Remember that one keyword that oddly enough never made it's way into the president's largely recycled SOTU address - "Solyndra"? It is about to make a double or nothing repeat appearance, now that Ener1, another company that was backed by Obama, this time a electric car battery-maker, has filed for bankruptcy. Net result: taxpayers lose $118.5 million. The irony is that while Solyndra may have been missing from the SOTU, Ener1 made an indirect appearance: "In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries." Uh, no. Actually, the correct phrasing is: "...positioned America to be the world's leading manufacturer of insolvent, bloated subsidized entities that are proof central planning at any level does not work but we can keep doing the same idiocy over and over hoping the final result will actually be different eventually." We can't wait to find out just which of Obama's handlers was may have been responsible for this latest gross capital misallocation. In the meantime, the 1,700 jobs "created" with the fake creation of Ener1, have just been lost. Yet nothing, nothing, compares to the irony from the statement issued by the CEO when the company proudly received taxpayer funding on its merry way to insolvency: " "These government incentives will provide a powerful stimulus to a vital industry and help ensure that the batteries eventually powering millions of cars around the world carry the stamp 'Made in the USA'." Brilliant - and no, they are laughing with us, not at us.
The advance reading of Q4 UK GDP released today came in at -0.2%, slightly below expectations, however many market participants had feared a worse outcome for the indicator, allowing the GBP to pare the losses made in the lead-up to the GDP announcement. The Bank of England minutes released today have shown that the MPC unanimously agreed to keep the UK rate at 0.5%, and maintain the volume of the APF, however they also revealed that some MPC members saw the need for further QE in the future. Despite higher than expected German IFO Business Climate data this morning, European indices are trading in negative territory, with technology and financial stocks suffering the highest losses. This has seen asset reallocations into safe havens, which has seen Bunds outperform for the morning.
SOTU Post Mortem:
The best news possible: "Nothing will get done this year, or next year, or maybe even the year after that." Barack Hussein Obama
The worst news: Everything else.
Here is the text of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address as prepared for delivery at 9 p.m. ET. "Jobs" 33 vs. "Fat Cats" 0, Rich 3 vs Poor 1, Hope 2 vs Unicorns 0, Change 9 vs Tooth-Fairy 0, Mortgages 5 vs Apple 0, Main Street 1 vs Wall Street 3, China 4 vs Europe 1; DEBT CEILING 0
Despite German and French Manufacturing and Services PMI data outperforming expectations, European equity indices are trading down at the mid-point of the European session on extended concerns over the still-not-settled Greek PSI agreement. Further downward pressure on German markets came from Siemens’ earnings report earlier this morning, with the company missing their revenue targets and foreseeing a difficult economic environment for them in Q2 of this year. In UK news, despite an unexpected fall in government spending, UK debt has topped the GBP 1tln mark for the first time.
- Fears Mount That Portugal Will Need a Second Bailout (WSJ)
- EU to Have No Deadline for End of Greek Talks (Bloomberg)
- Japan economy predicted to shrink in 2011 (AFP)
- Japan’s Fiscal Pressure Intensifies as Tax-Boost Plan Insufficent: Economy (Bloomberg)
- Berlin ready to see stronger ‘firewall’ (FT)
- Obama Speech to Embrace U.S. Manufacturing Rebirth, Energy for Job Growth (Bloomberg)
- EU Hits Iran With Oil Ban, Bank Asset Freeze in Bid to Halt Nuclear Plan (Bloomberg)
- China's Oil Imports from Iran Jump (WSJ)
- Croatians vote Yes to join EU (FT)
- Japan’s $130 Billion Fund Unused in Biggest M&A Year in More Than Decade (Bloomberg)
- Buffett Blames Congress for Romney’s 15% Rate (Bloomberg)
I believe the translators at CNBC quoted Ms. Lagarde as saying "BUYBUYBUY!"
