- This is the solution? - Germany Writing Six-Point Plan for Europe Growth, Spiegel Says (Bloomberg)
- JPMorgan Gave Risk Oversight to Museum Head Who Sat on AIG Board (Bloomberg)
- Vatican bank president Gotti Tedeschi ousted -statement (Reuters)
- Bribery, crime and stupidity pays. From this: SEC Staff Ends Probe of Lehman Without Finding Fraud (Bloomberg)
- To this: Lehman to buy remaining Archstone stake for $1.58 billion (Reuters)
- Governments must restore faith in debt sustainability: ECB's Praet (Reuters) - by issuing more debt
- IMF Helping EU Explore Alternatives to Euro Bonds (WSJ)... such as US-funded bailout bonds?
- China Banks May Miss Loan Target for 2012, Officials Say (Bloomberg)
- Facebook market makers' losses total at least $100 million (Reuters)
- World Bank’s Sri Mulyani Says Asean Is Resilient to Europe Woes (Bloomberg)
- Time to flip "The Scream" - Tiffany Cuts Full-Year Profit Forecast (Bloomberg)
- Definitely Maybe: Italy's Monti says Greece will probably keep euro (Reuters)
PIMCO vs GARY SHILLING - ROUND 1
- Rajoy to ask for ECB assistance, according to reports (Sharecast)
- Bundesbank Suggests Greek Exit From Euro Would Be Manageable (Bloomberg)
- Unemployed Burn as Fed Fiddles in Debate Over Natural Rate (Bloomberg)
- Regulators, investors turn up heat over Facebook IPO (Reuters)
- China to boost private energy investment to bolster economy (Reuters)
- OECD fears euro woe to snap brittle world recovery (Reuters)
- China slowdown threatens Australia - World Bank (Herald Sun)
- Guessing game begins over next Treasury chief (Reuters)
- Italians spurn main parties in local polls (FT)
- A fragile Europe must change fast (FT)
- Spain to outline Bankia plan, may announce bailout size (Reuters)
- China Should Adjust Policy Early - Government Researcher (WSJ)
A panel of the Swiss parliament is discussing the introduction of the parallel ‘Gold franc’ currency. Bloomberg has picked up on the news which was reported by Neue Luzerner Zeitung. The Swiss parliament panel will discuss a proposal aimed at introducing a new currency, or a so-called gold franc. Under the proposal, which will be debated in the lower house’s economic panel in Bern today, one coin in gold would be worth about 5 Swiss francs ($5.30), the Swiss newspaper reported. The Swiss franc would remain the official currency, the paper said. The proposal may lead to a wider debate about the Swiss franc and the role gold might again play to protect the Swiss franc from currency debasement. The initiative is part of the “Healthy Currency” campaign which is being promoted by the country’s biggest party – the conservative Swiss People’s Party (SVP).
- Facebook's selling shareholders can't wait to get out of company, increase offering by 25% (Bloomberg)
- Boehner Draws Line in Sand on Debt (WSJ)
- Romney Attacks Obama Over Recovery Citing U.S. Debt Load (Bloomberg)
- BHP chairman says commodity markets to cool further (Reuters)
- Merkel’s First Hollande Meeting Yields Growth Signal for Greece (Bloomberg)
- Greek President Told Banks Anxious as Deposits Pulled (Bloomberg)
- EU to push for binding investor pay votes (FT)
- Martin Wolf: Era of a diminished superpower (FT)
- China’s Hong Kong Home-Buying Influx Wanes, Midland Says (Bloomberg)
- U.N. and Iran agree to keep talking on nuclear (Reuters)
- US nears deal to reopen Afghan supply route (FT)
European bourses are trading in modest positive territory ahead of the US open with early trade seeing moves higher across equities as Germany printed an expectation-beating 0.5% growth in their flash Q1 GDP. Elsewhere, Eurozone growth surprised to the upside somewhat, coming in flat against the expected contraction of 0.2%. However, as time passed, Greece garnered the focus of markets once more as they face a EUR 435mln foreign-law bond redemption today. Government source comments have somewhat reassured markets that the payment will be made, but participants await official confirmation. Further assisting the moves off the highs was a lower-than expected ZEW survey from Germany, with economists noting that the French and German elections have knocked confidence in the country over the past month.
