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Tyler Durden's picture

David Rosenberg: "When They Say Unemployment Rate, They Mean The S&P 500"





Last week's plunge in wholesale sales (and "completely involuntary" surge in inventories) has Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg greatly concerned that current quarter real GDP will be very close to stall speed. However, as he notes, "either Mr. Market has yet to figure this out or simply doesn't care any more because of the well ingrained belief that the 'Fed has my back'." When even the Fed is pimping stocks as cheap, he explains, you know what is dominating the thought process of the central bank's targeting - "they say unemployment rate, but they really mean the S&P 500." The 'wealth effect', however, only benefits a chosen few and as Rosie illustrates, an historically low 52% of American households have any money invested in the stock market (based on a recent Gallup poll) - which merely spurs the 'bulls' to argue that the Fed has to be more aggressive...

 
George Washington's picture

Multiple Polls: Americans Are More Afraid of the GOVERNMENT than TERRORISTS





Washington Post and Fox News Find that – Even Right After the Boston Terror Attacks – Americans Are More Leery of Government  Tyranny than Terrorists

 
Tyler Durden's picture

No Country For Rich, Fat Men





Given the increasing weight of taxation on the middle- and upper-incomes in this country and the first step towards savings 'wealth' taxation, it is perhaps no surprise that the nation's employers have decided enough is enough with another implicit tax - healthcare. As the WSJ reports, cost-conscious companies (such as spare tire manufacturer Michelin North America) are passing on the additional costs of healthcare to their obese workers. Are you a man with a waist measuring 40 inches or more? Have high blood pressure? Starting next year, your unhealthiness will cost you. Incentivizing 'healthiness' via credits is increasingly shifting to penalizing unhealthiness as six in ten employers are set to enforce a 'fat tax' in the next few years. The inability to grow top-lines and need to cut costs amid the uncertainty surrounding the surging corporate healthcare costs resulting from Obamacare means employers' balance of carrot and stick seems to be tilting increasingly to the stick. So the people got their pro-equality Obamacare but if you are an 80/20 risk factor - you will be less equal than others.

 
Tyler Durden's picture

Weekly Bull/Bear Recap: Mar. 4-8, 2013





This objective report concisely summarizes important macro events over the past week.  It is not geared to push an agenda.  Impartiality is necessary to avoid costly psychological traps, which all investors are prone to, such as confirmation, conservatism, and endowment biases. 

 
Tyler Durden's picture

Guest Post: 20 Signs The U.S. Economy Is Heading For Big Trouble In The Months Ahead





Is the U.S. economy about to experience a major downturn?  Unfortunately, there are a whole bunch of signs that economic activity in the United States is really slowing down right now. In many ways, what we are going through right now feels very similar to 2008 before the crash happened.  Back then the warning signs of economic trouble were very obvious, but our politicians and the mainstream media insisted that everything was just fine, and the stock market was very much detached from reality.  When the stock market did finally catch up with reality, it happened very, very rapidly.  Sadly, most people do not appear to have learned any lessons from the crisis of 2008.  Americans continue to rack up staggering amounts of debt, and Wall Street is more reckless than ever.  As a society, we seem to have concluded that 2008 was just a temporary malfunction rather than an indication that our entire system was fundamentally flawed.  In the end, we will pay a great price for our overconfidence and our recklessness.

 
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Budget Hawks ... Until Something Gets Cut In Their Districts





Army Chief of Staff: “The conundrum we have is that we don’t need the tanks”

 
Tyler Durden's picture

Weekly Bull/Bear Recap: Feb. 4-8, 2013





This objective report concisely summarizes important macro events over the past week.  It is not geared to push an agenda.  Impartiality is necessary to avoid costly psychological traps, which all investors are prone to, such as confirmation, conservatism, and endowment biases. 

 
Tyler Durden's picture

Weekly Bull/Bear Recap: Jan. 28-Feb. 1, 2013





This objective report concisely summarizes important macro events over the past week.  It is not geared to push an agenda.  Impartiality is necessary to avoid costly psychological traps, which all investors are prone to, such as confirmation, conservatism, and endowment biases. 

 
Tyler Durden's picture

How The Stock Market Became The "Food Stamps" for the 1%





Food stamps are just a payoff to the poor. It keeps them off the streets.  It’s an unspoken bribe plain and simple.  The oligarchs do not want angry, roving, hungry masses on the streets while they strip mine what’s left of the economy. However, the oligarchs have another problem to deal with - the huge group of people that resides in between them and the poor. The average person can feel themselves getting poorer despite the nonsense spewed by the mainstream media; and this is where the stock market comes into play. More than any other group, the 1% has been convinced that the stock market represents some sort of leading indicator of wealth and prosperity. A rising stock market today is actually a leading indicator of the destruction of the middle class, cultural destitution and a society in collapse. The stock market is like slop in a pigpen.  It is a key instrument used to keep the 1% from getting antsy.  Unlike the middle class (a group that isn’t falling for any of the tricks), many of the 1% work on Wall Street or related industries and own stocks. They must be kept quiet as the coup that started in 2008 is brought to fruition. So as the 1% sits around analyzing a casino, the poor collect food stamps and the middle class dies.

