Unfortunately, when central-planners "drag forward" future consumption today, you leave a "void" in the future that must be filled. That future "void" continues to expand each time activity is dragged forward until, inevitably, it can not be filled. This is currently being witnessed in the overall data trends as seen in the deterioration in corporate earnings and revenues. The only question is whether Central Banks can continue to support asset prices long enough for the economic cycle to catch up. Historically, such is a feat that has never been accomplished.
The economy’s capital structure remains imbalanced as a result of the enormous amount of monetary pumping since 2008 (total TMS-2 growth since then: approx. 128%). There is a limit to this though, even if it cannot be quantified. What can be stated though is that the greater the boom, the greater the eventual bust usually is. There are now more and more indications that a decisive inflection point may be quite near.
Having risen along with weakness in broad market surveys (ISM, PMI, NFIB) throughout January, initial jobless claims have plunged twice since (despite the same surveys getting worse) breaking down to 253k in the last week - the lowest since 1973!
NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg cautioned that the small business sector is currently “underperforming, doing little more than operating in maintenance mode.” Although there has been “slow economic growth,” he warned that “there is no exuberance, no optimism and not much hope, the numbers make it clear.”
With oil losing some of its euphoric oomph overnight, following the API report of a surge in US oil inventories, and a subsequent report that Iran's oil minister would skip the Doha OPEC meeting altogether, the global stock rally needed another catalyst to maintain the levitation. It got that courtesy of the return of USDJPY levitation, which has pushed the pair back above 109, the highest in over a week, as well as a boost in sentiment from the previously reported Chinese trade data where exports rose the most in over a year, however much of the bounce was due to a favorable base effect from last year's decline. Additionally, as RBC reported, the 116.5% y/y increase in China’s reported March imports from HK likely reflects the growing trend of "over-invoicing", which is merely another form of capital outflow.
Ever since the beginning of 2016 and especially in the last few weeks, while Hugh Hendry has been chugging horse doses of blue pills, Joe LaVorgna has finally discovered the red pill, and perhaps because he has been focusing a little to much on the performance of the stock price of his employer, or for whatever other reason, gradually Wall Street's biggest bull has mutated into its most outspoken bear.
In recent days, we have observed a distinct trading pattern: a ramp early in the US morning, usually triggered by some aggressive momentum ignition, such as today's unexplained pump then dump in the EURUSD with stocks rising after the European open, rising throughout the US open, then peaking around the time the US closed at which point it is all downhill for the illiquid market. So far today, the pattern has held, and after trading flat for most of the overnight session, with Europe initially in the red perhaps on disappointment about the Italy bank bailout fund, a bout of early Europe-open associated buying pushed US futures up, following the first rebound in the USDJPY after 7 days of declines which also helped the Nikkei close 1.1% higher.
While the market is still enjoying the post-NFP weekly data lull, economic data starts to pick up again in the coming days, alongside the start of the reporting season. Below are this week's key events.
Jobless Claims Surge Most In 2 Years As Challenger Warns Of "Significant" Jump In Retail, Computer LayoffsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/31/2016 08:38 -0400
With both ISM Manufacturing and Services employment indices collapsing, endless headlines of layoffs, Challenger-Grey noting Q1 as the worst since 2009, and NFIB small business hiring weak, it is no surprise that initial jobless claims is finally waking up. For the 3rd week in a row - the longest streak since July 2015. The lasty 3 weeks have seen a 9.1% surge in jobless claims - the biggest such rise since April 2014.
Despite ongoing Central Bank interventions which boost asset prices and acts as a huge wealth transfer tax from the middle class to the rich, corporate earnings are a direct reflection of what is happening in the actual economy. Wall Street has always extrapolated earnings growth indefinitely into the future without taking into account the effects of the normal economic and business cycles. This was the same in 2000 and 2007. Unfortunately, the economy neither forgets nor forgives.
The whole shebang is rigged and rotten – including the financial system. The typical voter doesn’t understand why or how. Who does? But he feels it. Something is wrong; he knows it. And more and more, he wants to say so.
Of course, if things were as good economically as we are told by Wall Street and the mainstream media, would the ECB really be needing to drop further into negative interest rate territory and boost QE? By fully committing to hiking interest rates, and promoting the economic recovery meme, changing direction now would lead to a loss of confidence and a more dramatic swoon in the financial markets. Such an event would create the very recession they are trying to avoid.
With China's Plunge Protection Team having intervened and set a positive spin on another poor session, traders put declines in Asia behind them as European markets rose along with U.S. index futures and commodities. European shares advanced for the first time in three days on speculation the region’s central bank will ramp up monetary stimulus on Thursday. A gauge of raw materials rebounded from its biggest selloff in a month, buoyed by gains in oil and copper. Furthermore, the previously noted selloff in Japanese government bonds - one which triggered circuit breakers and which some speculated may have been precipitated by the BOJ itself - dragged Treasuries and German bunds lower, gold fell a second day and the euro dropped versus most of its major peers.
The last 14 months have seen the biggest slump in small business confidence since the financial crisis. Despite being told about how great the recovery is by authorities, at 92.9, NFIB's optimism index has collapsed to its lowest in 2 years with weakness across the board - from hiring plans to capex spending to real sales expectation. There are two 'people' to blame for this according to NFIB's chief economist - The Fed ("dithering") and Obama ("disinclined to act favorably to small business.")
Bears Exit Hibernation As Rally Fizzles On Dismal Chinese Trade Data; Commodities Slide; Gold HigherSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/08/2016 07:49 -0400
Those algos who scrambled to paint yesterday's closing tape with that last second VIX slam sending the S&P back over 2,000, forgot one thing - the same thing that China also ignored - central bankers can not print trade, something we have repeated since 2011. The world got a harsh reminder of this last night when China reported the third largest drop in exports in history, which crashed by over 25%, the third biggest drop on record, and no, it was not just the base effect from last February's spike, as otherwise the combined January-February data would offset each other, instead it was a joint disaster, meaning one can't blame the Lunar New Year either. In short, one can't really blame anything aside from the real culprit: despite all the lipstick that has been put on it, global trade is grinding to a halt.