- Brussels on Edge as Lockdown Continues (WSJ)
- Stocks Pare Decline as Crude Oil Erases Drop on Saudi Comments (BBG)
- Italy’s Eni Plans to Pump Arctic Oil, After Others Abandon the Field (WSJ)
- Treasuries Decline as Economists Say GDP to Be Revised Higher (BBG)
- Why the Housing Rebound Hasn’t Lifted the U.S. Economy Much (WSJ)
- Argentina Fever Is Back for Investors as Kirchner Rival Triumphs (BBG)
The Fed was out in force yesterday peddling some pretty heavy-duty malarkey about the up-coming rate liftoff at the December meeting..."If we begin to raise interest rates, that’s a good thing." That’s not a bad thing." Goldman is putting out the final mullet call for this Bubble Cycle because it knows that this bull is dying; that insiders still have massive amounts of stock winnings to unload; and that the clock is fast running out. The expiring clock is evident in the S&P 500’s one-year round trip to nowhere. Despite the fact that the Fed has ponied-up a stick save at every single meeting this year, the market’s 27 separate efforts to rally have all failed for the simple reason that the jig is up.
Westerners have a deep history of a culture of myths (see Joseph Campbell). We love to believe in Santa Claus, "The American Dream," the Tooth Fairy, housing market always goes up, and countless others. So it's easy for us to be 'terrorized' by a myth; that hiding behind every corner are evil 'terrorists' waiting to blow themselves up because 'they hate our freedoms.'
- Security jitters drive European investors back to safe havens (Reuters)
- Global Anti-ISIS Alliance Begins to Emerge (WSJ)
- Merkel says cancelling soccer match was 'responsible' decision (Reuters)
- Paris attacker may have had accomplice on journey through Balkans (Reuters)
- Drop Assad demands if you want to unite against Islamic State: Russia to West (Reuters)
- Putin sets up commission to combat terrorism financing (Reuters)
- Belgian Police 'Arrest' Public Enemy No.1 (Sky News)
- France Widens Crackdown at Home as Bombs Rain on Islamic State (BBG)
- Putin Goes From G-20 Pariah to Player at Obama Turkey Talk (BBG)
- Paris Attacks: 150 Raids as France Goes to 'War With Terrorism' (NBC)
- 'Rocket Launcher Found' In French Police Raids (Sky)
- Geopolitical worries lift oil after Paris attacks, but glut weighs (Reuters)
- Japan's economy falls back into recession again (BBC)
The perennial hopes of a strong retail shopping season are once again upon us. Given the current deflationary backdrop, small business spending pessimism, the sharp decline in imports and weak wage growth, it is quite likely that actual retail sales will likely disappoint the NRF's forecast of a "shopping season significantly above the 10-year average." But it is truly important to remember that for retailers all #BlackFridaysMatter
The real risk is that while debt is rising on both a relative and an absolute basis, EBITDA, or cash flow, of both junk companies as well as Investment Grades, has been declining for at least one year. Or rather, while junk-rated companies have seen their EBITDA decline consistently for the past 5 years, the big inflection point was early 2014 when IG EBITDA also plateaued and has since been declining.
The current stock market melt-up hardly qualifies as limp. Even the robo-machines and hyper-ventilating day traders apparently recognize that their job is to tag the May 2015 highs and then get out of the way. So when and as they complete their pointless mission, the question recurs as to why the posse of fools in the Eccles Building can’t see that they are inflating one hellacious financial bubble; and that when it blows it will deconstruct their entire 7-year project of make-pretend recovery.
Financial engineering scams like Tyco and Valeant would never happen in an honest free market. Short sellers would shut them down long before they reach egregious levels of over-valuation; and the cost of honest downside market insurance (i.e. S&P 500 puts) and market driven carry cost would dramatically reduce the profitability of speculation and the amount of punters and capital in the casino. In today’s broken markets and corrupt regime of central bank driven crony capitalism, however, bubbles inflate in individual securities, as well as in broad sectors and the market as a whole, until they reach egregious, self-correcting extremes. Then they violently implode, creating immense waves of collateral damage in the process. Perhaps then the American people will learn that Yellen & Co have actually been in the un-wealth effects business for way too long.
We're all minions now of the stock market. By cowering in terror of a stock market tantrum, the Fed has surrendered everything: its vaunted (and completely phony) independence; its duty (yes, go ahead and laugh) to the nation and the real economy - everything. The Fed is nothing but an abject slave of the market.
It has been a while since Icahn, who is still looking for a $200+ print on AAPL stock courtesy of corporate buybacks, issued a "no brainer" investment alert. He did that moments ago, when he revealed a "large position" in AIG, whom he is now urging to follow John Paulson's advise in order to hit a $100/share price, by doing two things: "Pursue tax free separations of both its life and mortgage insurance subsidiaries to create three independent public companies" and to "embark on a much needed cost control program to close the gap with peers."
It is obvious that the Healthcare Industry in the US is in need of some major overhaul, and I am not talking about a politically expedient solution as was the latest undertaking by the Obama administration.
"Since Washington doesn't understand what went wrong in 2007 and 2008, so the Fed, the White House and Congress are recreating the very same conditions for another financial bubble. If it pops, we could replay the same devastating effects as occurred during the first bubble in 1999 and 2000.”
There are two parties to robbery – the taker and the takee. We have seen what happened to the victims. They are too busy picking through trash bins to go to the Walmart website. But what about the takers? They are busy too – lobbying… eating foie gras and caviar… and offering to save the world with increasingly radical monetary policies. It is time to undo the Fed’s control of the financial system. Let takees get the interest they are entitled to. And let the takers get what they’ve got coming to them.
As we have warned numerous times - and any trader old enough to have actually lived through a credit cycle can attest to - there is only so much releveraging shareholder-friendly exuberance firms can do before the company's balance sheet becomes questionable. That inflection point has come for US equities. The deterioration of balance-sheet health is "increasingly alarming" and will only worsen if earnings growth continues to stall amid a global economic slowdown, according to Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan's Eric Beinstein warns "the benefit of lower yields for corporate issuers is fading." The weakness is widespread as BlackRock fears "you’ll continue to see some land mines out there."