The Economy Cannot Recover As Long As Inequality Continues to Skyrocket ... But Government Policy Is INCREASING InequalitySubmitted by George Washington on 07/06/2011 21:16 -0400
What do Hu Jintao, David Cameron, Warren Buffett, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Alan Greenspan, Robert Shiller, Joseph Stiglitz, Robert Reich and Mark Thoma - and both conservatives and liberals - all agree on?
In today's edition of Bloomberg Brief, the firm's economist Richard Yamarone looks at one of the more unpleasant consequences of Federal monetary policy: the increasing schism in wealth distribution between the wealthiest percentile and everyone else. While the Fed's third mandate is by now all too clear: push the Russell 2000 to the highest possible level, one can now suggest that the 4th mandate is one that would make Robin Hood spin in his grave: "To the extent that Federal Reserve policy is driving equity prices higher, it is also likely widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots....The disparity between the net worth of those on the top rung of the income ladder and those on lower rungs has been growing. According to the latest data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, the total wealth of the top 10 percent income bracket is larger in 2009 than it was in 1995. Those further down have on average barely made any gains. It is likely that data for 2010 and 2011 will reveal an even higher percentage going to the top earners, given recent increases in stocks." Alas, this is nothing new, and merely confirms speculation that the Fed is arguably the most efficient wealth redistibution, or rather focusing, mechanism available to the status quo. This is best summarized in the chart below comparing net worth by income distribution for various percentiles among the population, based on the Fed's own data. In short: the richest 20% have gotten richer in the past 14 years, entirely at the expense of everyone else.
The week's most concise summary of key bullish and bearish events.
Today's ISM manufacturing index will be watched by everyone for signs that America is reverse decoupling again (despite a 70% services-based economy), following the overnight barrage of ugly global PMI data. The median forecast has risen modestly to 52.0 even as regional Fed indices and other June data predicts a sub 50 print. And to baffle everyone with BS, we fully expect that the UMichigan index will come stronger than the median forecast of 72.0, even as the Conference Board consumer confidence index missed earlier this week. Oh yes: there is no POMO today.
According to crossing headlines, US Consumer Confidence per the Conference Board, which was expected to print at 10:00am, has come out at 58.5, on expectations of 61.0 and down from 61.7. It is unclear if this is due to an embargo breach, but this is the number for what its worth. Not even the HFT algos could front run a fully leaked number. The index components were worse on both counts: present situation was down from 39.3 to 37.6, while expectations dropped from 76.7 to 72.4. Naturally, this number only has an impact on the market when it show improvement so the embargo break will likely be promptly forgotten.
Even as everyone is glued to webcasts out of Athens, there will be some secondary data in the US, first of which is the Case-Shiller index, as usual about 3 months delayed, and thus very much irrelevant, and second is the circular loop of an indicator that is the Conference Board (it's up when the market is up, it's up when the market is down but when the respondents are Wall Street CEOs, it's up when stocks plunge but when gas is down a cent, and in fact, it is never down). More importantly, the third to last POMO in QE2 will be completed at 11 am. Lastly, $35 billion in 5 year notes will be "sold" to Primary Dealers.
The Great Recession has now earned the dubious right of being compared to the Great Depression. In the face of the most stimulative fiscal and monetary policies in our history, we have experienced the loss of over 7 million jobs, wiping out every job gained since the year 2000. From the moment the Obama administration came into office, there have been no net increases in full-time jobs, only in part-time jobs. This is contrary to all previous recessions. Employers are not recalling the workers they laid off from full-time employment. The real job losses are greater than the estimate of 7.5 million. They are closer to 10.5 million, as 3 million people have stopped looking for work. Equally troublesome is the lower labor participation rate; some 5 million jobs have vanished from manufacturing, long America's greatest strength. Just think: Total payrolls today amount to 131 million, but this figure is lower than it was at the beginning of the year 2000, even though our population has grown by nearly 30 million...The inescapable bottom line is an unprecedented slack in the U.S. labor market. Labor's share of national income has fallen to the lowest level in modern history, down to 57.5 percent in the first quarter as compared to 59.8 percent when the so-called recovery began. This reflects not only the 7 million fewer workers but the fact that wages for part-time workers now average $19,000—less than half the median income.
Markets around the world are still creeping higher, while economic fundamentals are crumbling everywhere. And there are more signs on the horizon that things about to make a change for the worse: collapsing cattle prices!
Today's Economic Data Docket - Case Shiller Hits New Double Dip Low, Chicago PMI Tumbles, But Consumers Very ConfidentSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 05/31/2011 08:00 -0400
Case-Shiller house prices, the Chicago PMI, and consumer confidence. Fasten your seatbelts: bizarro day will be fully enforced today with horrible data leading to market surges.
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While equities are credit closed almost unch from last Friday but at their lows/wides of the week, there was plenty under the surface that clearly signals derisking is rife and discrimination active. HY dispersion and CMBX tranches among others point to some cyclical turning points that do not auger well.
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Today's Economic Docket: Deteriorating Case-Shiller, Confidence And Richmond Fed, $35 Billion In 2 Year BondsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/26/2011 08:21 -0400
The trend in house prices appears to be worsening. We expect an acceleration in the decline in the Case-Shiller measure for February. Modest POMO closing at 11am will do little to offset the $35 billion in 2 Year notes to be auctioned off at 1 pm.
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