There are a dozen significant economic indicators that are warning that the U.S. economy is heading into a recession. The Dow may have soared past the 15,000 mark, but the economic fundamentals are telling an entirely different story. If historical patterns hold up, the economy is heading for a very rocky stretch. But most average Americans are not that concerned with the performance of the stock market. They just want to be able to go to work, pay the bills and provide for their families. During the last recession, millions of Americans lost their jobs and millions of Americans lost their homes. If we have another major recession, that will happen again. Sadly, it appears that another major recession is quickly approaching. The following are 12 recession indicators that are flashing red...
Those expecting a complete collapse in the Manufacturing ISM, on par with yesterday's slide in the Chicago PMI, will have to wait some more before the complete devastation in the US manufacturing sector sends stocks into the stratosphere. Moments ago the ISM Manufacturing report for April was released, printing at a headline of 50.7, down from 51.3 and the lowest print since December 2012. The good news: it was still above 50 and beat expectations of a 50.6 print by the smallest amount possible. The bad news: it is sliding fast. The worst news: the Employment Indicator, which came at 50.2, down 4 on the month, was the lowest since November, tied with the biggest sequential drop since 2008 in absolute terms, and the biggest drop in percentage terms since the Great Financial Crisis. Judging by the stock market response, the news is not as bad as needed to send the S&P to over 1600, at least not just yet (but the biggest 3-month drop in construction spending in 26 months may be bad enough to get us there).
While it is the labor day holiday in most of the world, and as a result volumes will be more subdued than ever (meaning at least a 10 point algorithmic levitation on no volume for the S&P), let's not forget that Benny and the Inkjets are doing their best to make everyone into a professional day trader (the only "wealth effect" transmission mechanism left) so markets being open seems somewhat counterproductive. That said, futures are already up on the usual atrocious economic data out of Asia this time. First China's official manufacturing PMI slipped 0.3pt to 50.6, coming below expectations, suggesting weak momentum going into Q2. Meanwhile, Korea trade data indicated weaker momentum in exports than expected, rising 0.4% on expectations of a 2% bounce courtesy of Abenomics, and hence a lower trade surplus, while inflation defied median expectations of a rise and slowed yet further. Finally, Australia PMI was an absolute disaster printing even worse than the Chicago PMI, plunging from 44.4 to 36.7, meaning that the RBA is about to join the global "reflation effort." Given that most markets in Asia are closed today, there is no market reaction worth mentioning, aside from the fact that the yen which was logically weaker overnight then ramped up into the European open and US pre-trading as it is, after all, the primary source of "beta" for the global stock markets. Finally, while some are dreading the start of "sell in May and go away" season, what most have forgotten is that never before has May been accompanied by $160 billion per month in central bank de novo liquidity (a number which will only go up- you know, for the wealth effect). Which is why our redefinition of this infamous phrase is "buy in May and buy every day."
Market is in desperate need of horrible Chicago PMI miss
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) April 30, 2013
Total collapse. That is the only way to explain what just happened with the Chicago PMI which imploded from 52.4, and printed at a contractionary 49: the first sub-50 headline print since September 2009. But that's not all: Deliveries, Prices Paid and Production all hit their lowest since 2009; Backlogs posted their tenth month of contraction in the past 12 months. And what's worst for the Department of Making Shit Up, Employment plunged from 551. to 48.7, its third month over month decline. Actually another way to phrase it: complete disaster. Obviously this number explains why S&P should have no problems crossing 1,600 today. Because for that other Department: of Propaganda and Creating money out of thin air, this means only one thing: the Fed is preparing to print ONE KROOGOL MORE!
The weakness in economic data (not to be confused with the centrally-planned anachronism known as the "markets") started overnight when despite a surge in Japanese consumer spending (up 5.2% on expectations of 1.6%, the most in nine years) by those with access to the stock market and mostly of the "richer" variety, did not quite jive with a miss in retail sales, which actually missed estimates of dropping "only" -0.8%, instead declining -1.4%. As the FT reported what we said five months ago, "Four-fifths of Japanese households have never held any securities, and 88 per cent have never invested in a mutual fund, according to a survey last year by the Japan Securities Dealers Association." In other words any transient strength will be on the back of the Japanese "1%" - those where the "wealth effect" has had an impact and whose stock gains have offset the impact of non-core inflation. In other words, once the Yen's impact on the Nikkei225 tapers off (which means the USDJPY stops soaring), that will be it for even the transitory effects of Abenomics. Confirming this was Japanese Industrial production which also missed, rising by only 0.2%, on expectations of a 0.4% increase. But the biggest news of the night was European inflation data: the April Eurozone CPI reading at 1.2% on expectations of a 1.6% number, and down from 1.7%, which has now pretty much convinced all the analysts that a 25 bps cut in the ECB refi rate, if not deposit, is now merely a formality and will be announced following a unanimous decision.
The week ahead will be driven by the heavy end-of-month data schedule. In addition to the usual key releases like ISM and payrolls and ECB meeting, this week we also get an FOMC meeting - though it will hardly see much more than a nod to the weaker activity data of late. For the ECB meeting a full refi but not a deposit rate cut are priced now. Outside the FOMC and the ECB meeting there will be focus on the RBI meeting in India, with a 25bp cut priced in response to lower inflation numbers recently.
