The chart below from the WSJ, summarizes perfectly the hell that US retailers find themselves in. In brief: sales down and inventories soaring, means liquidation sales have to surge, while profits and cash flows crater.
Even if you don't have a Nobel Prize, it should be glaringly apparent to anyone with half a brain - the financial markets have been soaring while the overall economy has been stagnating. Despite assurances from the mainstream media and the Federal Reserve that everything is just fine, many Americans are beginning to realize that we have seen this movie before. We saw it during the dotcom bubble, and we saw it during the lead up to the horrible financial crisis of 2008. So precisely when will the bubble burst this time? Nobody knows for sure, but without a doubt this irrational financial bubble will burst at some point. Remember, a bubble is always the biggest right before it bursts, and the following are 15 signs that we are near the peak of an absolutely massive stock market bubble...
As we showed very vividly yesterday, while the world is comfortably distracted with mundane questions of whether the Fed will taper this, the BOJ will untaper that, or if the ECB will finally rebel against an "oppressive" German regime - with $3.5 trillion in asset (and debt) creation per year, is China. China, however, is increasingly aware that in the grand scheme of things, its credit spigot is the marginal driver of global liquidity, which is great of the rest of the world, but with an epic accumulation of bad debt and NPLs, all the downside is left for China while the upside is shared with the world. Which is why it was not surprising to learn that China has drafted rules banning banks from evading lending limits by structuring loans to other financial institutions so that they can be recorded as asset sales. And while we are confident Chinese financial geniuses will find ways to bypass this attempt to curb breakneck credit expansion in due course, in the meantime, Chinese liquidity conditions are certain to get far tighter. This is precisely the WSJ reported overnight, when it observed that yields on Chinese government debt have soared to their highest levels in nearly nine years amid Beijing's relentless drive to tighten the monetary spigots in the world's second-largest economy.
The third stage of bull markets, the mania phase, can last longer and go farther that logic would dictate. However, the data suggests that the risk of a more meaningful reversion is rising. It is unknown, unexpected and unanticipated events that strike the crucial blow that begins the market rout. Unfortunately, due to the increased impact of high frequency and program trading, reversions are likely to occur faster than most can adequately respond to. This is the danger that exists today. Are we in the third phase of a bull market? Most who read this article will say "no." However, those were the utterances made at the peak of every previous bull market cycle.
The death of the dollar is coming, and it will probably be China that pulls the trigger. What you are about to read is understood by only a very small fraction of all Americans. Right now, the U.S. dollar is the de facto reserve currency of the planet. Most global trade is conducted in U.S. dollars, and almost all oil is sold for U.S. dollars. More than 60 percent of all global foreign exchange reserves are held in U.S. dollars, and far more U.S. dollars are actually used outside of the United States than inside of it. As will be described below, this has given the United States some tremendous economic advantages, and most Americans have no idea how much their current standard of living depends on the dollar remaining the reserve currency of the world. Unfortunately, thanks to reckless money printing by the Federal Reserve and the reckless accumulation of debt by the federal government, the status of the dollar as the reserve currency of the world is now in great jeopardy.
If mere hope of an "imminent" deal starting on Thursday and continuing through Monday, with no actual deal but who cares about details, was enough to push the DJIA up by 600 points, then all it would take to set a new record market high today, is for another day to pass - one day before the October 17 X-Date when one Senator can filibuster the US through the deadline on their own, and when the House still has to have a voice on what the Senate has been doing - without an actual debt deal. After all, the market is so "centrally-planned" all that is needed is knowledge that Bernanke will get to work, and is getting to work to the tune of $85 billion a month, mixed in with some hope. And with today's "market for idiots" facilitating POMO of over $5 billion which guarantees a green close, all that is needed is a complete failure in talks for the SPX to go limit up on even more hopes things will be fine any second now... if not right now.
Markets are so obsessed by developments with the US debt ceiling, that absolutely nobody noticed that the Japanese Current Account (JPY152Bn, Exp. JPY520bn), Industrial Outuput in Spain (-2.0%, Exp. -1.6%), Factory Orders in Germany (-0.3%, Exp. +1.2%), Trade Balance in Germany (€13.1bn, Exp. €15.0 bn) and that the Jan-Aug tax revenue in Greece below expectations by 5.7%, all missed horribly, and that for all the talk of a European recovery (which was merely driven by a brief surge in Chinese credit spending making its way into the European pipeline) is once again fully and entirely premature. But with Congress on everyone's mind, even increasingly China and Japan, who cares about fundamentals: after all there is a Federal Reserve to mask the fact that nothing but liquidity injections matters. Even if that means a complete collapse in the actual economy as those separated from the Fed by one or more layers of banks, crash and burn.
