Although the U.S. stock market continues to hit new nominal highs on a nearly daily basis, the U.S. economy bumps along at a lackluster pace. This disconnect has been achieved by a massive Fed experiment in monetary stimulation. Through the combination of seemingly endless maintenance of zero interest rates and the injection of some $1trillion a year of synthetic money into fixed-income markets, the Fed is hoping that the boom it is creating on Wall Street will lead to a boom on Main Street. In reality, this a very dangerous economic gamble of enormously high stakes. As we have seen in the recent past, financial bubbles can leave catastrophe in their wake.
Faith in the current system is as high as it has ever been, and folks don't want to hear otherwise. If you're one of those people who thinks it prudent to have intelligent discussion on some of these risks -- that maybe the future may turn out to be less than 100% awesome in every dimension -- you're probably finding yourself standing alone at cocktail parties these days. A helpful question to ask yourself is: if I could talk to my 2009 self, what would s/he advise me to do? Don't put yourself in a position to relearn that lesson so soon after the last bubble. Exercise the wisdom to look like an idiot today.
Just as in the 1930s the Fed fueled deflation by not making credit available, today the opposite seems to be the case – low rates are fueling deflation and preventing markets from clearing.
It would likely also deal another blow to the U.S property market and the fragile U.S economy. JP Morgan, Bank of America and Wells Fargo appear to be most exposed - meaning that either taxpayers will again be asked to bail out banks or more likely the coming bail-in regime will confiscate cash from depositors.
In a carry-trade driven world in which news and fundamentals no longer matter, the only relevant "variable" is whether the JPY is down (check) and the EUR is up (check) which always results in green equities around the globe and green futures in the US, with yesterday's sudden and sharp selloff on no liquidity and no news long forgotten. The conventional wisdom "reason" for the overnight JPY underperformance against all major FX is once again due to central bank rhetoric, when overnight BOJ's Kiuchi sees high uncertainty whether 2% CPI will be reached in 2 years, Shirai says bank should ease further if growth, CPI diverge from main scenario. Also the BOJ once again hinted at more QE, and since this has proven sufficient to keep the JPY selling momentum, for now, why not continue doing it until like in May it stops working. As a result EURJPY rose above the 4 year high resistance of 138.00, while USDJPY is bordering on 102.00. On the other hand, the EUR gained after German parties strike coalition accord, pushing the EURUSD over 1.36 and further making the ECB's life, now that it has to talk the currency down not up, impossible. This is especially true following reports in the German press that the ECB is looking at introducing an LTRO in order to help promote bank lending. Since that rumor made zero dent on the EUR, expect the ongoing daily litany of ECB rumors that the bank is "technically ready" for negative rates and even QE, although as has been shown in recent months this now has a half-life measured in minutes as the market largely is ignoring whatever "tools" Draghi and company believe they have left.
Concluding the trifecta of today's housing data, we present perhaps the most authoritative report on what is actually going on in the market, that by RealtyTrac. What RealtyTrac has to say is in direct contradiction with both the Permits and Case-Shiller data, both of which are now openly reliant on yield-starved institutional investors dumping cash into current or future rental properties. In fact it's worse, because if RealtyTrac is accurate, the great institutional scramble for any housing is now over - to wit: "Cash Sales Pull Back From Previous Month, Still Represent 44 Percent of Total Sales Institutional Investor Purchases Plummet Nationwide... Institutional investor purchases represented 6.8 percent of all sales in October, a sharp drop from a revised 12.1 percent in September and down from 9.7 percent a year ago. Markets with the highest percentage of institutional investor purchases included Memphis (25.4 percent), Atlanta (23.0 percent), Jacksonville, Fla., (22.2 percent), Charlotte (14.5 percent), and Milwaukee (12.0 percent)." And plunging.
