In a word, the official unemployment rate is now in what has been the macroeconomic end zone for the past 45 years. Might this suggest that the emergency is over and done? Self-evidently, the only “incoming” information that can matter between now and next Wednesday is the stock market averages. If the Fed takes no action in September, it’s hard to imagine any economic or jobs report that wouldn’t support ZIRP or near-ZIRP in the minds of the money printers and the Wall Street gamblers they pleasure.
Curious why after its massive drubbing yesterday, which led to the second highest volume day for AAPL stock in 2015, the phone market is down another 1.3% this morning? The reason: Wall Street's momentum chasing penguins have re-emerged, and moments ago Bank of America, right on time as in just after the stock broke its 200 DMA and entered a correction, decided to downgrade AAPL from Buy to Neutral, lowering its price target from $142 to $130.
We have lived through a credit hyper-expansion for the record books, with an unprecedented generation of excess claims to underlying real wealth. In doing so we have created the largest financial departure from reality in human history. Bubbles are not new – humanity has experienced them periodically going all the way back to antiquity – but the novel aspect of this one, apart from its scale, is its occurrence at a point when we have reached or are reaching so many limits on a global scale. The retrenchment we are about to experience as this bubble bursts is also set to be unprecedented, given that the scale of a bust is predictably proportionate to the scale of the excesses during the boom that precedes it. Deflation and depression are mutually reinforcing, meaning the downward spiral will continue for many years. China is the biggest domino about to fall, and from a great height as well, threatening to flatten everything in its path on the way down. This is the beginning of a New World Disorder…
Judging by the recent action in equity futures, the continuously rangebound US market since the end of QE may be entering its latest downphase, catalyzed to a big extent by the recent strength in the JPY (the EURJPY traded down to 2 year lows overnight), especially following yesterday's not one but two statements by Abe advisor Harada saying a USDJPY at 125 isn't "justified" and a 105 level would be appropriate. A level, incidentally, which would push the Nikkei lower by about 20% and crush Japanese pensions which are now mostly invested in stocks. Not helping matters was the pause in the Chinese and Hang Seng stock bubbles, with the former barely rising 0.3%, while the former actually seeing its first 1.6% decline after many days of torrid, relentless rises.
We doubt anyone will find it one bit surprising that as Bank of America observes in its latest weekly hedge fund monitor, "S&P500 longs increase to six month high" with all equities bought. And alongside that, and confirming that the short squeeze in the Treasury market will continue indefinitely, "10-yr contracts were sold at a strong pace to increase net short positioning to largest in six months." Why? Because that imminent economic recovery which everyone has been betting on since the second half of 2013 is just not coming, seasonally adjusted low-paying temp, retail, teacher and secretary jobs notwithstanding.
"My premise hasn’t really changed since I published my paper explaining why I had become more constructive towards risk assets this time last year. That is to say, the structural deficiency of global demand continues to radicalise the central banking community. I believe they are terrified: the system is so leveraged and vulnerable to potentially systemic price reversals that the monetary authorities find themselves beholden to long only investors and obliged to support asset prices. However, I clearly confused everyone with my choice of language. What I should have said is that investors are perhaps misconstruing rising equity prices as a traditional bull market spurred on by revenue and earnings growth, and becoming fearful of a reversal, when instead the persistent upwards drift in stock markets is more a reflection of the steady erosion of the soundness of the global monetary system and therefore the rise in stock prices is something that is likely to prevail for some time."
With last night's latest Japanese flash crash firmly forgotten until the next time the trapdoor trade springs open and swallows a whole lot of momentum chasing Virtu vacuum tubes, it is time to look from east to west, Frankfurt to be precise, where in 45 minutes the ECB may or may not say something of importance. As Deutsche Bank comments, "Today is the most important day since.... well the last important day as the ECB hosts its widely anticipated monthly meeting." Whilst not many expect concrete action, the success will be judged on how much Draghi hints at much more future action whilst actually probably doing nothing.
NATO Accuses Russia Of Escalating Ukraine Conflict, Demands Withdrawal Of Russian Troops From BorderSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/15/2014 07:03 -0500
"Remember when"... US futures soared by over 60 point in 5 trading days on what was the tiniest hint that Putin may be de-escalating based on a Russian media report citing the Russian security council? Well, NATO disagrees with the momentum chasing algos, and this odd spin coming out of Russia. Moments ago NATO said that Russia, while calling for de-escalation of the Ukraine conflict, had in fact been escalating it.
