Following last month's exuberant catch-up to the Conference Board confidence, UMich confidence surged to cycle highs (helped by Ebola panic and the worst stock maket turmoil in years). At 86.4, handily beating the 84.0 expectations - this is the highest confidence since July 2007. This is the biggest beat of expectations since April 2013 as current conditions were flat but the outlook for the future (hope) surged to 78.4 - highest in 2 years.
If the last three days all started with a rout in futures before the US market open only to ramp higher all day, today it may well be the opposite, when shortly after Europe opened it was the ECB's turn to talk stocks higher, when literally within minutes of the European market's open, ECB's Coeure said that:
- COEURE SAYS ECB WILL START WITHIN DAYS TO BUY ASSETS
Which was today's code word for all is clear, and within minutes US futures, which until that moment had languished unchanged, soared by 25 points. So will today be more of the same and whatever early action was directed by the central bankers will be faded into a weekend in which only more bad news can come out of Ebola-land?
As if to rub salt into the wounds of Europe's death by a thousand-downgrades, Goldman Sachs followed up Germany's decision to drastically cut its growth outlook for 2014 (+1.2% from +1.8%) and 2015 (+1.3% from +2.0%) by slashing its forecast for Europe in Q3 to a triple-dip recessionary -0.15% GDP growth. This is dramatically below an "over-optimistic" consensus of +0.35% as incoming data is notably weaker than expected. The DAX remains well below the crucial 9,000 level (having plunged early in the European session) and bund yields have collapsed to new record lows.
Today US activity will be very light given the Columbus Day holiday. As DB summarizes, we have a relatively quiet day for data watchers today but the calendar will pick up tomorrow and beyond with a big focus on inflation numbers amongst other things. Indeed tomorrow will see the release of Germany’s ZEW survey alongside CPI prints from the UK, France and Spain. Wednesday’s data highlights will include the US retail sales for September, the Fed’s Beige Book, CPI readings from China and Germany, US PPI, and the NY Fed Empire State survey. Draghi will speak twice on Wednesday which could also be a source for headlines. On Thursday, we will get Industrial Production stats and the Philly Fed Survey from the US on top of the usual weekly jobless claims. European CPI will also be released on Wednesday. We have the first reading of October’s UofM Consumer Sentiment on Friday along with US building permits/housing starts. Yellen’s speech at the Boston Fed Conference on Friday (entitled “Inequality of Economic Opportunity”) will also be closely followed.
Global economic growth remains weak and vulnerable and the global financial system remains very fragile. The ebola virus has the potential to be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back.
Stocks and commodities fell globally today due to concerns about the spread of Ebola and declining economic growth. Precious metals bounced from near multi month lows.
Every quarter we take a break from all the standard economic indicators to look at a range of alternative data. The purpose here is to pose the question: “Does the consensus view of the U.S. economy square with what real people do in their day to day lives?” Overall, the news from “Off the Grid” challenges the notion that the U.S. economy is on solid ground and accelerating. Inching forward, yes... But not much more.
The decline followed reports of one confirmed ebola case in Texas. That case has started to make people nervous; additional reports of Ebola cases could create an environment where the travel and hospitality industries would once again see weaker performance.
Despite Mark Zandi's promises that all is well in the US economy, ADP had dropped (and missed) two months in a row prior to today's print but a very small rise and beat this month (213k vs 205k expected and 205k previous) shows some stability. Of note is that this print is no better than the average ADP job change over the last four years. On the bright side small businesses add the most jobs while medium-sized businesses added the least. Of potential note to this somewhat 'meh' jobs data, yesterday's Consumer Confidence data showed a disappointing plunge in Jobs-Plentiful vs Jobs-Not-Plentiful which suggests Friday's all-important payrolls print may not be as exuberant as expected.
