To some (mostly those in the 1-10% wealth bucket) the main event today is the iWatch unveiling. To others (mostly those not in the 1-10% wealth bucket) it is the Eurogroup meeting in which the fate of Greece will be discussed and perhaps decided. One thing is certain: virtually nobody will care when the Fed's Mester and Kocherlakota speak later today as the Fed is now - supposedly - set to hike no matter what. Here is what the other main events are for the balance of the week.
- ECB Starts Buying German, Italian Government Bonds Under QE Plan (BBG)
- Creditors Reject Greece's Reform Proposals (BBG)
- Is Apple Watch the Timex digital watch of the Internet era? (Reuters)
- Tesla shedding jobs in China as sales target missed (Reuters)
- Malaysia Airlines says expired battery on MH370 did not hinder search (Reuters)
- Gunmen kill more than 12 Islamic State militants in eastern Syria (Reuters)
- GM Plans Share Buyback, Averting Proxy Fight (WSJ)
- Wisconsin capital marked by third day of protests after police shooting (Reuters)
It was not all smiles and jokes as Mario Draghi's European QE officially launched in Europe, with Greece leaving the proverbial turd in the monetary punch bowl.
Since the start of February, 48 US macro data items have missed expectations and 8 have beaten. Since then the S&P 500 has risen over 5.5% (and the Nasdaq even more) and 10Y yields are up 50bps. Bloomberg's US Macro Surprise index is now as weak as it was just after Lehman and is falling at the fastest pace since Summer 2012. While everyone is well aware that markets can stay irrational longer than a trader can stay liquid, one has to wonder just how long this farce can continue before even the most effusive talking head has to admit... things ain't great.
Goldman's Global Leading Indicator (GLI) final print for February affirms the global economy has entered a contraction with accelerating negative growth. Just six months after "expansion", the Goldman Swirlogram has collapsed into "contraction" with monthly revisions notably ugly and 9 out of 10 components declining in February. Some have suggested, given US equity's strong February (buyback-driven) performance, that the US economy will decouple from the world... or even drive it.. but that is 100% incorrect. US Macro data has fallen at its fastest pace in 3 years and is at its weakest level since July 2011 as 42 of 48 data items have missed since the start of February.
US Macro data has collapsed to 12-month lows with 38 data 'misses' and only 6 'beats. Earnings expectations have plunged most since Lehman (over 5% in the last 3 months) hovering at 10-month lows. So it makes perfect sense that, unless we see a late-day collapse today, the S&P 500 will post the best monthly performance since October 2011.
It appears all the emerging/emerged economies of the world that are supposed to be the dynamic growth engines to lead the world to escape velocity are, well, not. Perhaps no better example is Brazil where hyper-growth expectations have disappeared into a black hole as business and consumer confidence collapsed this week to historical lows. As Goldman noted, "This poses major headwinds for private consumption and overall activity in the coming months."
With more than 60 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and a whopping 24 percent of the country has more credit card debt than emergency savings, when the coming economic crisis strikes, more than half the country is going to be financially wiped out within weeks. If you are trusting in the government to save you when things fall apart, you will be severely disappointed.
Despite this morning's US Services PMI rise, US macro data is running at a 90% miss rate in February and Richmond Fed's tumble from 6 to 0 (11mo lows) along with The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence dropping the most since Oct 2013 merely confirm this trend. This is the biggest 4-month slump in Richmond Fed since 2010 as practically every sub index deteriorated. California, Florida and New York saw over consumer confidence collapse and Texas saw 'present situation' plunge. US Macro data is now nearing its lowest in a year...
Worst. Case. Scenario. Markit US Services (flash) PMI printed an impressive 57.0 (smashing 54.5 expectations), well up from January's 54.2 as combined with the Manufacturing (soft survey data) suggests, according to Markit, that GDP is growuing around 3.0% annualised. Of course both these 'surveys' print positive amid one of the biggest declines and series of misses in US macro data of the last few years. As Markit notes, “The Fed will no doubt be encouraged by the resilience of the economy...and increasingly minded to start the process of normalising monetary policy in June."
US stock markets reached record highs last week. Question: does that make them riskier, or less risky? We think the former.
Record Low Baltic Dry Casualties Emerge: Third Dry-Bulk Shipper Files For Bankruptcy In Past 3 WeeksSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/23/2015 09:39 -0400
The unintended consequences of a money-printed, credit-fueled, mal-investment-boom in commodities (prices - as opposed to physical demand per se) and the downstream signals that sent to any and all industries are starting to bite. The Baltic Dry Index has plunged once again to new record lows and the collapse of the non-financialized 'clean' indicator of the imbalances between global trade demand and freight transport supply has the real-world effects are starting to be felt, as Reuters reports the third dry-bulk shipper this month has filed for bankruptcy... in what shippers call "the worst market conditions since the '80s."
Financial repression "is going on on several fronts conducted by different people for their own agendas, though they all seem to be mutually supporting... There is a lot of collusion - the cancer which started in the US Financial System has spread globally... You now have two parties with the same head and reporting to the same masters. There is no longer any countervailing power."
It appears President Obama's "costs" imposed on Russia have boomerang'd just too much for Europe to take. As Reuters reports, The EU is seeking to create a single energy market, based on cross-border connections to improve security of supply and reduce dependence on Russia, which supplies roughly one third of EU energy. The headline pivot away from Putin, likely misses the fact that there is very little a stagnating Europe can do, even in the medium term, to 'reduce' dependence on Washington's nemesis.
Having put Russia on review in mid-January, Moody's has decided (somewhat unsurprisingly) to downgrade Russia's sovereign debt rating to Ba1 (from Baa3) with continuing negative outlook. The reasons:
*MOODY'S SAYS RUSSIA EXPECTED TO HAVE DEEP RECESSION IN '15, CONTINUED CONTRACTION IN '16
*MOODY'S SEE RUSSIA DEBT METRICS LIKELY DETERIORATING COMING YRS
We assume the low external debt, considerable reserves, lack of exposure to US Treasuries, and major gold backing were not considered useful? Moody's concludes the full statement (below) by noting that they are unlikely to raise Russian sovereign debt rating in the near-term.