Monetary Policy

Ben Bernanke: On The Way From Hero To Zero?

It seems yet another hero of the recent cyclical bull market, resp. echo bubble, may be in danger of falling from grace. This has already happened to his predecessor Alan Greenspan, who has been gradually demoted from “Maestro” to “irresponsible bubble blower”. In this sense the somewhat less praise-laden verdicts that are lately emerging with respect to Ben Bernanke could be seen as an early warning sign.

Bill Gross: "This Is All Ending"

When does our credit based financial system sputter / break down? When investable assets pose too much risk for too little return. Not immediately, but at the margin, credit and stocks begin to be exchanged for figurative and sometimes literal money in a mattress.” We are approaching that point now as bond yields, credit spreads and stock prices have brought financial wealth forward to the point of exhaustion. A rational investor must indeed have a sense of an ending, not another Lehman crash, but a crush of perpetual bull market enthusiasm.

WSJ Slams Bernanke's Blog Post: "Stop Blaming Everyone" For Your Mistakes

"We can understand that Mr. Bernanke doesn’t like being tagged with any responsibility for poor economic results. He absolved himself for any mistakes before the financial crisis too. But sooner or later he and the Fed have to stop using the financial crisis as the all-purpose excuse for slow growth. Even President Obama has stopped blaming George W. Bush for everything. Maybe Mr. Bernanke should stop blaming everyone else too."

Key Events In The Coming Week

Quickly looking at the potential market moving events this week, US payrolls on Friday will be the clear focus. In terms of expectations, our US colleagues are expecting a +225k print which matches the current Bloomberg consensus, while they expect the unemployment rate to drop one-tenth to 5.4%. Elsewhere, Thursday’s UK Election will be closely followed while Greece will once again be front and center.

Socialists, Central Banks & Credit Is Not Capital

As with all good socialists, central banks have locked the global economy onto but a single path without any possibility of choice. The purpose of all this intrusive nature through finance is actually to dethrone the defining quality that makes capitalism so useful in society’s advance – dynamic destruction. Despite the radical alteration as to what is taught in “business” schools, credit is not capital and it will never be. No amount of math will make it so, but the longer it remains operative the greater the potential we all end up with something even worse.

Suddenly "You Can't Ignore The Data" Has Turned Into "Trust Me"

The week that passed has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride for many nervous investors. And for some: a realization that the once hyped, hawked, and levered Billion dollar babies can indeed “come off the rails.” Turning the once joyride into something more in common with a free fall into the abyss. However, you’re told not too worry: For if you loved the ride when the prices were higher, then surely you should be ecstatic to “ride again” since the new ticket prices are clearly “on sale!”

Why Dan Loeb Refuses To "Sell In May And Go Away"

"We remain constructive on the US for three reasons: 1) economic data should improve in the next few quarters; 2) the Fed does not seem to be in any rush to move early and a June rate hike seems unlikely; and 3) while investors are focused solely on the first rate raise, we think the overall path higher will be gradual, in contrast to previous rate shifts. These factors should create an environment where growth improves and monetary policy stays flexible, which is generally good for equities (higher multiples notwithstanding). We may follow last year’s playbook and ignore the old adage to “sell in May and go away.”

The War On Cash: Transparently Totalitarian

"The War on Cash is the attempt by governments to phase cash out of their economies. Governments hate cash because they hate the financial privacy cash makes possible. And they prefer that you keep your money in a bank to help prop up an unsound fractional reserve banking system." As Ron Paul warned, “The cashless society is the IRS’s dream: total knowledge of, and control over, the finances of every single American.”

Markets & The FOMC – the Game Of Chicken Continues

The recent quietude in the markets has our attention. Quietude in markets nearly always leads to unexpected increases in volatility. We use the term volatility not necessarily only in the sense of “must go down”, but rather in the sense that the quiet period will soon end. It could just as well result in a blow-off move (in the case of stocks) as in a sharp decline – at least from a purely technical perspective. The currency markets seem a bit more unsettled and have been making big moves for quite some time, which curiously haven’t altered the trajectory of “risk assets” much.

Albert Edwards On What Happens Next: "More QE - Everywhere!"

"The Q1 US GDP data was a major disappointment to the market as business investment declined due to the intensifying US profits recession. Only the biggest inventory build in history stopped the economy subsiding into a recessionary quagmire. The US economy is struggling and the Fed will ultimately re-engage the QE spigot. Talk is growing that China will soon be doing the same as local authorities struggle to issue debt. But this week we want to focus on Japan, having just made my fist visit to that fine nation for over a decade! Japan, the third largest economy in the world, is also in trouble (see chart below) and will soon be increasing its off-the-scale QE programme to an out-of-this-world QE programme." - Albert Edwards

Frontrunning: April 30

  • Marchers protest police violence in Baltimore, New York (Reuters)
  • Majority of Financial Pros Now Say Greece Is Headed for Euro Exit (BBG)
  • Greece signals concessions in crunch talks with lenders (Reuters)
  • Greece, Euro-Area Partners Target Deal by Sunday (BBG)
  • Iglesias Says EU Risking Right-Wing Backlash With Greek Pressure (BBG)
  • Student-Loan Surge Undercuts Millennials’ Place in U.S. Economy (BBG)
  • Majors’ Quandary: Why Drill for Oil When They Can Buy Somebody Else’s? (WSJ)