Macro news from Europe has refuted claims made last week that the ESM fund would be doubled to EUR 1tln, with a German spokesman commenting that the country is not of mind that ESM resources should be increased to that level. Discussions concerning the management of the EFSF and the ESM from German members of parliament have spurred talks that the funds could be run in parallel and even together in an emergency scenario. The ECB’s Weidmann has commented on his confidence in the Eurozone and the German economy, stating that current stagnation is temporary and that we should see a recovery in the Eurozone during 2012. Financial stocks have shown volatility this morning following comments from French and German Finance Ministers that banking regulations may be relaxed under the Basel III agreement, however this was later denied by the German Finance Minister.
- IMF begging ECB for cash, ECB begging Germany for cash... all is well: Lagarde Says Europe Must Boost Firewall (WSJ)
- More rumors of inflation targeting: Bernanke near inflation target prize, but jobs a concern (Reuters)
- A Sears Wager Stings at Goldman (WSJ)
- Draghi Makes Euro Favorite for Most-Profitable Carry Trades With Rate Cuts (Bloomberg)
- Euro zone finance ministers to rule on Greek debt talks (Reuters)
- "Reserve Currency" - Iran Said to Seek Yen Oil Payments From India Amid Sanctions (Bloomberg)
- Hackers-for-Hire Are Easy to Find (WSJ)
- Florida’s Republican Primary Pits Romney Money Against Gingrich Momentum (Bloomberg)
- YouTube hits 4 billion daily video views (Reuters)
- Carnival CEO Lies Low After Wreck (WSJ)
- Fed Forecasts Could Awaken Treasurys (WSJ)
To many walking the planet, fracking has a seriously bad reputation. Thanks to hyperbole and misinformation, fracking opponents have convinced a lot of people that the operators who drill and then hydraulically fracture underground rock layers thumb their noses at and even hate the environment. Anti-fracking claims may be twists on reality – for example, that a legislative loophole makes fracking exempt from the America's Safe Drinking Water Act, when really this federal legislation never regulated fracking because it is a state concern. Then there's the completely absurd, such as the idea that frac operators are allowed to and regularly do inject frac fluids directly into underground water supplies. We decided to set the record straight by using facts, not playing on emotion like many of the frac-tivists do. It's important because unconventional oil and gas constitute an increasingly pivotal part of the world's energy scene. In the United States, where shale gas abounds but imported energy rules the day, this is especially true.
The big news of the day, aside from the idiot rally finally being back on full bore, is that the Obama administration finally pushed Canada's hand in telling it to sell its crude to China instead of the US, which we are confident it will gladly do. Much of this was largely priced on, as was the fact that opportunity for significant job creation was just kicked to the curb. What was not however expected, is that in keeping up with the fine tradition of taking responsibility for his decisions and actions, kinda sorta, America's president said that it was really the republicans whose fault it is that Keystone XL is now and will remain in its blueprint stages. From The Hill: "Obama said he was not acting on the merits of TransCanada Corp.’s plan, but instead was forced to make the decision based on the “arbitrary” deadline mandated by GOP provisions in December’s payroll tax cut extension deal. "As the State Department made clear last month, the rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment," Obama said in a prepared statement. “As a result, the Secretary of State has recommended that the application be denied. And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree,” Obama added. In other words, do you remember where you were when the republicans blocked the Keystone Pipeline?
- Here we go again: IMF Said to Seek $1 Trillion Resource-Boost Amid Euro Crisis (Bloomberg)
- China said to Tell banks to Restrict Lending as Local Officials Seek Funds (Bloomberg)
- EU to Take Legal Action Against Hungary (FT)
- Portugal Yields Fall in Auction of Short-Term Debt (Reuters)
- US Natural Gas Prices at 10-Year Low as Warm Weather Weakens Demand (Reuters)
- German Yield Falls in Auction of 2-Year Bonds (Reuters)
- World Bank Slashes Global GDP Forecasts, Outlook Grim (Reuters)
- Why the Super-Marios Need Help (Martin Wolf) (FT)
- Chinese Vice Premier Stresses Government Role in Improving People's Livelihoods (Xinhua)