We're gonna need more money-printing. Consumer Confidence dropped in April to 94.2, missing expectations of 95.8 and hovering at its lowest in 2 years. In fact, the current level is relatively unchanged since the end of QE3, despite all the recent surges in stocks as the post-2009 94% correlation between the S&P 500 and confidence is breaking down rapidly and ruining The Fed's animal spirits' party. Most crucially, income growth expectations are tumbling as The Conference Board suggests American consumers "do not foresee any pickup in momentum."
It turns out that ordinary people are not as excited about the US economy as those who are cheerleading minimum wage job creation and market levels being close to all time highs, and certainly not as excited as that group of people called each month by either the Conference Board or UMich, the two far more closely tracked confidence indicators."Americans are confronted with presidential candidates using the economy as one of their talking points, mixed signals from national economic reports, volatility in the stock market and an apparent end of sub-$2 gas prices nationally -- all of which may be affecting their economic assessments."
A yuuge surge in stocks - amid collapsing earnings and GDP expectations - appears to have enabled a modest bounce off 2-year lows for consumer confidence. The Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence increased to 96.2 in March from 94 a month earlier - but still below January's levels. The bounce was driven purely by "hope" as expectations for the future rose and current conditions dropped to 4-month lows. At the same time Gallup's consumer confidence survey plumbes new depths to its lowest since 2015.
Negative interest rates are a tax! Not a traditional tax paid to the government, but an expense paid, on savings. Years of policy designed to encourage spending and discourage savings is likely reaching the end game; the point where those exhibiting prudence must be punished to keep the game going. At some point, and likely soon, central bankers will be forced to realize the efficacy of lowering interest rates is vanishing and is hindering achievement of their goals. When this occurs a paradigm shift in the way monetary policy is conducted will likely occur. Investors that understand this dynamic, and what it portends, will be in a much better position to protect and profit from the asset price adjustments that lie ahead.
“Hiring has pretty much seized, unless it’s for a business critical position." Canada's economy continues to suffer from the inexorable decline in crude prices as hiring ceases and business confidence careens to crisis era lows. In short, "we're going to need a weaker loonie."
"The world has fundamentally shifted over the last decade, especially since we’ve emerged from the Great Recession... But the professional class has been very slow to understand what is going on, not just quantitatively but qualitatively in a new generational configuration that I call the Fourth Turning. They don’t accept the new normal. They keep insisting, just two or three years out there on the horizon, that the old normal will return – in GDP growth, in housing starts, in global trade. But it doesn’t return."
Everything is awesome... or terrible - depending on when you were asked. The Conference Board's consumer confidence surged to its highest since October 2015 at 98.1 (beating expectations of 96.5). However, Gallup shows economic confidence crashing back from a post-State of the Union bounce to its lowest since November 2015. Take your pick...
"... there is presently an enormous chasm between the point where self-reinforcing selling pressure by speculators is likely to emerge, and the much lower point where balancing buying pressure by value-conscious investors is likely to support the market. Because every seller necessarily requires a buyer, the enormous gap between the two represents substantial crash risk."
With the US closed today for Martin Luther King Holiday, global risk tone has once again been set entirely by oil, which opened sharply lower at fresh 12 year lows on fears of an Iran oil glut, but has steadily rebounded on the latest OPEC comments, and at last check both WTI and Brent were unchanged trading in the low $29's on muted volume. With Asian markets mixed, European shares swung between gains and losses, while the yen weakened as China stepped up efforts to curb foreign speculation against its currency. Crude oil rose from a 12-year low after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries forecast a decline in supplies from rival producers.
Futures Jump After Friday Drubbing, Despite Brent Sliding To Fresh 11 Year Lows, Spanish Political UncertaintySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/21/2015 07:55 -0400
In a weekend of very little macro newsflow facilitated by the release of the latest Star Wars sequel, the biggest political and economic event was the Spanish general election which confirmed the end of the PP-PSOE political duopoly at national level. As a result, there was some early underperformance in SPGBs and initial equity weakness across European stocks, which however was promptly offset and at last check the Stoxx 600 was up 0.4% to 363, with US equity futures up nearly 1% after Friday's oversold drubbing. In other key news, the commodity slide continues with Brent Oil dropping to a fresh 11-year low as futures fell as much as 2.2% in London after a 2.8% drop last week.
Heading into the Fed's first "dovish" rate hike in nearly a decade, the consensus was two-fold: as a result of relentless telegraphing of the Fed's intentions, the hike is priced in, and it will be a "dovish" hike, with the Fed lowering its forecast for the number of hikes over the next year. Consensus was once again wrong on both accounts: first the rate hike was far more hawkish than most had expected (see previous post), and - judging by the surge in Asian, European stocks and US equity futures - the "market" simply is enamored with such hawkish hikes which will soon soak up trillions in liquidity from the financial system.
In a recent survey not a single major central bank could provide an example of an accurate “a priori” recession forecast. The silence from the Federal Reserve, European Central Bank, BOE, BOJ and the Bank of Canada is deafening.
There is a high hurdle following October's surprisingly strong gain of 271,000 jobs. On the other hand, Wall Street is confident we would have to see a significantly lower number, somewhere in the 100,000 range or even lower, — and weakness in other parts of the report, such as the unemployment rate, hourly wages and weekly hours — for the FOMC to postpone a rate hike into next year.
In the face of a collapse in the conference board confidence and ongoing weakness in Bloomberg's consumer comfort index, UMich confidence rose on the month to 91.3 (despite fading from its flash 93.1 print). While baffle 'em with bullshit continues, we note that Democrats and full-time workers confidence is lowest in at least a year.