Consumer Confidence

Frontrunning: September 17

  • -0.07%: Germany Secures Record Low Funding Cost at Bond Auction (WSJ)
  • Pentagon Sees Possible Role for U.S. Ground Forces Against Islamic State Militants (WSJ)
  • China Joins ECB in Adding Stimulus as Fed Scales Back (BBG)
  • Stealthy or Normal? Analysts Diverge on PBOC’s Action (BBG)
  • Sony Forecasts Massive $2B Loss as Smartphones Lag (AP)
  • Islamic State campaign tests Obama's commitment to Mideast allies (Reuters)
  • Brent Crude Rebounds as Libya’s Sharara Oilfield Shut (BBG)
  • Market calm over Scottish vote at odds with disaster warnings (Reuters)

Key Events In The Coming Week: Fed Votes, Scotland Votes, And More

US Industrial Production and the NY Fed Empire State Manufacturing survey are the two main releases for the US. In Europe, the euro area trade balance will be the notable print. Beyond today, US PPI, German ZEW and UK CPI are the main economic reports tomorrow. Wednesday will see the release of BOE’s meeting minutes, the US CPI, and the Euro area inflation report. On Thursday, President Obama will host Poroshenko and on the data front we have Philly Fed, initial claims, and building permits to watch out for, but the biggest market moving event will surely be the Scottish independence referendum. German PPI will be the key release on what will otherwise be a relatively quiet Friday.

Kohl's And The Rest Of The Retailers Are In Deep Trouble

When you see the headlines touting strong retail sales, you need to consider what you are actually seeing in the real world. RadioShack will be filing for bankruptcy within months. Wet Seal will follow. Sears is about two years from a bankruptcy filing. JC Penney’s turnaround is a sham. They continue to lose hundreds of millions every quarter and will be filing for bankruptcy within the next couple years. Target and Wal-Mart continue to post awful sales results and have stopped expanding. And as you drive around in your leased BMW, you see more Space Available signs than operating outlets in every strip center in America.

Frontrunning: September 12

  • Russia faces new U.S., EU sanctions over Ukraine crisis (Reuters)
  • Glasgow pulls no punches in welcome to 'Save the Union Express' (Guardian)
  • Pound Seen Tumbling Up to 10% on Scottish Yes Vote (BBG)
  • Moscow stifles dissent as soldiers return in coffins (Reuters)
  • Ukraine's leader sees no military solution of crisis, eyes reforms (Reuters)
  • Venezuela Threatens Harvard Professor for Default Comment (BBG)
  • Australia Raises Terror Alert to Highest Level in a Decade (BBG)
  • Activist Investors Build Up Their War Chests (WSJ)

For 90% Of Americans: There Has Been No Recovery

Every three years the Federal Reserve releases a survey of consumer finances that is a stockpile of data on everything from household net worth to incomes. A major mainstream media theme has been that the surging stock market, driven by the Federal Reserve's monetary interventions, has provided a boost to the overall economy. However, given that the bulk of the population either does not, or only marginally, participates in the financial markets, the "boost" has remained concentrated in the upper 10%. The Federal Reserve study breaks the data down in several ways, but the story remains the same...

Key Events In The Coming Week: iPhone 6 Release And Other Less Relevant Happenings

One of the more amusing comments overnight came from Bank of America, which now predicts that China's export growth will be boosted by iPhone 6 by 1% per month through year-end. Whether or not this is accurate is irrelevant, but we are happy that unlike before, BofA has finally figured out that iPhone sales are positive for Chinese GDP, not US, which was the case with the release of the iPhone 4 and 5, when clueless strategists all came out boosting their US (!) GDP forecasts on the iPhone release. We note this because the long-awaited release of Apple's new iPhone will certainly grab some attention tomorrow. According to a BofA poll last week and of the 124 respondents surveyed, 66% of those have noted that they are going to buy the new iPhone and of those planning to buy 75% of those will be replacing their iPhone 5/5s.

Key Events In The Coming Week

The US may be closed on Monday, but after a summer lull that has seen trading volumes plunge to CYNKian lows, activity is set to come back with a bang (if only for the sake of banks' flow desk revenue) with both a key ECB decision due later this week, as well as the August Nonfarm Payrolls print set for Friday. Among the other events, in the US we have the ISM manufacturing on Tuesday, with markets expecting a broadly unchanged reading of 57.0 for August although prices paid are expecting to decline modestly. Then it is ADP on Thursday (a day later than usual) ahead of Payrolls Friday. The Payrolls print is again one of those "most important ever" number since it comes ahead of the the September 16-17 FOMC meeting and on the heels of the moderation of several key data series (retail sales, personal consumption, inflation). Consensus expects a +225K number and this time it is unclear if a big miss will be great news for stocks or finally bad, as 5 years into ZIRP the US economy should be roaring on all cylinders and not sputtering every other month invoking "hopes" of even more central bank intervention.

