Consumer Confidence

All Eyes On Jackson Hole: Key Events In The Coming Week

The main event of the week will be Yellen's long awaited speech at the Jackson Hole 3-day symposium taking place August 21-23. The theme of this year's symposium is entitled "Re-Evaluating Labour Market Dynamics" and Yellen is expected to deliver her keynote address on Friday morning US time. Consensus is that she will likely highlight that the alternative measures of labour market slack in evaluating the ongoing significant under-utilisation of labour resources (eg, duration of employment, quit rate in JOLTS data) have yet to normalise relative to 2002-2007 levels. Any sound bite that touches on the debate of cyclical versus structural drivers of labour force participation will also be closely followed. Unlike some of the previous Jackson Hole symposiums, this is probably not one that will serve as a precursor of any monetary policy changes but the tone of Yellen's speech may still have a market impact and set the mood for busier times ahead in September.

Chinese Power Consumption Crashes: Lowest Growth In 16 Months, Tumbles 10% In Shanghai, As Much As 22% Elsewhere

When it comes to Chinese (or any other in these centrally-planned, fabricated days) economic data, there is GDP and then there is reality. And as the current premier of China himself has admitted, there is no more accurate indicator of real, not bullshit "growth", than China's monthly power consumption. It is here that another rather massive divergence from China's official data (which has the world believe China GDP rose 7.5% in Q2) has appeared. According to Economic Information Daily, power consumption in Shanghai and Jiangsu fell by more than 10% y/y in July, compared with double-digit growth a year ago, sources said. And it gets worse: other provinces, including Zhejiang, Anhui, Hubei, Hunan and Guizhou, reported a power consumption declines of up to 22 percentage points.  One could almost say the Ukraine ministry of YouTube clips has been put in charge of China's GDP calculation.

Consumer Confidence Collapses To 9-Month Low, Biggest Miss In Over 8 Years

Unpossible! With stocks at record highs and unemployment plunging (according to the government's data and talking heads), how is it possible that University of Michigan Consumer Confidence has collapsed to its lowest since November, missing extrapolated expectations by the most since 2006? We suspect you know the answer...

President "I Will Not Rest" Obama's Approval Rating Hits Record Low

Nearly 80% of Americans have lost faith in the American political system, according to a new Wall Street Journal poll. Despite record highs in stocks (and consumer confidence?) - and a President proclaiming that as victory - 60% of Americans are dissatisfied with the economy and 70% believe the nation is heading in the wrong direction. Who is to blame for this? President Obama's overall approval rating has collapsed to a new low at 40%, with only 42% approving of his handling of the economy. "Americans are cranky, unhappy… It is with everything going on the world," and 57% are pissed off enough to carry a protest sign. But don't worry, as President Obama has reiterated during his tenure, he "will not rest..."

Key Events In The Current Week

Unlike last week's economic report deluge, this week has virtually no A-grade updates of note, with the key events being Factory Orders (exp. 0.6%), ISM non-mfg (exp. 56.5), Trade balance (Exp. -$44.9 bn), Unit Labor Costs (1.2%) and Wholesale Inventories (0.7%).

ISM Manufacturing Surges To 3 Year Highs, Construction Spending Plunges Most Since Jan 2011

The numbers have been 'adjusted' and all is well in the world. Never mind Chicago PMI, or US PMI, the ISM Manufacturing index for July printed 57.1 - the highest since April 2011 - well above expectations and last month's 55.3. Employment rose notably (the opposite of US PMI) and inventories contracted. That's the great news. Then there's the meh news - consumer confidence slipped lower in July. Then there's the horrible news - construction spending collapsed at 1.8% MoM - its biggest drop since Jan 2011. Take your pick which will define your bias.

Futures Push Higher Ahead Of Data Deluge, Yellen Capital Statement

This week's US data onslaught begins today, with the ADP private payroll report first on deck (Exp. 230K, down from 281K), followed by the number of the day, Q2 GDP, which after Q1's abysmal -2.9%, is expected to increase 3%. Anything less and in the first half the US economy will have contracted, something the purists could claim is equivalent to a recession. The whisper numbers are to the downside since consumption and trade never caught up and the only variable is inventory as well as Obamacare, whose impact was $40 billion "contribution" in Q1 was entirely eliminated and instead led to a deduction, something we expect will be reversed into Q2. Following the backward looking GDP (which will be ignored by the sellside penguins if it is bad and praised if good) at 2:00 pm Yellen Capital LLC comes out with a correction on her call to short social networking stocks, as well as admit once again that the "data-driven" Fed really has no idea what it is doing and how it will tighten, but that tightening is imminent and another $10 billion taper to QE will take place ahead of a full phase out in October. Joking aside, the Fed is expected not to do much if anything, which may be just the right time for Yellen to inject an aggressively hawkish note considering her inflation "noise" refuses to go away.

