The hardest questions we are trying to reconcile here are how is that possible to see all these signs of weakness under the surface – including weak commodities, tightening credit, retrenching consumer spending – being balanced by very strong equity markets and upbeat employment picture. One of these sides has to be wrong in its assessment of the current macro environment, and seeing both of them extending well into the future appears unlikely to us.
Marijuana is quickly becoming a very important part of the economy and of pop culture.
The real risk is that while debt is rising on both a relative and an absolute basis, EBITDA, or cash flow, of both junk companies as well as Investment Grades, has been declining for at least one year. Or rather, while junk-rated companies have seen their EBITDA decline consistently for the past 5 years, the big inflection point was early 2014 when IG EBITDA also plateaued and has since been declining.
Having told the world that it will borrow billions (and cut capex) to "return all free cash to investors," it appears ratings agency S&P just needed to remind McDonalds that Shareholder-friendly releveraging no longer comes for free...
*S&P LWRS MCDONALD'S RTG TO 'BBB+' ON SHR BUYBACK PLANS
Who could have seen that coming?
They appear to have resorted to a 'new' dollar menu item...
Yesterday morning, when previewing the day's tumultuous events, we said that "Futures Are Firm On Hope Draghi Will Give Green Light To BTFD." And boy did Draghi give a green light, that and then some, when his press conference unleashed one of the biggest one-day US equity rallies in 2015. This morning it has been more of the same, with global market momentum on the heels of Draghi's confirmation that Europe's economy is again backsliding (it's a good thing, if only for stocks), leading to momentum for US equity futures, which together with soaring tech/cloud, earnings if no other, are on their way to take out recent all time highs.
After yesterday's dramatic late day market rout catalyzed by the tumble in the biotech sector in general, and Valeant in particular, and foreseen in its entirety by Gartman who went bullish just hours before, this morning US equity futures and European stocks have recouped some losses on the recursive, and traditional, hope that Mario Draghi will say something to push risk higher when he speaks in 2 hours at the ECB's press conference in Malta. And yet, just like Yellen a month ago, Draghi faces the paradox of reflexivity that after years of being ignored, is the "new thing" in town: how does he intervene and demonstrate he is readier than ever to set up stimulus, without panicking investors over euro area’s health.
“We are in the throes of a deep depression, and nothing is changing,” a franchise owner wrote in response to a financial survey by Nomura Group that warned "probably 30% of operators are insolvent." One owner went as far as to speculate that McDonald’s is literally “facing its final days.”
Holding gold is simply recognition that the Fed’s actions over the last 30 years have potentially severe consequences that pose threats to the value of most financial assets, the almighty dollar and ultimately your clients’ purchasing power. Owning gold is in effect not only a short on the dollar and on the credibility of the Federal Reserve, but most importantly a one of a kind asset that protects wealth.
A perfect storm of Islamophobia and technophobia (as Wired.com's Marcus Wohlsen so eloquently put it) has erupted in Texas where high-school freshman Ahmed Mohamed was arrested Monday after bringing a homemade digital clock to MacArthur High. A teacher at the Irving school exclaimed "it looks like a bomb," resulting in a call to police. By mid-afternoon, police were leading the boy out of school in handcuffs and taking him to juvenile detention on suspicion of making a "hoax bomb." As Mike Krieger sums up so perfectly, America is a deeply fallen nation. I don’t know how obvious it has to become before people come to grips and start to do something about it.
"You can push and push, but at the end of the day you know where the power lies"...
Coming to, or rather from, every forced "minimum wage" provider near you.
With Labor Day upon us, newspapers across the US will be printing op-eds calling for a mandated “living wage” and higher wages in general. In many cases, advocates for a living wage argue for outright mandates on wages; that is, a minimum wage set as an arbitrary level determined by policymakers to be at a level that makes housing, food, and health care “affordable.” All in all, it’s quite a bizarre strategy the living-wage advocates have settled on. It consists of raising the prices of consumer goods via increasing labor costs. Real wages then go down, and, at the same time, many workers lose their jobs to automation as capital is made relatively less expensive by a rising cost of labor. While the goal of raising the standard of living for workers and their families is laudable, it’s apparent that living wage advocates haven’t exactly thought things through.
The fundamentals for the US dollar are terrible, but people keep dumping money into it like trained monkeys simply because nothing else in financial markets makes any sense. This perception of 'safety' is based on a complete myth - every credible fundamental suggests that the dollar is dangerously overvalued; but if not the US dollar, then which currency is the safe haven? The euro is garbage, the Chinese are fighting a depression, Japan is a disaster. And that’s precisely the point. When every option in the financial system is grounded in absurdity, the only solution is to start looking for safety outside of it.
Yesterday we showed a chart demonstrating that while the top 10 "Unicorn" startups have a private valuation of $156 billion on just $4 billion in revenue, what caught readers' attention is that the average employee among these 10 companies is worth a whopping $8 million. But what about the "value" of employees at public companies, and especially at the blue chips, names such as MSFT, XOM, JPM, MCD and, the more recent trailblazers, AAPL and FB? The answer is shown below.