 
Tyler Durden's picture

Gallup Poll: Americans Most Negative On the Nation And Economy In 30 Years





We guess Americans just haven’t heard of a little something called the stock market.  Isn’t that right Bernanke?  Wasn’t the stock market rally you engineered supposed to make everyone feel all nice and confident?  Well the great middle class squeeze continues, as the stock market is for the 1% what food stamps are for the poor.  They are just strategies to keep these groups apathetic and obedient.  The middle class isn’t buying it though, as is evidenced by this recent Gallup Poll conducted January 7-10, 2013.

 
Tyler Durden's picture

Gallup Finds December Consumer Spending... Soared?





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Listening to talking heads and certainly to various retail associations, US consumer spending in December was lackluster driven by such traditional scapegoats as "lack of confidence ahead of the Fiscal Cliff", lack of clarity on taxation, fears about what the market may do, etc. And while retailers certainly did report a very mixed sales report for both November and December, it certainly was not due to lack of spending, at least not according to Gallup. Curiously, and rather inexplicably, the polling organization found that in December the average self-reported daily spending in stores, online, and in restaurants rose by a whopping $10 to $83. This was the highest monthly figure Gallup has reported since December 2008. It is also the first reading above the $80 mark since the 2008-2009 recession. But how is that possible? Wasn't the strawman that nobody would spend due to fiscal and tax uncertainty? Apparently not, and this unleashes merely the latest episode of baffle with BS, where data from one source contradicts directly what has been reported from other aggregators of spending data.

 
Tyler Durden's picture

Retail Sales Confirm "You Can't Spend What You Don't Have"





Despite all the rancor about seasonally-adjusted ad hoc beats of holiday week retail sales (amid burgeoning discounts), the trend (post the Hurricane Sandy-driven surge) in GAFO (General Merchandise, Apparel and Accessories, Furniture and Other Sales) retail sales is most explicitly lower. As Bloomberg Brief notes, consumer incomes are in a fragile state and between the ATRA deal and a 'stable' at best unemployment picture, it seems that the YoY change in retail sales is indicating per capita disposable income is set to decline further. As Rich Yamarone concludes: it appears "You can't spend what you don't have." It seems 'tax-the-rich' is also misfiring as those making over $90k per year report recent spending at its lowest for this time of year since 2008.

 
Tyler Durden's picture

Myths, Cliffs, And The 2% Solution





The Cliff is dead; long live the Cliff.  Yesterday’s impressive market rally was a great way to kick off the New Year, but (as ConvergEx's Nicholas Colas notes) we do have 251 trading days to go before we can lock in those gains and dance a celebratory jig.  The market’s psychological pendulum swings between extremes of “Macro” and “micro” focus, and we shouldn’t take it for granted that the stock market’s positive take on the Fiscal Cliff negotiations portend a better economy, a stronger financial picture for the U.S., or any of the actual nuts-and-bolts which hold together the framework of corporate earnings and cash flows.  Colas' prime concern is that the increase in Social Security tax withholding by 2 percentage points – back to its pre-2011 12.4% - will take a chunk out of the spending power for tens of millions of households.  In the abstract, the amounts involved are not huge – perhaps 50 basis points of GDP.  But everything counts when GDP growth remains stubbornly subpar.

 
Tyler Durden's picture

2012's Mass Shootings And Some "Gun Control" Observations





With the resurgence of gun control politics storming to stage center over the past 72 hours, and providing yet another fulcrum point of social division precisely at the time when the nation is already hopelessly divided on other key political talking points which look set to push the Fiscal Cliff debate unresolved into 2013, below we provide two useful benchmarks to frame the "gun debate." The first, courtesy of WaPo, is an interactive chart of all mass shootings, including all the relevant details, taking place in 2012. The second, is a dispassionate and fact-based observation courtesy of BusinessWeek of the realities and challenges facing politicians, and the broader society, as America grapples with 200+ years of Second amendment history on one hand, and a society that is ever more "troubled", and increasingly prone to violence and murder on the other.

 
Tyler Durden's picture

Newtown Shooter Had Asperger Syndrome, And Some US Gun Facts





Update: The focus now shifts to the mother, the first casualty of her son's murderous rampage, who was a "big, big gun fan" as the NYT explains, and who went target shooting with her children, one of whom had Asperger's.

As we reported last night, buried inside the NYT biopic of Newtown shooter Adam Lanza was arguably one of the most important missing pieces in the story, at least so far, which could provide clues into partially explaining yesterday's tragic loss of young life, namely that the 20 year old man suffered from Asperger Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism (two conditions which are being merged in the upcoming update of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) manual of mental disorders), which has been traditionally associated with social communication difficulties, including flat affect, and one which in some clinical studies has been shown to have a causal link to violence. In other words, in addition to the surge in the debate over national gun control and access limitations (ignoring that the perpetrator of the biggest school mass murder in US history - the Bath School disaster - used openly purchased dynamite and no guns, also ignoring that in the US there are roughly 300 million firearms), perhaps there should also be a broad discussion as to the risks of social misadoption of children with autism and other social and behavioral disorders.

 
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