- Romney Promises to 'Restore' U.S. (WSJ)
- Dirty Harry Makes Surprise Appearance (WSJ)
- It has always been about the gold: Time for eurozone to reach for the gold reserves? (FT)
- EU Plan Said to Give ECB Sole Power to Grant Bank Licenses (Bloomberg)
- More attempts to marginalize Germanty: Brussels pushes for wide ECB powers (FT)
- Justice may be blind but it has geographic limits: Apple Loses Patent Lawsuit Against Samsung in Japan (BBG)
- ECB Said to Use Greek Myth for Security on New Euro Banknotes (Bloomberg)
- Alberta deficit set to triple on slumping oil prices (Globe and Mail)
- Reid's ties to China-Nevada solar plan draw ire (Reuters)
- Bernanke may hint at QE without boxing Fed in (Reuters)
- Berezovsky loses against Abramovich (FT)
- Spain Considers Bankia Re-Capitalization Without EU Money (Bloomberg)
As noted yesterday, the confounding divergence between the stock markets of the Chinese growth "dynamo" which is at three year lows, and that imploding basket case of a banana republics known as Europe, whose stock markets trade like a penny stock and have been soaring laelt, may never have been wider, but when it comes to how people feel, unlike in the US, they refuse to be fooled by some arbitrary manipulated level of the DAX, CAC, IBEX or MIB. In fact, Europe's "chip on its shoulder" grow to the largest it has been in three years as confidence plunged. Specifically, consumer confidence in the euro area slumped to the lowest in three years at minus 24.6, according to the final estimate for August. The 3.1 deterioration in August represents the sharpest decline in a year. The index has been lower in only two periods over the past three decades. Not unexpectedly the least unconfident is Germany, while Greeks are urgently trying to find new reasons to keep pushing the rock uphill day after day.
The outcome of the next round of monetary policy will be similar to those in recent history mentioned in this paper... "Perceived inflation will go through the roof. We’re talking about near 0% interest rates around the developed world (near-term rates in Germany hit 0% in the auction at the end of May and are expected to go negative). Oh yeah, and massive inflation. I think gold will have no trouble hitting $3,000/oz in the medium-term and I see copper tripling over the next decade. This is, of course, until we hit the next bubble sometime around 2018 and start over again. The trend remains: since the stock market crash of 1987, through the dotcom bubble, and into the real-estate & stock market bubbles of 2007, each euphoric high and ensuing crash have been more extreme than the last. These extremes are fueled by the easing that is meant to cure us. The policy that we are facing within the coming months/years will, as the trend dictates, trump them all, and so inevitably will its hangover."
The technical picture for Euro gold looks near perfect now. Gold has been trending higher since May. The long term charts show a series of higher lows and higher highs and even in the correction of recent months there have been a series of higher lows and gold gradually consolidated between €1,200 and €1,400/oz. Gold is now comfortably above the 50, 100 and 200 day moving averages. In the last four years, there have been 3 periods of correction and consolidation which have lasted 12 to 13 months (see boxes in first chart) and we appear to be coming to the end of another such period. Break outs from such consolidations often lead to sharp moves higher and thus new record highs above €1,359/oz and possibly over €1,600/oz should be seen before the end of 2012. The fundamental back drop of the unresolved Eurozone debt crisis , deep divisions in the ECB and a high degree of uncertainty regarding the euros long term future strongly suggest that the euro will continue to fall against gold in the coming months. Further confirmation of robust demand for gold is seen in figures showing that exchange-traded products backed by the gold expanded to a record. Smart money from Paulson to Soros to PIMCO continues to diversify into gold. Gold ETFs holdings have now surpassed Italy to become the world’s third-largest gold holdings when compared with national gold reserves.
- Hurricane Isaac Whips Storm Surge on Path to New Orleans (Bloomberg)
- Republicans Vow to Transform Obama’s U.S. With Low Tax, Freedom (Bloomberg)
- Little-known Ryan to take center-stage at Republican convention (Reuters)
- An $800 billion stimulus tempest in a teapot: China State Researcher: Local Govt Investment Plans Largely Symbolic (WSJ)
- China Says Payment Delays, Defaults May Worsen (Dow Jones)
- G-7 Countries Call for Increased Oil Output to Meet Demand (Bloomberg)
- Creeping Socialism: Clegg calls for emergency tax on rich (FT)
- United Airlines computer problem delays 200 flights (Chicago Sun Times)
- Paulson, Investors Avoid Fireworks Despite Brutal Run (Bloomberg)
- Occupy Sets Wall Street Tie-Up as Protesters Face Burnout (Bloomberg)
- The nostalgic grass is always greener: Serbia Joblessness Swells as Milosevic-Era Leaders Return (Bloomberg)
A Round Up of today's articles. In audio summary!
It's a party in your mouth. Just don't choke.
Going nowhere fast was the theme today as equities managed to end practically unchanged (SPX/Dow down, NDX up) but intraday saw some very gappy behavior (though admittedly in a very small range). VIX is the story of the day in our view - realized volatility has dropped to near-record lows (which had, until a week ago, been a big driver of front-end implied vol compression) and yet VIX pushed higher (with implied vol now at almost a three-month high premium to realized). The point being - protection is bid, and a VIX of 16.5% is much more concerning given its premium than some would believe. Volume was above its very recent and dismal average but still around 15-20 percentage points below normal summer doldrums levels. Risk assets in general trod water today with modest outperformance by Treasuries (yields lower 1-2bps) and negligible moves in FX carry trades - even as the USD is down 0.35% since Friday (mirroring Silver's 0.35% gain). With Consumer confidence dismal, somewhat strangely both Consumer Staples and Discretionary outperformed on the day. Very low average trade size, a low high-low range, and a general inability to pull away from VWAP (+/-3pts only) suggested everyone is on hold (or buying protection as we noted above); but the small flush into the close was not very encouraging.
