Judging by the action today, all that mattered today was 2117.39 - that is the S&P 500's previous closing record high from March 2nd. One glimpse at the charts below and the VIX-slamming is evident (especially at the close) as each time it came close to losing the record high, a miraculous deep-pocketd volatility-seller stepped in...
Great News, the Chinese manufacturing economy is contracting at its fastest pace in a year... at least that is the reaction in the Shanghai Composite. After selling off from the open, when HSBC China Manufacturing PMI printed a considerably worse than expected 49.2 - the lowest since April 2014 - stocks took off, energized the future easing expectations that are assured to come from a PBOC now hell-bent on providing speculative tools for any- and every-one just to keep the populace from revolting.
From 8x over-subscribed to 60c on the dollar in one year: (almost) well played "yield chasers" with other people's money!
Some thoughts on boosting aggregate demand
We simply don’t see any time in the future that would see Americans start spending again at a rate anywhere near what would be required for an economic recovery. However, that is by no means a generally accepted point of view in the financial press; and so these issues must be addressed time and again until people begin to understand, and quit making the wrong decisions for the wrong reasons. People have a right to know what’s truly happening to their lives, and their societies. And they’re not nearly getting enough of it through the ‘official’ press.
Back in April 2013, Apple shocked the world when in a dramatic U-turn to Steve Jobs beliefs, it announced what was "the largest single share repurchase authorization in history" when it boosted its share repurchase authorization to $60 billion from $10 billion. Today, GE did its best to match this number, when it reported that as part of a massive business restructuring, it announced a "new Board authorization of up to $50B buyback." This is how it will fund it.
As auto-loan volumes explode (and terms are extended), many of the post-cash-for-clunkers herd are rapidly coming to the realization that the loan they are carrying (and increasingly not paying) is on a wasting asset. As Goldman Sachs notes, The Manheim Index measured 124.5 in March, essentially used-car prices flat yoy after four consecutive months of solid increases. On a sequential basis, the index posted a 0.5% decline in March, following a 0.2% decline in February, confirming Goldman's expectations for a correction in residual values going forward, driven by rising inventory in the off-lease channel... and this pricing pressure is likely to spill over into new car prices.
It had to happen sooner or later... in the new normal of yield-reaching, collateral-shortage-ing, money-printing economalypse, the Swiss government has become the first ever to issue a 10Y sovereign bond at a negative yield. As WSJ notes, while several European countries have sold government debt at negative yields up to five years of maturity - which means investors effectively pay for the privilege of buying it - no other country has previously stretched this out as long as 10 years. Mission Accomplished Central Bankers?
In a new study, the IMF asks whether there's a global slump in real private investment (spoiler alert: yes there is and it's broad-based and endemic in advanced economies) and also suggests that productivity growth across the globe is likely to remain constrained for the foreseeable future.
First it was Jim Bullard in October, after US equity markets had fallen almost 10%, dropping the only word that matters to headline scanning algos, i.e., "QE4" and suggesting that asset purchases will make a comeback if the market drop continues. And now, with stocks fractions-of-a-percent off record highs, Minneapolis Fed president Narayana Kocherlakota spouts this idiocy: KOCHERLAKOTA: THERE IS EVEN A THEORETICAL ARGUMENT TO BE MADE FOR MAKING ASSET PURCHASES NOW IF ECONOMY FALTERED.
Stocks, rather stunningly, appear to have finally given up responding to this utter farce, and are falling.
Many recent commentaries have noted a distinct devolution in the numerical lies which the U.S. government calls its “economic statistics”. Numbers which used to be mere exaggerations (i.e. used to somewhat mirror the real world) have now become literally perverse: opposite to reality.
Got Pen, Will Govern Dictate...
In the same style as we have grown used to around the world, a major negotiation has ended with all sides claiming victory and no sides offering any actual solutions. Iran proclaims the talks have made "significant progress," yet Western diplomats are saying progress is "limited," only to be confused even more by Iran's Foreign Minister stating that "but still we have not agreed on the reviewed solutions." So in summing it all up, a press conference will be held shortly to explain that 'they agree on the outline of a plan which will pave the way for an agreement but aren't sure how much of the plan or hypothetical agreement they want to share'. New normal geopolitics... no deal is the new deal.
Now we can see the real tragedy of negative interest rates: they not only have the perverse effect of reversing the flow of time, but they demonstrate that borrowers are not acting with the good faith incentives normally associated with someone who needs money. Rather than paying forward, borrowers are paying backwards because they are effectively trying to return something they don’t want. Such an arrangement renders it impossible for an economy to grow. By destroying the temporal and moral structure of money, negative interest rates destroy the economy. When tomorrow cannot be paid, the current regime must fail. The only question to be determined is the form that failure will assume. This may sound like philosophy but it is cold, hard reality.