Some thoughts on why US auto sales are at their strongest pace since prior to the crisis, while EU auto sales are at 20 year lows.
- Scalpel in Hand, Chinese Premier Li Stirs Reform Hopes (Reuters)
- Obama Sets Conditions for Keystone Pipeline Go-Ahead (FT)
- World’s Most Indebted Households Face Rate Pain (BBG)
- SAC Probers Weighing 'Willful Blindness' Tack (WSJ)
- Draghi Says ECB Ready to Act, Calls for Investment Over Tax (BBG)
- U.S. Tops China for Foreign Investment (WSJ)
- Basel Presses Ahead With Plans to Limit Bank Borrowing (FT)
- Gillard Ousted as Australia PM by Rival Rudd (FT)
- Japan Economic Strength Will Show in Stocks, Nishimura Says (BBG)
Once again it is all about central banks, with early negative sentiment heading into Asian trading - following the disappointing announcement from the PBOC about "ample liquidity" leading to the 6th consecutive drop in the Shanghai Composite while the PenNikkeiStock index tumbled yet again - completely erased and flipped as Mario Draghi spoke, although not to explain his involvement with the latest European derivative window-dressing scandal, but to announce that he is, once again, "ready to act" (supposedly through the OMT, which despite the best hopes to the contrary, still DOES NOT OFFICIALLY EXIST) and that while it is up to government to raise growth potentials, growth would "partly come from accommodative policy." In other words, ignore all BIS warnings, for Europe's unaccountable Goldmanite overlord Mario Draghi continues to promise more morphined Koolaid (read record Goldman bonuses) to any banker that comes knocking.
The evolution of the Case-Shiller Index viewed in real time is like watching paint dry, but without the possible dramatics of runs... So far we are headed right down the middle towards the main area of stability, where inflation-adjusted house prices remained for about 50 years after WWII. You can throw an apple really high, but it's hard to keep it from falling afterwards. Clearly, if people are to get wealthy from real estate, Bernanke needs to keep blowing (or is it sucking?)
With Case-Shiller breaking records and even the typically less sanguine Bob Shiller noting (looking in the rear-view mirror) that things are not terrible in the housing market, it appears it is time to play 'flip that house' in these exuberant cities. While not as ready to pop as Yuma, AZ, these are the fastest year-over-year gains for the most 'bubbly' cities in 7 years. What could go wrong? Though, we note, you better have lots of cash because the mortgage market has effectively been slammed shut...
It was shaping up to be another bloodbathed session, with the futures down 10 points around the time Shanghai started crashing for the second night in a row, and threatening to take out key SPX support levels, when the previously noted rumor of an imminent PBOC liquidity injection appeared ex machina and sent the Shanghai composite soaring by 5% to barely unchanged, but more importantly for the all important US wealth effect, the Emini moved nearly 20 points higher from the overnight lows triggering momentum ignition algos that had no idea why they are buying only knowing others are buying. The rumor was promptly squashed when the PBOC did indeed take the mic, but contrary to expectations, announced that liquidity was quite "ample" and no new measures were forthcoming. However, by then the upward momentum was all that mattered and the fact that the underlying catalyst was a lie, was promptly forgotten. End result: futures now at the highs for absolutely no reason.
The spin-doctors are hard at work talking up America’s subpar economic recovery. All eyes are on households. Thanks to falling unemployment, rising home values, and record stock prices, an emerging consensus of forecasters, market participants, and policymakers has now concluded that the American consumer is finally back. Don’t believe it. In short, the American consumer’s nightmare is far from over. Spin and frothy markets aside, the healing has only just begun.
The good old days are back, those of the last housing bubble when money grew on trees.
- South China Sea tension mounts near Filipino shipwreck (Reuters)
- OECD cuts economic forecasts as eurozone drags on growth (FT)
- Switzerland frees banks to settle U.S. tax evasion cases (Reuters)
- U.S. Says Firm Laundered Billions (WSJ)... no, it's not HSBC, also: Free Corzine!
- Ardent conservative Bachmann to not seek re-election to Congress (Reuters)
- Russia faults U.S. over 'odious' Syria rights resolution (Reuters)
What states were the primary drivers of the 2006 housing bubble, at least right before the "subprime is contained" pop that is? Those who said Phoenix, California and Nevada you are in the right direction. We bring it up because according to the just released Case-Shiller data for March, these three same states, indicated by the representative MSAs of Phoenix, San Francisco and Las Vegas, are once again heading the charge in the latest bubble fed by Bernanke's cheap credit. What do they have in common: they were the three to post a greater than 20% increase in home prices compared to last year. Where was Detroit? Sadly it just barely missed the cut off with a far less bubbly 18% increase in home prices.
The market’s performance Thursday and Friday are misleading since there is so much destruction in many sectors globally. But the media depends on selling what’s going on with the DJIA. It’s just window dressing for the tourists frankly.
- Physical demand up: U.S. Mint Sales of Gold Coins Jump to Highest in Three Years (BBG)
- Paper demand down: Gold ETP Holdings Cap Record Drop as $17.9 Billion Wiped Out (BBG)
- It's May 1 not April 1: Fed Seen Slowing Stimulus With QE Cut by End of This Year (BBG)
- Another great step for Abenomics: Sony leadership to forgo bonuses after broken promise on profits (FT)
- High-Speed Traders Exploit Loophole (WSJ)
- It's peanut Breaburn jelly time: How Google UK clouds its tax liabilities (Reuters)
- Frowny face day at the Mark Zandi household: Obama Said to Choose Watt to Lead Fannie Mae Regulator (BBG)
- Russia’s 20 Biggest Billionaires Keep Riches From Putin (BBG)
- China Affair With Cheap Diamonds Heats Mass Market (BBG)
- China's emotional ties to North Korea run deep in border city (Reuters)
- US companies must use cash piles for capex (FT) ... and yet they aren't. Tax anyone who doesn't spend for CapEx!
- Chinese Way of Doing Business: In Cash We Trust (NYT)
If there is one admirable thing about the Case Shiller Home Price Index report (which sadly shows data for February so a nearly three month delay) is that even according to its authors, it is the Non-Seasonally Adjusted number that is representative of what is going on in housing. And, as the chart below shows, very little is going on as the broader price level continues to undulate in a very tight range with little real moves to the up or downside.
With the Fed and Bank of Japan buying nearly every government and agency security on the planet, even a completely rancid pile of bollocks might look and smell like a lovely red rose...
Another session in which the market continues to be "cautiously optimistic" about Europe, but is confused about Cyprus which keeps sending the wrong signals: in the aftermath of the Diesel-Boom fiasco, the announcement that the preciously announced reopening of banks was also subsequently "retracted" and pushed back to at least Thursday, did little to soothe fears that anyone in Europe has any idea what they are doing. Additional confusion comes from the fact that the Chairman of the Bank of Cyprus moments ago submitted his resignation: recall that this is the bank that is supposed to survive, unlike its unluckier Laiki competitor which was made into a sacrificial lamb. This confusion has so far prevented the arrival of the traditional post-Europe open ramp, as the EURUSD is locked in a range below its 200 DMA and it is unclear what if anything can push it higher, despite the Yen increasingly becoming the funding currency of choice.