If Consumers Are So Confident, Then Why Aren't They Spending?

The sheep have been told their confidence is at a 7 year high by the propaganda peddlers working at the behest of the oligarchy. The sheep are also told that 10 million jobs have been added since the GOTUS played his first round back in 2009. The sheep have been told the record highs in the stock market prove that all is well. If the .1% are doing fantastic, some of the wealth must be trickling down. The sheep are told that QE and ZIRP were really to save Main Street and not the bonuses of Wall Street (at record highs by the way). The sheep are told to fear ISIS, Iran, Assad, Putin, and China. The sheep are told U.S. energy independence is just around the corner and to ignore the fact that gas prices have tripled since in the last ten years. The sheep are told drones will keep them safe and the DHS militarizing the police is just for their safety and security. The sheep are told guns are dangerous in their hands, but not in the hands of the government. The sheep passively eat their iGadgets and barely bleat while being led to the slaughter house.

UMich Consumer Confidence Rises On Surge in "Hope"

While the government Conference Board confidence measure remains the most exuberant, University of Michigan Consumer Confidence continues to tread water. August final print rose to 82.5 from the preliminary data (79.2) driven by a surge in "hope" from 66.2 to 71.3 mid-month. Short-term inflation expectations fell on the month. Despite exuberant all-time highs in stocks, UMich has been flat for the entire year and is now at the least exuberant relative to Conference board data in almost 7 years.

Futures Slide As Ukraine Fighting "Re-Escalates" Again

If you like your de-escalation, you can keep your de-escalation. To think that heading into, and following the Russia-Ukraine "summit" earlier this week there was so much hope that the tense Ukraine civil war "situation" would somehow fix itself. Oh how wrong that thinking was considering overnight, following rebel separatists gains in the southeast of Ukraine which included the strategic port of Novoazvosk and which is "threatening to open up a new front in the war" including setting up a land corridor to Russia controlled-Crimea, Ukraine's president Poroshenko for the first time came out and directly accused Russia of an "Invasion", or at least a first time in recent weeks, saying he has convened the security council on the recent Russian actions.

More Bad News Out Of Europe Coupled With Hopes For More QE Push Stocks, Bonds Higher

If the big hope propelling both ES and S&P cash over 2,000 was the Ukraine-Russian talks, leading to some de-escalation and a thawing of Russian-German conditions, then it was clearly a dud. As the WSJ reports, "face-to-face talks between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents failed to produce a breakthrough for ending the conflict over eastern Ukraine, as Kiev released videos of captured Russian soldiers and rebels pushed toward a government-held city. The one-on-one session, which Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko described as "tough and complex," ended early Wednesday after a day of talks on the crisis in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Mr. Poroshenko said afterward that he would prepare a "road map" toward a possible cease-fire with the pro-Russia separatists." In other words, absolutely no progress. There was however escalation, when overnight the September Bund future rose as much as 36 ticks to 151.18, after Poland PM Tusk said “regular” Russian troops are operating in eastern Ukraine. And so we are back to square one, with concerns over Russia pushing European bonds to new record highs, in turn leading to more US Treasury buying, while a brand new rumor of more easing from the ECB, this time by Deutsche Bank, has propped up European equities, which like US futures are trading water around the critical 2000 level.

Government Confidence Survey Spikes To 7-Year Highs, Near Record Divergence From UMich Sentiment

The Government's Conference Board Consumer Confidence printed an astounding 92.4 - the highest since October 2007 and handily beating expectations of a modest retracement. The headline beat was driven by exuberance in the moment (up from 87.9 to 94.6) as expectations for the future dropped. Plans to buy a home and car rose but major appliances dropped as did expectations for jobs and income. For those in the middle-incomes, things got a lot worse but less-than-$15k and more-than-50k cohorts surged. What is most worrying on an historical basis is the gaping divergence between this government survey and the UMich confidence - near record highs.

Frontrunning: August 26

  • That will teach the UAE who's boss: U.S. Won’t Consult Syria on Militant Strikes: White House (BBG)
  • Putin Set to Meet Poroshenko as Ukraine Tensions Escalate (BBG)... but the de-escalation algo?
  • Tim Hortons’ Canadian Fans Squeamish of American Hookup (BBG)
  • Israeli air strikes target more Gaza high-rises (Reuters)
  • How Steve Ballmer Became a Rookie Basketball Mogul (WSJ)
  • Buffett to Help Finance Burger King Tax-Saving Deal (BBG)
  • U.S. Factories Keep Losing Ground to Global Rivals (WSJ)
  • Boehner, Camp Profit From Corporate Bid to Avoid U.S. Tax (BBG)
  • Experimental U.S. hypersonic weapon destroyed seconds after launch (Reuters)
  • The Neo-Neocons (WSJ)