Deadbeat Nation: A Shocking 77 Million Americans Face Debt Collectors

We have been warning for years that as a result of the Fed's disastrous policies, America's middle class is being disintegrated and US adults are surviving only thanks to insurmountable debtloads. But not even we had an appreciation of how serious the problem truly was. We now know, and it is a shocker: according to new research by the Urban Institute, about 77 million Americans have a debt in collections.

Consumer Confidence Explodes Higher To October 2007 Highs

On the heels of UMich confidence tumbling to 4-month lows, the Conference Board's consumer confidence exploded higher to the highest since October 2007. This is the 3rd monthly rise in a row and the biggest beat in 13 months all led by a spike in future expectations to its highest since Feb 2011. The Conference Board proclaims this is due in part to a "brighter outlook for personal income," though reality of falling real hourly wages suggests that is simply false. The last time the conference board confidence diverged this much from UMich confidence was June 2007 and that did not end well...

Frontrunning: July 29

  • EU finalises Russian sanctions as BP warns of impact on business (FT)
  • Geopolitical Risk Rises for Global Investors (BBG)
  • Jaded Argentines brace for looming debt default (Reuters)
  • In Argentina, Mix of Money and Politics Stirs Intrigue Around Kirchner (WSJ)
  • Mom ‘Trusting God’ for Ebola-Infected U.S. Doctor’s Life (BBG)
  • Thanks NSA: Tech Companies Reel as NSA's Spying Tarnishes Reputations (BBG)
  • Goldman unit eyes foray into China amid metals financing scandal (Reuters)
  • Cash out time: London’s Gherkin Tower Offered for Sale by Its Lenders (BBG)
  • Apenomics strikes again: McDonald’s Japan axes profit guidance amid food safety scandal (FT)
  • Do you see what happens Larry when you are the only USDJPY bid? Nomura Profit Falls More Than Estimated on Broking Slump (BBG)

Futures Levitate As FOMC Begins Two-Day Meeting

Overnight markets have been a continuation of the relative peace observed yesterday before the onslaught of key data later in the week, with the biggest mover standing out as the USDJPY, which briefly touched 102 before sliding lower then recouping losses. This sent the Nikkei 225 up 0.57% despite absolutely atrocious Japanese household spending data, coupled with a major deterioration in employment: at this rate if Abenomics doesn't fix the economy it just may destroy it. Aside from that the last 24 hours could be summed as having a lot of noise but not a lot of excitement. This was best illustrated by the S&P500’s (+0.03%) performance which was the second smallest gain YTD. And while the SHCOMP is starting to fade its recent euphoria and China was up only 0.24%, Europe continues to cower in the shade of Russian sanctions as both German Bund yields rose to record highs, and Portugal's BES tumbled by 10% once again to 1 week lows. Today Europe is expected to formally reveal its latest Russian sanctions, which should in turn push Europe's already teetering economy back over the edge.

US Equities Flat While China Surges On More Stimulus And Bailout Hopes

There has been little in term of tier 1 data releases to drive the price action so far in the overnight session which means participants focused on the upcoming US related risk events including the Fed, Q2 GDP and July Payrolls. This, combined with WSJ article by Fed’s Fisher who opined that the FOMC should consider tapering the reinvestment of maturing securities and begin shrinking the Fed’s balance sheet (note that Fisher’s opinion piece is written based on a speech he gave on July 16th) meant that USTs came under pressure overnight in Asia and in Europe this morning. There has been little notable equity futures action (for now: the USDJPY algo team gave it a good ramp attempt just before Europe open, and will repeat just around the US open despite Standard Chartered major cut to its USDJPY forecast from 110 to 106 overnight), although we expect that to change since today is the day when Tuesday frontrunning takes place with full force. We expect equities to completely ignore the ongoing deterioration in Ukraine and the imminent release of EU's own sanctions against Russia, as well as what is now shaping up as an Argentina default on July 30.

Futures Dragged Down By Visa, Amazon Despite USDJPY Levitation

Following yesterday's disappointing results by Visa, which is the largest DJIA component accounting for 8% of the index and which dropped nearly 3%, while AMZN's 10% tumble has weighed heavily on NASDAQ futures, it has been up to the USDJPY to push US equity futures from dropping further, which it has done admirably so far with the tried and true levitation pump taking place just as Europe opened. One thing to keep in mind: yesterday the CME quietly hiked ES and NQ margins by 6% and 11% respectively. A modest warning shot across the bow of what may be coming down the line?