Baffle With BS Continues As House Prices Beat And Miss At Same Time; Detroit Home Prices Go ParabolicSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/26/2013 09:26 -0500
It's a full-on "Baffle with BS" onslaught this morning. On one hand, the Case-Shiller Top 20 Composite Index rose by 13.3% Y/Y, better than the 13.00% expected, and the highest annual price increase since 2006. Unfortunately, the ramp is coming to an end, especially since the touted NSA data shows that monthly price increases have slowed for the fifth consecutive month, and stood at just 0.7%. At this rate the sequential price change in October will be negative. This is further reinforced by today's "other" housing report: the September FHFA House Price Index, which unlike Case-Shiller rose 0.3%, below expectations and in line with last month. So on one hand home prices are better than expected, on the other: worse. Clear as mud.
In fitting with the pre-holiday theme, and the moribund liquidity theme of the past few months and years, there was little of note in the overnight session with few event catalysts to guide futures beside the topping out EURJPY. Chinese stocks closed a shade of red following news local banks might be coming under further scrutiny on their lending/accounting practices - the Chinese banking regulator has drafted rules restricting banks from using resale or repurchase agreements to move assets off their balance sheets as a way to sidestep loan-to-deposit ratios that constrain loan growth. The return of the nightly Japanese jawboning of the Yen did little to boost sentiment, as the Nikkei closed down 104 points to 15515. Japan has gotten to the point where merely talking a weaker Yen will no longer work, and the BOJ will actually have to do something - something which the ECB, whose currency is at a 4 year high against Japan, may not like.
Are we all wealthier because the Dow is at ~ 15,000? Should Katee Sackhoff be the next Fed Chairman?
As Mike "Hidden Secrets Of Money" Maloney has said many times before, the economic crisis of 2008 was only a speed bump on the way to the main event. He believes that before the end of this decade there will be an economic crisis so historic that it will eclipse the crash of 29 and the subsequent great depression. He also believes it is both unavoidable and inevitable, because it is merely the free market releasing the stored up energy from decades of economic manipulation. As Maolney notes, "the best investment that you will ever make in your lifetime is your own financial education," and the following provides a succinct reminder of the top reasons to buy gold and silver...
If yesterday's collapse in September existing home sales was indicative that Housing is tumbling and it means the Fed will not taper until mid 2014 sending the S&P to a new record high, today's August Case Shiller, which beat expectations of a M/M increase of 0.65% with a 0.93% print, and an increase of 12.82% Y/Y, probably means that the economy is very strong and will send the S&P to an even newer recorder high, since both bad and good news send only one signal to algos: buy. What is amusing is that while the NAR's September fiasco was attributed to "concerns" over a government shutdown, the two month delayed Case Shiller print, which was for August, will be spun as no fears of a government shutdown in August, or something.
For those curious what Bernanke's market may do today, we flash back to yesterday's AM summary as follows: "Just as it is easy being a weatherman in San Diego ("the weather will be... nice. Back to you"), so the same inductive analysis can be applied to another week of stocks in Bernanke's centrally planned market: "stocks will be... up." Add to this yesterday's revelations in which "JPM Sees "Most Extreme Ever Excess Liquidity" Bubble After $3 Trillion "Created" In First 9 Months Of 2013" and the full picture is clear. So while yesterday's overnight meltup has yet to take place, there is lots of time before the 3:30 pm ramp (although today's modest POMO of $1.25-$1.75 billion may dent the frothiness). Especially once the market recalls that the NOctaper FOMC 2-day meeting starts today.
The 19% increase in the Case-Shiller home price index since March 2012 is widely thought to have boosted the prospects for overall household spending via the “wealth effect” transmitted by rising prices and cash out refinancing. But as Bloomberg's Joseph Brusuelas notes, claims that spending is about to snap back should be interpreted with caution.In fact, there is little evidence that the bottoming out of cash out refinancing is translating into rising demand for the moribund service or non-durable retail sectors. Perhaps a lesson for Ms. Yellen here?
When we actually start the Q3 earnings cycle for financials, watch for the word “surprise” in a lot of news reports and analyst opinions
If anyone had reservations about the monthly Case-Shiller report, or at least the logic in the methodology used by the S&P data collectors, we present Exhibit A, which should solidify any such doubts. Below we show Detroit "home prices", which according to the just announced July NSA data, soared even higher, to level of 90.8, which just happens to be a 17% increase Y/Y, and the highest print since August 2008. Bankruptcy? Pfft - who cares when the government is funding Blackstone REO-to-Rent made-to-flip purchases.