German ZEW Crushed, China Missing Across The Board? Have No Fear - It's Tuesday

If, in the New Normal, newsflow and facts mattered, facts such as the German Zew Investor Expectations index crashing from 43.2 to 33.1, smashing expectations of a 40.0 print to the downside and down to the lowest since January 2013 nearly half the 7 year half reported as recently as December confirming Germany can no longer be Europe's growth dynamo courtesy of a still nosebleed high EURUSD, or facts such as overnight Chinese data missed in every category with industrial output up 8.7% y/y in April vs an estimated 8.9%, retail sales up 11.9% below the estimated 12.2% rise and ; Jan.-April fixed-asset investment growing 17.3% vs est. 17.7%, then futures may just posted a downtick. However, since it is a Tuesday, with a ~$1 billion POMO, one can ignore the fundamentals and proceed straight to buying anything and everything with indiscriminate abandon. The only question is whether the NY Fed orders Citadel to slam the VIX under 11 to start off the morning S&P rampage which should push the broad market index above Goldman's 1900 price target for the end of the 2014.

China's Oil Rig Gambit: South China Sea Game-Changer?

China’s placement of the giant state-owned oil rig HD-981 in Block 143 inside Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on May 2 was unexpected, provocative and illegal. China’s deployment of the rig was provocative because the oil rig was accompanied by as many as 80 ships, including seven People’s Liberation Army Navy warships. When China first announced the deployment of its oil rig, it stated that its operations would terminate on August 15. This provides plenty of time for both sides to orchestrate and manage the confrontation and provide a face saving means for ending the confrontation.

GaveKal On The Recent Emerging Market Surge: "Little To Suggest Any Sustainable Economic Healing"

Is there anything fundamental to explain why the equity indices of the "Fragile Five" countries, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, India and Turkey, have regained their recent highs? According to GaveKal the answer is a resounding no: "As investors, we like equity rallies to be propelled by fundamental factors, like earnings re-ratings or growth surprises. But there is little behind this rally to suggest any sustainable economic healing." So what is pushing this particular subset of risk higher? Why the global liquidity tsunami of course.

Key Events In The Coming Week

This week markets are likely to focus on a few important data prints in DMs, including Philly Fed in the US (expect solid expansionary territory) and 1Q GDP releases in the Euro area (with upside risks). In DMs, the highlights of the week include [on Monday] Japan’s trade balance data and Australia business conditions; [on Tuesday] US retail sales, CPI in Italy and Sweden; [on Wednesday] US PPI, Euro area IP, CPI in France, Germany and Spain; [on Thursday] US Philly Fed, CPI, capacity utilization, Euro area and Japan GDP; and [on Friday] US Univ. of Michigan Confidence. In the US, we expect Philly Fed to print in solidly expansionary territory (at 14, similar to consensus) and to inaugurate what we call the active data period of the month. We also expect CPI inflation to print at 0.3% mom (similar to consensus), and core CPI inflation at 0.18% mom (slightly above consensus).

US Futures Blast Out Of The Gate On More Empty Promises By The ECB

East Ukraine may be independent in a result which the Kremlin said it "respects" and hopes for a "civilized implementation" of the referendum results, and which assures further military escalation in the proxy war of east versus west, but stocks are happy to ignore it all again.  The reason: a positive close over in Asia (ex-Japan) after China’s State Council pledged to reform markets buoyed demand for risk, although it really is just a follow through to the furious VIX slam in the last hour of US Friday trading, which said otherwise, means buying of US equities was the reason to buy US equities. More importantly and adding to the early spoo euphoria were comments by ECB's Nowotny who said that interest rate cut alone would likely be too little to combat low inflation - suggesting a European QE is coming - also acted as a catalyst for the latest uptick in stocks: when trapped like the ECB and when "guiding" to future activity, if unable to actually execute it, may as well go all the way. End result, Spoos up nearly 0.5% because, well, others are buying spoos.

Which Are The Best Business Schools For The Buck (Spoiler Alert: Not Harvard Or Wharton)

As the San Fran Fed recently explained, when it looked at the upside of a college education, it found that the average college graduate earns over "$800,000 more than the average high school graduate by retirement age." What was ignored is the offsetting cost to this upside in terms of hundreds of thousands of college loans bearing compounding interest that are just as sticky and in increasingly more cases also remain with the graduate until retirement. But what about business schools? For those professionals who have already picked a career in finance or business, and who are willing to spending even more ridiculous amounts of money for a piece of paper and a rolodex, which business schools offer the best bank for the buck?