We knew something was different about today. The following graphic neatly captures it. It shows the 15 minute average percentage of quotes considered excessive each minute (over 500 quotes per second per stock) between January 2010 and 11-May-2012 (plotted as thick red line). Note how this line was persistently high the entire day relative to trading days in the past. This probably explains the crazy high quote rates and prices shown in the charts below.
- China Industrial Output Growth Slows Sharply In April (WSJ)
- Indian industrial output shrinks unexpectedly (AFP)
- China’s Inflation Moderates, Adding Room for Easing (Bloomberg)... a nickel for every "imminent RRR-cut" prediction
- Drew Built 30-Year JPMorgan Career Embracing Risk (Bloomberg)
- Spain Offered Time to Curb Deficit (FT)
- France Entrepreneurs Flee From Hollande Wealth Rejection (BBG)
- Venizelos Eyes Unity Deal After Agreement With Democratic Left (Ekathimerini)
- Berlin Reaches Out to the Periphery (FT)
- Bernanke Speaks About Risks From End of Pro-Growth Plans (Bloomberg)
There is really no argument whether there will be a recession in our future — the only question is the timing and cause of it. The latter point is the most important. Recessions do not just happen — they need a push. In 2011 the economy was just a breath away from a recession due to the dual impact of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and the European debt crisis. Had it not been for the combined efforts of the Fed through "Operation Twist" and the Long Term Refinancing Operations via the ECB, a drop in oil prices and a plunge in utility costs due to the warmest winter in 65 years, it is entirely likely that that we may have already been discussing a "recession." The ECRI launched a debate that was literally heard around the world with their recessionary call in 2011. The weight of evidence as shown by our composite economic output indicator index shows that the ECRI call was most likely correct. However, the restart of manufacturing, primarily automotive, after the crisis in Japan combined with an effective $90 billion tax credit due to lower oil and utility costs, turned the previously slowing growth rate of the economy around over the last couple of quarters. Sustainability is becoming the question now as weather patterns return to a more normal cycle and the effects of the lower energy costs began to dissipate. In a more normal post recessionary recovery the third year should be closer to a 6-8% economic growth rate versus 2%. While 2% growth is much better than zero — the current sub-par pace of growth leaves the economy standing on the edge of the pool with very little stability to offset any unexpected "push" into the cold waters of recession. The problem is identifying what that "push" could likely be.
The good days are over, at least according to Goldman's Jan Hatzius. Now that "Cash For Coolers", aka April in February or the record hot winter, has ended, aka pulling summer demand 3-6 months forward, and payback is coming with a bang, starting with what Goldman believes will be a 125,000 NFP print in April, just barely higher than the disastrous March 120,000 NFP print which launched a thousand NEW QE rumors. But before you pray for a truly horrible number which will surely price in the cremation of the USD once CTRL+P types in the launch codes, be careful: from Hatzius - "Despite the weaker numbers, we have on net become more, not less, worried about the risks to our forecast of another round of monetary easing at the June 19-20 FOMC meeting. It is still our forecast, but it depends on our expectation of a meaningful amount of weakness in the economic indicators over the next 6-8 weeks. In other words, our sense of the Fed’s reaction function to economic growth has become more hawkish than it looked after the January 25 FOMC press conference, when Chairman Bernanke saw a “very strong case” for additional accommodation under the FOMC’s forecasts. This shift is a headwind from the perspective of the risk asset markets....So the case for a successor program to Operation Twist still looks solid to us, and the FOMC’s apparent reluctance to deliver it is a concern."
The University of Michigan Consumer Confidence headline data beat expectations and rose to its highest level since February 2011. However, the somewhat surprising drop in 1-year inflation expectations (to four-month-lows) and drop in Current Economic Conditions index to four-month-lows that underlies less exuberance. Perhaps it is the fact that this current economic conditions index dropped by its largest amount in eight months that is fading equities.