A quick anecdote that should quickly confirm just how broken everything is: earlier today MarkIt reported European manufacturing data that was atrocious, with both German and European PMIs tumbling to levels not seen since mid-2013, and with Europe's growth dynamo now in a contraction phase clearly signalling what has been long overdue: a European triple dip recession. So what happens? Moments later Germany sells €4.1 billion in 10 Year paper at a record low yield below 1%.... even as the Bundesbank had to retain a whopping 17.84% of the auction, the highest since June, with only €4.663 Bn in bids for the €5 Bn target, the first miss since May 21. So hurray for the central banks, boo for the economy, and as for that mythical creature, once known as bond vigilantes, our condolences: good luck figuring out what the hell just happened, and good luck recalling what a free market is.
If the European triple-dip alert was barely glowing a muted red until this morning, then following the latest German PMI data, which tumbled to 49.9 from 50.3, below the 50.3 consensus, and is the first contractionary print in 15 months, then they are now screaming a bright burgundy. And while the European recession has now clearly made its way to the core, it wasn't just Germany: French PMI continued to be solidly in a contracting phase, at 48.8, unchanged from the previous month, the overall European Manufacturing PMI also missed and declined, dropping from a flash reading 50.5 to only 50.3, which was a 14 month low, with the average PMI reading for Q3 the lowest since a year ago, and as MarkIt summarized, "Eurozone manufacturing edges closer to stagnation." Have no fear, though, Mario Draghi and his monetization of Greek Junk Bonds will fix everything!
Despite stock indices hitting record highs (apart from small caps and 50% of individual stocks down notably), The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence narrowed its divergence with UMich confidence and tumbled to 86.0 (missing expectations of 92.5). This is the biggest miss since Jan 2012. The gap between the confidence of rich and poor increased but the gap between economic confidence and consumer confidence narrowed.
- Hong Kong protesters stockpile supplies, fear fresh police advance (Reuters)
- Protesters stay out on Hong Kong streets, defying Beijing (Reuters)
- Traders Turn Up Grilling Sausages at Hong Kong Protests (BBG)
- Ukraine Army Sees Worst Day Since Truce as Battles Flare (BBG)
- Islamic State uses grain to tighten grip in Iraq (Reuters)
- For Putin Ally, U.S. Sanctions Only Add to Anti-Russia Conspiracy Theory (WSJ)
- Coinbase Leads Move to Bring Bitcoin to Masses (BBG) - good luck
- Austria Cracks Down on Spies -- and Jihadis (BBG)
- EU Believes Apple, Fiat Tax Deals Broke Rules (WSJ); Apple’s Irish Tax Deal ‘Engineered’ to Boost Employment, EU Says (BBG)
It has been a night of relentless and pervasive disappointing economic data from just about every point on the globe: first the Chinese HSBC manufacturing data was well short of expectations (50.2 vs. Exp. 50.5), which was promptly spun as bullish and a reason for more stimulus by the PBOC even though the central bank has been constantly repeating it will not engage in western-style shotgun easing. Then Japanese wages, household spending and industrial production came in far below expectations - in fact at levels which suggest Japan is once again in a recession - which once again was spun as bullish, because the BOJ has no choice but to do more of the same failed policies that have made Abenomics the laughing stock of the world. Finally, moments ago Europe reported the lowest inflation data in 5 years, as well as core CPI sliding to just 0.7%, and which was, wait for it, immediately spun as bullish for risk as once again the local central bank would have "no choice but to ease." In other words, thank god for horrible news: because how else will the rich get even richer?
U.S. companies are taking a margin hit as they continue to cut prices amid intense competition, according to Bloomberg Briefs' Richard Yamarone. In this disinflationary environment, Yamarone notes that consumer-related businesses are raising red flags on the struggling household sector, especially those at the lower end of the income spectrum. Here are 8 CEOs comments to clarify the 'real' situation (as consumer confidence somehow hits 7 year highs)...
Confirming the preliminary print, UMich confidence for September's final priont was 84.6 (a small miss from expectations of 84.8). This is the highest since July 2013 and 2nd highest sicne August 2007. Once again, current conditions fell but the hope-strewn "outlook" rose surged. The spread between The Conference Board's exuberant confidence and UMich continues to widen...