Citing "softening market conditions influenced by oil," US Steel has issued lay-off warnings to 756 workers in the US... Layoffs will begin in early March as both Ohio and Texas plants will be idled.
"Unequivocally" not good. Following last week's surge in initial jobless claims for 'Shale' states, Baker Hughes confirms rig counts continue to tumble. The last two weeks have seen the total US rig count fall the most since 2009 (and Canada down 9.3% this week alone). Seemingly confirming this weakness, The Kansas City Fed notes respondents see non-durable (petroleum) demand "sluggish", and rather awkwardly against the "everything's great meme," one respondent exclaims, "demand from oilfield customers is dropping rapidly." The current US rig count is now the lowest in 5 months.
US shale oil is now the marginal swing barrel in the new world oil order, and as Goldman Sachs warns (despite Larry Kudlow apparently knowing better), a decline in WTI to $75/bbl would start to significantly slow US shale growth (and thus employment, capex, and the entire US economy).
"So bye bye to my piece of the pie... I poured my paycheck into the Russell, Now my cash account's dry... It's just one month from a new all-time high, And now we're right back where we were in July..."
According to the latest Nielsen Media Research data, in the second quarter of 2014, CNBC viewership for all viewers just dropped to 162,000 - a new (and depressing for Comcast) low, on par with CNBC's viewership from Q2 of 1997! Where things get funny is when one looks at the ratings of that consummate entertainer, that self-appointed "voice of the people", Jim Cramer. Sadly for Cramer, the people are now gone. Because also according to Nielsen Jim Cramer's Mad Money show just had its lowest ever rated month in the 25-54 demo, and is about to have its second lowest rated month ever across total viewers.
While many Wall Street economists and strategists shrugged in the face of tin-foil-hat-wearing bloggers who suggested the disaster that is the part-time jobs receovery was due to The Affordable Care Act - of 953,000 jobs created In 2013, 77%, or 731,000 are part-time - epitomized best by Larry Kudlow and Deutsche Bank's ever-smiling Joe Lavorgna; it seems the drag on employers' hiring has now hit the mainstream media. As NBC Nightly News reports in this succinct clip, things are not going according to plan for the President's better bargain even as Fed's Bullard proclaims "clear improvement in labor markets." Perhaps he should watch TV this evening?
In a surreal and deja vu-ish turn of events, three days ago we reported that in parallel with the ongoing collapse in CNBC viewership, the ratings of some of its shows namely Jim Cramer's Mad Money and Larry Kudlow's Report had just hit all time lows. This was met with an immediate response by Larry Kudlow himself who, alongside Groundhog Phil-fodder Joe LaVorgna, decided to take Zero Hedge to task for reporting that part-time jobs are not really full-time jobs and invited us over to their show to explain how dare we point out the weakness in the manipulated BLS datadump. We were kind enough to remind Mr. Kudlow that the last time someone from CNBC "invited" us over, i.e., Dennis "Digital Dickweed" Kneale, their show was promptly cancelled. To wit: "While we appreciate the offer, the last thing we intend to do is suffer Mr. Kudlow the same fate as that experienced by his predecessor Dennis Kneale who also invited Zero Hedge on his laughable excuse for a show in 2009, only to be sacked a few months later." Make it two for two as irony strikes again. The NY Post reports that Kudlow's show is over.
What can be said here that we haven't said countless times before? If the braintrust behind Comcast's acquisition of the CNBC package deal, not to mention assorted increasingly more desperate CNBC producers, had hoped that an artificial "wealth effect" created under a central planning world would lead to greater viewership, more retail stock market participation, and better advertising terms (not to mention revenues), they were wrong. Very, very wrong.
Six years ago today, with the S&P 500 around 1460 - having risen 20% without a correction for seven months - a handful of Wall Street's best and brightest joined CNBC's Larry Kudlow and Bob Pisani to discuss the Goldilocks economy, why the bears are wrong, and where the market is going next. Sometimes, we just need a reminder to snap us out of that recency bias... for example, Bob Pisani: "We have got a global rally going on... and the important thing is... there's a floor to the market - every time, for the last seven months, they sell the market down for 2 days, it comes right back... When you are in a global expansion like this, to sell...is foolish."
You've probably noticed the cookie-cutter format of most financial media "news": a few key "buzz words" (fiscal cliff, Bush tax cuts, etc.) are inserted into conventional contexts, and this is passed off as either "reporting" or "commentary" depending on the number of pundits sourced. Correspondent Frank M. kindly passed along a template that is "officially deny its existence" secret within the mainstream media. With this template, you could launch your own financial media channel, ready to compete with the big boys. Heck, you could hire some cheap overseas labor to make a few Skype calls to "the usual suspects," for-hire academics, hedge fund gurus, etc. and actually attribute the fluff to a real person.
No wonder one third of Americans are obese. The crap we are shoveling into our bodies is on par with the misinformation, propaganda and lies that are being programmed into our minds by government bureaucrats, corrupt politicians, corporate media gurus, and central banker puppets. Chief Clinton propaganda mouthpiece, James Carville, famously remarked during the 1992 presidential campaign that, “It’s the economy, stupid”. Clinton was able to successfully convince the American voters that George Bush’s handling of the economy caused the 1991 recession. In retrospect, it was revealed the economy had been recovering for months prior to the election. No one could ever accuse the American people of being perceptive, realistic or critical thinking when it comes to economics, math, history or distinguishing between truth or lies. Our government controlled public school system has successfully dumbed down the populace to a level where they enjoy their slavery and prefer conscious ignorance to critical thought.
While not directly under the purview of finacial matters, a topic that has received much attention recently are the now two consecutive censures of MSNBC hosts: first Keith Olbermann, and now Joe Scarborough for political donations. The reason given by MSNBC (NBCsubsidiary) president Phil Griffin is that "since [Scarborough] did not seek or receive prior approval for these contributions, Joe understands that I will be suspending him for violating our policy." As for Olbermann: "Days before the November 2 congressional elections, Olbermann gave contributions of $2,400 each to Jack Conway, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Kentucky, and to two members of the House of Representatives from Arizona, Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords." Presumably the decision to censure the two arose out of NBC News, MSNBC's broadcast partner, which attempts to protect the news organization's image as unbiased. Zero Hedge is all for unbiased reporting, even at such purportedly extremely far from the center stations as MSNBC and Fox News. After all, both of these are watched purely for entertainment purposes, and serve to merely create an echo chamber environment. Yet one station, which is also under the control of NBC, and which should pursue neutrality more than anything due to the sensitive nature of its coverage, is financial station CNBC. Which is why we were very surprised to discover that none other than Larry Kudlow recently donated $1,000 to former Connecticut Congressman Chris Shays. We wonder whether this means we actually may a day or two without supply-side general extraordinaire Larry Kudlow at the CNBC helm since obviously NBC will strive to enforce objectivity at all of its broadcast partners?