Practically since the day Lehman went down in September 2008 Washington has been conducting a monumental farce. It has been pretending to up-root the causes of the thundering financial crisis which struck that month and to enact measures insuring that it would never happen again. In fact, however, official policy has done just the opposite. The Fed’s massive money printing campaign has perpetuated and drastically enlarged the Wall Street casino, making the pre-crisis gamblers in CDOs, CDS and other derivatives appear like pikers compared to the present momentum chasing madness. In a nutshell, the Fed’s prolonged regime of ZIRP and wealth effects based “puts” under risk assets has destroyed two-way markets.
Yellen Capital Humiliated After First Facebook And Now Twitter Surge Higher: TWTR's Quarter In ChartsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/29/2014 15:34 -0500
Moments ago TWTR reported Q2 earnings which beat EPS expectations of a 1 cent loss, posting non-GAAP EPS of $0.02 (let's ignore that the GAAP EPS was actually -$0.24 and that GAAP Net Loss was $144.6 million, much worse than the $42.2 million a year ago, all driven by stock-based compensation expense, because clearly retaining employees is never a factor when calculating earnings). And yet, the stock has exploded by 30% after hours on what appears to be a super squeeze after hours, as the company also reported revenue of $312 million up from $139.3 million a year ago and some $54MM in EBITDA, up 461% Y/Y. This is just a little awkward for the Federal Reserve which some 2 weeks ago was warning about a bubble in social networking stocks, just before first Facebook and now Twitter have exploded higher on what can best be described as yet another massive short squeeze of those who decided to not fight the Fed on this one.
The attached Barron’s article appeared in December 2007 as an outlook for the year ahead, and Wall Street strategists were waxing bullish. Notwithstanding the advanced state of disarray in the housing and mortgage markets, soaring global oil prices and a domestic economic expansion cycle that was faltering and getting long in the tooth, Wall Street strategists were still hitting the “buy” key. In fact, the Great Recession had already started but they didn’t have a clue: "Against this troubling backdrop, it’s no wonder investors are worried that the bull market might end in 2008. But Wall Street’s top equity strategists are quick to dismiss such fears."
"Sell in May and go away" worked very well if you chose Tuesdays to sell. Since the start of May, the Dow is down over 1.6% on Tuesdays (with only 2 days of better than negligible gains). What is really working is Buy Fridays... The Dow is up 11 Fridays in a row, gaining 2.4% (of the Dow's total 2.7% gain since then). It seems the "nothing can hurt us over the weekend" effect is alive and well...
Janet Yellen is a chatterbox of numbers, but most of them are “noise”. And that’s her term. Yet here is a profoundly important set of numbers that you haven’t heard boo about from Yellen and her mad money printers. To wit, during the “difficult” economic times since the financial crisis began gathering force in Q1 2008, the S&P 500 companies have distributed $3.8 trillion in stock buybacks and dividends out of just $4 trillion in cumulative net income. That’s right, 95 cents of every dollar they earned - including the huge gains from restructurings, downsizings and job terminations - was flushed right back into the Wall Street casino.
As a helpful hint for the Federal Reserve - who appear concerned about "financial instability" - we thought the following chart might suggest where to look for 'irrational' investors...
Monetary central planning at the zero bound embodies a destructive internal contradiction. It inherently generates rampant speculation in real estate and financial assets because ZIRP massively subsidizes the cost of carry. At the same time, its practitioners are institutionally disposed to bubble denial because they falsely believe that their policies are what is keeping the real economy advancing - even if currently it is at a sub-normal pace by historical standards. Without fail, therefore, monetary central planners keep their feet on the accelerator to the very end, boasting that the “in-coming data” shows the macro-economy approaching the nirvana of full-employment. What they are actually doing, however, is driving the financial system to unsustainable extremes of valuation and speculation - and eventually to a crash landing. We have had two of these processions of the lemmings - that is, Fed driven cycles of bubble inflation and bust - already in this century. Now we are at the asymptote of the third.