than those unleashed by the wrenching social dislocations associated with ‘Austrian’ economics that could one day threaten to rip apart the Eurozone. So far, the ‘wager’ is working in economic terms, or at least that's the hope.
It looks like the Dow Jones Industrial Average will be the first major U.S. equity benchmark to breach new highs, so ConvergEx's Nick Colas breaks down this closely watched measure of domestic stock prices noting that the Dow is a quirky “Index” – price weighted (not market capitalization), compact (30 names) and fundamentally global (lots of brand-name multinationals). Change just one name in the index, and the outcomes vary considerably. If Google had been added at the end of last year, we’d be at 14,330 – well over the old high of 14,165. But if the Dow committee had added Apple instead, the index would have closed at 13,475 yesterday, up less than 3% on the year. And if Netflix had been the lucky company added for 2013, well… We’d be saying hello to Dow 15,000, and then some. The point here is that the notion of a “New High” for the Dow is a little arbitrary, by virtue of the price weighting function and stock selection process.
No, American Banks DON'T Need to Be Big to Compete with Bigger Foreign Rivals
Every year over 1.5 million Americans go through some form of drug and alcohol abuse treatment, according to the last large survey done by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency of the Federal government. Only about half – 47%, to be precise – complete their treatment. One quarter drop out, and the remaining 25% either transfer facilities or end treatment for some other reason. In general, the more intensive the treatment – inpatient hospital care, for example – the more successful the outcome. The length of treatment varies, as one might imagine, based on what addiction is being treated. Heroin and other opioids take over 150 days, but the median is anywhere from 90 – 121 days. Needless to say, these are long days for anyone who goes through them as well as the family and friends who support them. Somewhere over the past few years, the serious term ‘Addiction’ has entered the lexicon of capital markets watchers as it relates to how central bank policies enable and distort the price of debt and equity securities. Essentially, the analogy is that markets have become dependent on both artificially low interest rates and the cash provided by liquidity programs such as “Quantitative Easing” in much the same way that a person can become addicted to a dangerous drug or alcohol. If you’ve ever seen addiction first hand, you know this is a spurious anthropomorphizing of financial markets. If you haven’t, well, just trust me.
The oil and gas game can be a tricky one for junior companies, but if played right the pay-off can be massive. At a time when juniors are risking a lot in volatile venues in the Middle East and Africa, Canada’s Aroway Energy (ARW) is planting its feet firmly in homeland soil and in conventional plays. Why? Because for the smaller juniors this is not a long-term game and blowing all your capital to drill a single unconventional well in a risky frontier won’t pay off. Canada still has plenty to offer for juniors, even though you have to kiss plenty of frogs to find the prince. The end game, after all, is merger and acquisition. In an exclusive interview Aroway CEO Chris Cooper discusses: How to make or break a junior oil and gas company; Why rail is becoming more attractive than pipeline transit; Why most juniors won’t make it big in risky frontiers; Why Keystone XL will get the green light; Why oil and gas prices will increase; Why the smaller juniors will stick to the conventional plays; How the asset market is heating up … and what is ideal; Why having control of infrastructure is key to success; Where Canada’s oil and gas industry will be in a decade; What every junior’s goal should be.
With the end of Asia's lunar new year celebration and the return of the US and Canadian markets after yesterday's holiday, there is full liquidity in the global capital markets for the first time in over a week. The currencies are mixed, with the yen, sterling and the Australian dollar posting modest gains, while the euro, Swiss franc and Canadian dollar have heavier tones.
The Chinese yuan has weakened for the second day after returning from the extended holiday and is near 2-month lows. After reversing lower yesterday, the Shanghai Composite led the regional bourses lower with a 1.9% decline. The Composite is approaching its 20-day moving average (~2365) which it has not traded below since early December. European equity markets are higher and the Dow Jones Stoxx 600 is up a little more than 0.5% led by consumer goods and basic materials. Of the main industrial sectors, only telecom is lower. European bond markets, core as well as periphery are lower.
Broadly speaking, we identify five factors that will shape foreign exchange rates in coming days.
While everyone is very familiar, and at times hypnotized, with the plain vanilla equity chart of stock prices which at least in the US are near all time highs, and where the small-cup Russell 2000 - long the object of Bernanke's affection - is already at never before seen levels, one chart virtually nobody has seen, perhaps the most important chart for the global capital markets right now, is the following from Goldman, which shows that while outright market cap for the G7 countries (ex basket case Japan) is near all time highs courtesy of the $15 trillion in liquidity pumped by central banks, the ratio of equity market cap to the outstanding value of debt securities underlying this equity is near all time lows!
The problem with “too-big-to-fail” is first and foremost the behavior of our beloved political leaders in Washington
Confused what the earlier released statement by the G-7 means? Fear not, because here comes Goldman with a post-mortem. And just in case anyone puts too much credibility into a few sentences by the world's developed nations (whose viability depends in how quickly each can devalue relative to everyone else) in which they say nothing about what every central bank in the world is actually doing, here is a history of four years of G-7 statements full of "affirmations" and support for an open market exchange policy yet resulting in the current round of global FX war, confirming just how 'effective' the group has been.