The impact of the transportation recession on railroads is now very visible. Here’s how Union Pacific is dealing with this issue, via Google Earth, on May 3: 292 engines idled on a siding west of Benson, Arizona, along I-10, for a stretch of nearly 4 miles. Note how the line of locomotives curves and fades into the left edge of the photo – an once majestic and haunting sight, all these powerful machines idled on a track in the Arizona desert...
The first U.S. shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) arrived in Portugal last week and Gazprom did not immediately cut its own gas prices for Europe. While European media has hailed the entry of U.S. gas into the market as a game-changer and a monopoly-breaker, in the short term, nothing has changed at all.
While markets remain relatively subdued ahead of tomorrow's nonfarm payrolls report, after several days of losses in US stocks which pushed the S&P500 to three week lows, overnight markets ignored the latest weak data out of China where the Caixin Services PMI was the latest indicator to disappoint (dropping from 52.2 to 51.8), and instead focused on crude, which rebounded from yesterday's post inventory-build lows and briefly printed above $45/bbl over uncertainty related to the impact of Canada wildfires on production and how long will last. The bounce in WTI has meant Brent briefly traded at parity with West Texas for the first time in 6 weeks.
Moments ago, the 2016 edition of the Sohn Investment Conference started, a feeding frenzy for traders and hedge fund managers such as Gundlach, Einhorn and Chanos who descend on this popular annual "round table" to pitch their best and worst ideas. As always, the moment a company's name is mentioned in a bullish or bearish context, its stock is sure to surge or slump, as the headline-hungry algos immediate pounce in the current reactionary market environment. But is following the advice of these hedge fund gurus such a good idea?
- Global stocks slide as yen, euro gains question policy potency (Reuters)
- U.S. Index Futures Signal Stock Losses as AIG Drops on Earnings (BBG)
- EU Sees Weaker Growth in Eurozone and Wider EU as China Slowdown Weighs (WSJ)
- Euro Set for Longest Run of Gains Since 2013 as Fed Focus Fades (BBG)
- German Bonds Advance as EU Cuts Euro-Area Inflation Outlook (BBG)
Overnight Australia finally admitted it has succumbed to the global economic weakness plaguing the rest of the world when in a "surprise" move, Australia’s central bank cut its benchmark interest rate for the first time in a year to a record low and left the door open for further easing to counter a wave of disinflation that’s swept over the developed world. The move sent the local currency tumbling and local stocks climbing. Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens and his board lowered the cash rate by 25 basis points to 1.75 percent Tuesday, a move predicted by just 12 of 27 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The announcement has, not surprisingly unleashed havoc across FX markets and broadly pushed global mood into its latest "risk off" phase.
Following this weekend's bankruptcies of Ultra Petroleum and Midstate Petroleum which added $3.1 billion to the mushrooming high-yield energy bond default volume tally, in addition to the $1.5 billion of credit facility defaults, the energy high-yield default has soared to a record 13% rate, surpassing the 9.7% mark set in 1999, according to Fitch Ratings.
"I have certain rules that I live by... My first rule - I don't believe anything the government tells me." - George Carlin
Akin to ancient Rome, the United States has over-extended herself. She has created a climate that could easily be transformed into a war on a slight pretext. Wars, as it is well known are also a means a nation can extricate itself from debt and financial responsibility. The dying Petrodollar system has been on life support for some time, and it appears other nations such as the BRIC’s are taking the initiative to return to a true monetary standard. This is the same gold and silver standard that the U.S. should never have left in the first place.
It is increasingly certain that the future will not be like the past. Previous downturns have been equally devastating but the primary causes eventually reversed themselves; low commodity prices recovered and damaging government policies were rescinded. This recovery will be different for a variety of reasons which will combine to cap growth, opportunity and profits, even if oil and gas prices spike. The following major changes appear permanent...
"Vaxxed, the controversial documentary alleging a direct causal relationship between vaccines and exponential increases in autism amongst children is a deeply disturbing and hence critically important piece of work that will cause many sleepless nights for parents of infants everywhere..."
With the price of oil creeping ever higher, mothballed shale oil production is quietly going back online.
With the Fed decision just one day away, followed the very next day by the increasingly more irrational BOJ, stocks had no desire to make significant moves and overnight's boring session was the result, as European stocks and U.S. index futures rose modestly but mostly hugged the flatline while Asian declined 0.2% for a third day as raw-material shares declined and Tokyo equities slumped before central bank meetings in the U.S. and Japan this week. China’s stocks rose the most in almost two weeks, up 0.6% but failed to rise above 3000 on the Shanghai Composite, in thin trading.
"Well, if you're involved in the oil patch directly, drilling activity or anything like that I think we've gone beyond recession and it's more a depression. The facts are that this latest round of commodity price collapse that happened the first part of this year I think really put the nail in the coffin for the industry."
Futures are currently unchanged, but the E-mini was down as much as 12 points less than two hours earlier after the European open when this time it was up to the PBOC to intervene in global markets by pushing the Yuan higher (selling USDCNY via intermediary banks) sending global stocks sharply higher off session lows and leaving the S&P futures virtually unchanged. As Bloomberg reported, there has been increasing USD/CNY selling in afternoon session as Dollar Index edged lower. This is the PBOC entering the building and levitating stocks.