With China and Japan markets closed overnight, activity has been just above zero especially in the critical USDJPY carry, so it was up to Europe to provide this morning's opening salvo. Which naturally meant to ignore the traditionally ugly European economic news such as the April Eurozone Economic Confidence which tumbled from a revised 90.1 to 88.6, missing expectations of 89.3, coupled with a miss in the Business Climate Indicator (-0.93, vs Exp. -0.91), Industrial Confidence (-13.8, Exp. -13.5), and Services Confidence (-11.1, Exp. -7.1), or that the Euroarea household savings rates dropped to a record low 12.2%, as Europeans and Americans race who can be completely savings free first, and focus on what has already been largely priced in such as the new pseudo-technocrat coalition government led by Letta. The result of the latter was a €6 billion 5 and 10 year bond auction in Italy, pricing at 2.84% and 3.94% respectively, both coming in the lowest since October 2010. More frightening is that the Italian 10 year is now just 60 bps away from its all time lows as the ongoing central bank liquidity tsunami lifts all yielding pieces of paper, and the global carry trade goes more ballistic than ever.
Non-Manufacturing ISM Joins All Other Economic Misses, Prints At Lowest Since August, Biggest Miss In A YearSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/03/2013 10:14 -0400
Spot the common thread: Chicago PMI, manufacturing ISM, ADP and now Non-manufacturing ISM. If you said all big misses, give yourself a pat on the back. Because in the New Normal, the recovery apparently goes backward and downward especially when funded by what is now some $400 billion in QEternity. Despite expectations of a modest decline from 56.0 in February to just 55.5, the March Services ISM dropped to 54.4, the lowest since August, and the biggest miss in one year, with the critical New Orders components declining by 3.6 to 54.6, Employment down by 3.9 to 53.3 - the lowest since November, and Exports down 4 with imports up 5 surely doing miracles for GDP. Why the big miss? Three reasons: the post Sandy rebuilding effort is over; the abnormally strong winter seasonal adjustments have phased out and now is the time to pay the piper, and of course, the complete collapse in global trade as we have been hammering for the past year, now that Europe is in the worst depression since the 19th century. But don't worry: there is a POMO for that, and for everything else to give the impression that just because the Bad Bank formerly known as the Fed will onboard every piece of toxic garbage that is not nailed down, one can safely ignore reality for ever and ever.
One of the hallmarks of the ongoing European economic depression has been the complete implosion in the continent's automotive sales (here and here) and as Reuters summarized last week, there is little hope of a rebound for a long, long time. Curiously, where Europe has seen complete devastation, the US has been surprisingly resilient, and even when factoring in for such traditional gimmicks as channel stuffing, performed most notoriously by GM, which in March had the second highest amount of cars parked on dealer lots in its post-bankruptcy history, car sales have been rather brisk which in turn has allowed the US to report manufacturing numbers which, until the recent PMI and ISM data, were better than expected. One does, wonder, however, how much of a factor for this has been the forward demand-pull impact of Hurricane Sandy in late 2012, when as a result of tens of thousands of cars being totaled in tri-state area flooding, consumers scrambled to car lots to buy new autos. Well, we may have found the reason for the recent disappointing performance in both the Chicago PMI and the Manufacturing ISM - the positive effect from Sandy is finally fading, as today's domestic car sales show, which posted a surprising decline in March, especially in non-Trucks which dipped to the lowest since October 2013, and the first miss in total light vehicle sales SAAR since October.
Typically, when the ISM-leading Chicago PMI has a horrible print as it did last week, the subsequent ISM response in a "baffle with BS" centrally planned regime is one of a stunning beat just to make sure all vacuum tubes are kept on their binary toes, and the bad news is good news, good news is better news meme continues propagating. Not this time: moments ago, the March ISM printed at 51.3, the biggest miss to expectations (of 54.0) in 13 months, in fact below the lowest estimate, driven by a collapse in New Orders which tumbled from 57.8 to 51.4, as the rapid deceleration in the US economy is confirmed in virtually every recent metric. The good news, and what will be used to spin the market back into green following its epic 0.2% selloff on the news, is that the Employment Index rose from 52.6 to 54.2, the highest since June 2012. Elsewhere, the 1.2% increase in construction spending came in better than estimated... on a seasonally adjusted basis. Unadjusted it had its biggest drop since July 2011 but who cares: we all live in a seasonally-adjusted "reality" in which only the daily record S&P prints matter. And now, with yet another economic miss in tow, we resume your regularly scheduled no-volume Federal Reserve mandated "stock market" levitation.
Summary of key US events in the week ahead.
Succinctly summarizing the positive and negative news, data, and market events of the week...
As the holiday weekend starts and quarter ends, what better time is there to go out on a new S&P 500 Index high? The new high was in the cards.
One thing bulls should worry about is a report that pension plans may rebalance as much as $29-35 billion out of stocks to bonds and other assets with the quarter end. We’ll see how that works this coming week.
In what may be a stunning development, today the market may actually respond to an adverse piece of economic news by going lower. The news, in this case was the February Chicago PMI which tumbled from 56.8 to 52.4, the lowest since December and far below expectations of a 56.5 print - the biggest miss in 11 months. This was driven by a plunge in New Orders which tumbled from 60.2 to 53.0, the most since May 2011, although virtually every other components was ugly: Production posted the weakest print since September 2009, Order backlogs had its ninth month of contraction in the last year, Inventories had their 4th contraction in the last six months, Supplier Deliveries were the longest in 15 months, and so on. Ironically, only Employment was relatively normal dropping a small 0.6 from 55.7 to 55.1. And for those claiming there is a housing recovery, we present this excerpt from one of the respondents: "a company we buy steel from, they also pre-cut steel for new home construction, back in 2007 they shipped 110 rig packages per week, today they ship 2 rig packages per week, and for carpenters, for one employed there are 15 unemployed." Housing recovery, sure. How about unleashing the millions and millions in shadow units either entering or exiting the jammed foreclosure pipeline, where millions live mortgage free just to avoid an avalanche of selling? Let's see what recovery you have then.