When Ben Bernanke launched QE 2 in 2010 he outlined a third mandate for the Federal Reserve - the boosting of consumer confidence. He stated that the goal of QE 2 was to boost asset prices in order to spur consumer confidence through the "wealth effect" which should translate into economic growth. In 2010 he was right, and QE 2 not only boosted asset prices sharply, but kept the economy from slipping into a recessionary spat. As Friday's speech from the economic summit in "Jackson Hole" draws near - Bernanke should be taking a clue from today's release of consumer confidence in considering his next move.
With inflation expectations soaring and jobs plentiful relative to hard-to-get falling slightly, Consumer Confidence plunged its most in 10 months to a level not seen since November of last year. It seems that despite all the hopes and prayers priced into US equity market valuations, the US Consumer remains unimpressed, unhappy, and unemployed. Of course, the 'good is bad, bad is better' market has interpreted this as a clear QE-on flag (for this millisecond anyway).
- Ringing endorsement: Lithuania to Adopt Euro When Europe Is Ready, Kubilius Says (Bloomberg)
- Credit Agricole net plunges 67% on losses in Greece and a writedown of its stake in Intesa Sanpaolo SpA (Bloomberg)
- Europe finally starting to smell the coffee: ECB Urging Weaker Basel Liquidity Rule on Crisis Concerns (Bloomberg)
- Japan Cuts Economic Assessment (Reuters)
- France’s Leclerc Stores to Sell Fuel at Cost, Chairman Says (Bloomberg)
- China Eyes Ways to Broaden Yuan’s Use (WSJ)
- Berlin and Paris forge union over crisis (FT)
- Brezhnev Bonds Haunt Putin as Investors Hunt $785 Billion (Bloomberg)
- Republicans showcase Romney as storm clouds convention (Reuters)
- ECB official seeks to ease bond fears (FT)
- German at European Central Bank at Odds With Country’s Policy Makers (NYT)
Weidmann rejected suggestions that he was isolated on the ECB Governing Council in having such reservations. "I hardly believe that I am the only one to get a stomach ache over this," he said. Alexander Dobrindt, a senior German politician who has been the Executive Secretary of the Christian Social Union of Bavaria since 2009, was more direct, saying Draghi risked passing into the history books as the "currency forger of Europe". A conservative ally of Merkel, Dobrindt echoed Bundesbank’s Weidmann that Greece should leave the currency bloc by next year. The comments show the huge divisions in Germany over the debt crisis now in its 3rd year and the understandable concerns of inflation and even hyperinflation. The Bundebank and senior politicians and allies of Merkel may thwart Mario Draghi’s big plans to do “whatever it takes” to solve Europe’s financial collapse. One way or another, the euro is certain to fall in value in the long term.
As Jevons alludes to — and especially in a world where most of us live in an irrigated industrial society — it would seem that there are many other significant factors in determining both long and short term variations in food price — technology shocks, wars, energy shocks, social changes. Food prices are a complex and multi-dimensional equation with a lot of variables. But the impressive thing is that even in a modern agriculturally mechanised and industrialised economy there remains a discernable underlying association between food prices and the solar cycle.
FOMC Minutes Indicate No Shift In Fed's Views, Even As Many Members See More Easing Likely WarrantedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/22/2012 14:02 -0400
The thoughts of the FOMC from a mere three weeks ago - before a 30bps rise in 10Y yields (40bps in 30Y), 5% rise in the NASDAQ, 8.5% rise in AAPL, and 85bps compression in Spanish bond spreads - are out. It appears little has changed in their muddle-through, always at-the-ready, wish-it-were-better view of the world. Via Bloomberg,
- *FOMC PARTICIPANTS SAW ECONOMY DECELERATING AFTER JUNE MEETING
- *MANY FOMC PARTICIPANTS SAID MANUFACTURING WAS SLOW OR FALLING
- *FOMC PARTICIPANTS DISCUSSED QE, EXTENDING 2014 FORECAST ON RATE
- *FED STAFF SAID MARKETS HAVE LARGE CAPACITY TO HANDLE MORE QE
- *MANY FOMC PARTICIPANTS SAW NEW QE AS BOLSTERING U.S. RECOVERY
- *MANY ON FOMC FAVORED EASING SOON IF NO SUSTAINED GROWTH PICKUP
Translation: "Many on FOMC want the S&P at all time highs without actually doing any QE, ever, because that will mean the Fed is officially out of bullets"
This month marks the 50th anniversary of Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, one of the landmark philosophical texts of the last century. The central thesis of the book is that science advances in fits and starts, clustered around the advent of new 'Paradigms' - a term that Kuhn introduced in the book and much of academia subsequently coopted as their own. This was a novel thought for the times, since the conventional philosophy held that science advanced through the ages in plodding but rigorous steps. Kuhn’s observation about science is equally applicable to capital markets, for the range of 'Paradigm shifts' underway goes a long way to explaining everything from why companies refuse to invest to why earnings multiples on U.S. stocks remain so low. Today, in celebration of Kuhn's opus, ConvergEx's Nick Colas offers up a list of the 'Top 10 Paradigm Shifts' currently underway; and notes that new paradigms don't often have as much to them as the old ideas they replace. They are often actually inferior. Over time they get their bearings, yes. But the transition is rough.
Markets taking any negative news as additional must-have accelerators of a bail-out.
Time being of the essence.
But what if things just drag on?