How We Got Here: The Fed Warned Itself In 1979, Then Spent Four Decades Intentionally Avoiding The TopicSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/30/2015 17:45 -0500
At least parts of the Fed all the way back in 1979 appreciated how Greenspan and Bernanke’s “global savings glut” was a joke. Rather than follow that inquiry to a useful line of policy, monetary officials instead just let it all go into the ether of, from their view, trivial history. But the true disaster lies not just in that intentional ignorance but rather how orthodox economists and policymakers were acutely aware there was “something” amiss about money especially by the 1990’s. Because these dots to connect were so close together the only reasonable conclusion for this discrepancy is ideology alone. Economists were so bent upon creating monetary “rules” by which to control the economy that they refused recognition of something so immense because it would disqualify their very effort.
We hoped yesterday's preview would soften the blow from today's CAT Q3 earnings which were clearly going to be ugly, and surely worse than consensus estimates. Moments ago we got said earnings and as expected, they were indeed far worse than expected, with CAT reporting adjusted EPS of $0.75 ($0.62 GAAP), below consensus estimate of $0.77, while revenue of $11.0 billion also missed expectations of $11.33.This takes place even as CAT repurchased $1.5 billion in stock in Q3, or about 75% of the total $2.0 billion in buybacks it conducted in all of 2015 (compared to $8 billion in the past three years).
Just three days ago after looking at the latest CAT retail sales, we asked in stunned amazement "What On Earth Is Going On With Caterpillar Sales?" We now know the answer.
MS Boosts TSLA Price Target To $465, Days After Underwriting Stock Offering; Sees Tesla Bigger Than Ford And GMSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/17/2015 06:10 -0500
Moments ago, Morgan Stanley did it again just as expected, only this time it at least followed protocol when it announced it is raising its price target on TSLA from $280 to a whopping $465, or just shy of $61 billion in implied market cap. Incidentally at this price TSLA would be the biggest US automaker, surpassing not only GM's $50bn in market capo, but also Ford's $60 billion.
This charmed circle includes Google, Amazon, Baidu, Facebook, Saleforce.com, Netflix, Pandora, Tesla, LinkedIn, ServiceNow, Splunk, Workday, Ylep, Priceline, QLIK Technologies and Yandex. Taken altogether, their market cap clocked in at $1.3 trillion on Friday. That compares to just $21 billion of LTM net income for the entire index combined. The talking heads, of course, would urge not to be troubled. After all, what’s a 61X trailing PE among today’s leading tech growth companies?
Nothing is ever permanent with the QE’s because they were doomed from the start. The “dollar” system can never be refined and remade to its prior station because it was irrevocably broken on August 9, 2007. All that QE’s have done is to create reverberation within the downward channel which may, in the end, only exacerbate the degree of imbalance that weighs on the inevitable shift.
Extreme optimism - whether in the form of stock valuations, consumer spending, or happiness surveys like the one mentioned below - tends to be followed by corrections; because to get to an extreme point in a data series, extreme behavior is usually required. That is, a lot of really optimistic investment decisions have to be made to push financial markets to cyclical highs, and these kinds of moves tend to exhaust themselves and produce big moves in the other direction. Hence the 2008 low following the 2007 high.
"Current equity valuations provide no margin of safety for long-term investors. One might as well be investing on a dare..."
While the cancellation of 'The Interview' wiped billions off the US Box Office take in 2014 (</sarc>), ticket sales in North America will total roughly $10.5 billion, according to The NY Times, the lowest since 2000 (after inflation). Regal Cinemas and AMX Theatres have seen profits collapse and Carmike Cinemas has plunged to a loss as major movie delays (from Pixar and Universal), "pirating" of several movies (The Expendables 3 and Annie) before their release, and studios suffering one dud after another (Warner Bros.) the 4% YoY decline - for what is ultimately an affordable luxury - suggests the gas-price-savings are going anywhere but discretionary spending (just as we noted previously).
It feels like a good time to review what we can expect when our government and its agencies attempt to create wealth out of thin air. We can see the absurdity and hubris of our policymakers who believe they can circumvent economic laws in the following excerpt from the “The National Homeownership Strategy: Partners in the American Dream”. This little gem which we are suggesting is the document that led us to the economic devastation from which we are yet to crawl out. "For many potential homebuyers, the lack of cash available to accumulate the required downpayment and closing costs is the major impediment to purchasing a home. Other households do not have sufficient available income to to make the monthly payments on mortgages financed at market interest rates for standard loan terms. Financing strategies, fueled by the creativity and resources of the private and public sectors, should address both of these financial barriers to homeownership." So what lesson did we learn the hard way? Looking around today, absolutely nothing.
"There is virtually no 'bullish' argument that will currently withstand real scrutiny. Yield analysis is flawed because of the artificial interest rate suppression. It is the same for equity risk premium analysis. Valuations are not cheap, and rising interest rates will slow economic growth. However, because optimistic analysis supports our underlying psychological 'greed,' all real scrutiny to the contrary tends to be dismissed. Unfortunately, it is this 'willful blindness' that eventually leads to a dislocation in the markets."
In short, our views will shift as the evidence shifts, but here and now, the market has re-established overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions that mirror some of the most precarious points in the historical record such as 1929, 1937, 1974, 1987, 2000 and 2007. That syndrome is now coupled with continued evidence of a subtle shift toward more risk-averse investor psychology, primarily reflected by internal dispersion and widening credit spreads.
Despots, dictators, and power hungry presidents arise in an atmosphere of fear, scarce resources, hopelessness, and misery. As the power of the central government grows; the freedoms, liberties and rights of the people are diminished and ultimately relinquished.
"In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” - The Fourth Turning - Strauss & Howe – 1997
With 97.5% of the S&P 500 having reported earnings, as of May 29, 2014, we can take a closer look at the results through the 1st quarter of the year. Despite the exuberance from the media over the "number of companies that beat estimates" during the most recent reported period, operating earnings FELL from $28.25 per share to $27.32 which translates into a quarterly decrease of 3.4%. The ongoing deterioration in earnings is something worth watching closely. The recent improvement in the economic reports is likely more ephemeral due to a very sluggish start of the year that has led to a "restocking" cycle. This puts overly optimistic earnings estimates in jeopardy of being lowered further in the coming months ahead as stock buybacks slow and corporate cost cutting becomes less effective.