Gold Infographic: The Eclipsing Demand Of The East

Lifted by a continued surge in Asian gold sales, consumer demand for gold reached an all-time high in 2013 at 3,893 tonnes. Amazingly, 54% of this demand came from two places: India and China. However, it is only recently that the East has dominated global demand for the yellow metal. In this infographic, we look at India and China specifically to see why demand keeps expanding in the East.


Tim Geithner Admits "Too Big To Fail" Hasn't Gone Anywhere (And That's The Way He Likes It)

Never in a million years did we think we’d ever use an article by Andrew Ross Sorkin as the basis of a blog post, but here we are. While probably entirely unintentional, his article serves to further solidify as accurate the prevailing notion across America that former head of the New York Federal Reserve and Obama’s first Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, is nothing more than an addled, crony, bureaucratic banker cabin boy. Simply put, "Geithner is so bad, he actually makes Larry Summers look good."

Beware "The Distortions Of The Ministry Of Truth" Warns A Cash-Heavy Marc Faber

"Stocks in the advanced economies are basically fully priced," Faber pronounces, and adds that, given their low yields, government bonds are also expensive. The true contrarian play is the "most under-appreciated asset - cash." Even though investors won't earn any money and will actually lose money in the long-term because of Federal Reserve-induced dollar depreciation, Faber suggests that "for the next six months, maybe cash is the most attractive," because the US economy is not recovering at all the way stocks are priced and what is more worrisome is the potential for a sudden eruption of inflation. As we have noted numerous times, Faber blasts that despite the prices of everything going up, government statistics "are distorted by the ministry of truth" in order to enable more money printing by the central banks. Crucially, while we may not be seeing wage inflation in the US, that excess liquidity is squirting up everywhere around the world's assets (and wages in China and India for instance), and the 2008 financial crisis could be just a precursor to a more severe economic fallout on the horizon.

Alibaba Files For IPO

It seems "market conditions" are right for the big one...

2013 EBITDA: $2.7 billion, 2013 Free Cash Flow: $3.2 billion; Pro Forma cash $7.9 billion

Here are some of the key details, formerly non-public, from its IPO filing...

Key Events In The Coming Week

This week, markets are likely to focus on US ISM Nonmanufacturing, services and composite PMIs in the Euro area (expect increases), ECB’s Monetary Policy Decision (expect no change in policy until further ahead), and Congressional testimony by Fed’s Yellen.

No Bubble At All: IPO For Company That "Doesn't Have Current Operations" 36 Times Oversubscribed

Over 300 years ago, the South Sea company was created (and successfully IPO'd) "for the purpose of rivaling the East India Company." It had no actual operations as of yet but the buying panic for shares was driven by greedy investors seeing the government's elite doing so well and wanting a part of the prospects of a company with no operations becoming a world leader (or just finding a greater fool). Today, the first IPO of shares on Dubai's main stock market for 5 years was 36 times over-subscribed for a company called Marka (which is a "cash shell" which does not have any current operations). Nope, no bubble here.


India Central Bank Chief Warns QE "Has Been More Cause Than Cure" For Economic Weakness

Speaking at The Brooking Institution on April 12, Reserve Bank Of India Governor Raghuram Rajan  - no stranger to controversial truthiness (as we have noted here and here) - made clear his views on the rest of the world's central bankers as he concluded, "the first step to prescribing the right medicine is to recognize the cause of the illness. And, when it comes to what is ailing the global economy, extreme monetary easing has been more cause than cure. The sooner we recognize that, the stronger and more sustainable the global economic recovery will be."

Key Events In The Coming Very Busy Week

The coming week will be busy in terms of data releases in the US; highlights include an improvement in consumer confidence, anemic 1Q GDP growth, and solid non-farm payrolls (consensus expects 215K). Wednesday brings advanced 1Q GDP - consensus expected a pathetic 1.1% qoq, on the back of what Goldman scapegoats as "weather distortions and an inventory investment drag", personal consumption (consensus 1.9%), and FOMC (the meeting is not associated with economic projections or a press conference). Thursday brings PCE Core (consensus 0.20%). Friday brings non-farm payrolls (consensus of 215K) and unemployment (6.6%). Other indicators for the week include pending home sales, S&P/Case Shiller home price index, Chicago PMI, ADP employment, personal income/spending, and hourly earnings.