Despite the president's tongue-in-cheek warning to Wall Street that this time it's different, and it that "it should be concerned", that same Wall Street continues to roundly mock his attempts to talk it lower on the third day of America's "shutdown", knowing very well that if things ever turn bad, Mr. Chairman, aka the S&P chief risk officer, will get to work, and rescue everyone from that pesky thing known as losses. Whether the offsetting optimism was driven by made up China non-manufacturing PMI rising from 53.9 to 55.4, the highest in six months, or just as made up non-core European PMI data which also beat expectations despite Germany Services PMI continuing to telegraph a weakness, dropping from 54.4 to 53.7, is unknown and once again not important. So while futures are modestly lower if only until such time as the daily 3:58pm VIX slam takes place just before market close, do not expect any major moves in stocks until either the GOP finally folds and lets Obama have his way, or bundles all shutdown legislation into the debt ceiling negotiation, and careens the US right into the debt ceiling deadline on October 17 without any legislation in place.
Following Nomura's estimate of a 40% chance of government shutdown yesterday, thanks to the pending vote for the Republican's "Obamacare-Delay" bill, Democrats note the odds of a shutdown of the government are now at 90%. A Democratic congressional aide added, "the only reason I’m not putting it at 100 percent is because nothing’s certain in American politics." As we previously noted, this likely means the Fed will be flying blind at their next meeting with the BLS unable to "manufacture" jobs data for them to make their judgments.
In a world in which everyone has become an ultra-short term pathological gambler, and every outcome is a zero-sum prop bet, it was only a matter of time before someone tried to quantify the probability of the event that the market (for some inexplicable reason) is so transfixed on: the government shutdown (inexplicable, because anything more than a few day shutdown risks a full blown mutiny by the tens of millions of government workers). So without further ado, here is Nomura, with its "estimate" of a government shutdown on October 1: 40%.
China Beige Book Exposes Government Lies: "Conventional Wisdom Of Economic Expansion In China Seriously Flawed"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/25/2013 06:58 -0500
There are facts; then there are completely fabricated, made up numbers. And then there is Chinese "data." After having been exposed in the past several years countless times on these pages alone as being absolute manipulated propaganda hogwash, it is amazing that anyone, anywhere still believes anything to come out of the official Beijing mouthpiece, which merely adjusts a few variable cells in the big central planning goalseeking excel spreadsheet and reports the answer. Yet the recent myth of a China "rebound" is one of the factors why stocks recently hit fresh all time highs: forget all that stuff about a CNY1 trillion deleveraging (yes, China's credit bubble is still the biggest in the world) - all that matters is made up garbage. Well, it may be more difficult this time. As Bloomberg reports, a "Beige Book" survey of the Chinese economy conducted in late August showed that "China’s economy slowed this quarter as growth in manufacturing and transportation weakened in contrast with official signs of an expansion pickup, a private survey showed." Surprise: China was lying again.
Merkel Wins Federal Election But Coalition Partner Below Bundestag Threshold: Final Outcome Too Close To CallSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/22/2013 11:17 -0500
While the outcome of the election from the perspective of "the grand coalition" is still too close to call, Exit polls make it clear that Merkels CDU/CSU party has won the election with 42.5% of the vote. However, there are some very interesting results that could be a problem for Europe's 'program-based' nations: GERMAN AFD TAKES 4.8% IN FEDERAL ELECTION, ZDF EXIT POLL SHOWS; GERMAN FDP TAKES 4.5% IN FEDERAL ELECTION, ZDF EXIT POLL SHOWS. So the anti-Euro party has more votes (nearly the 5% required to enter the Bundestag) than Merkel's current coalition partner FDP party which creates major uncertainty over the forming of a coalition (which took 3 weeks in 2005) - which as we noted seemed to priced into Greek stocks on Friday. The pirate party is projected to have 2.5% of the vote. If the anti-Euro AfD enters the parliaments, a "Grand Coalition" appears inevitable. However, if it does not cross the 5% threshold, Merkel may end up with an absolute majority in the Bundestag and will not nead a coalition partner.
- Government has too much debt to issue more debt
- Government nationalizes private pension funds making their debt holdings an "asset" and commingles with other public assets
- New confiscated assets net out sovereign debt liability, lowering the debt/GDP ratio
- Debt/GDP drops below threshold, government can issue more sovereign debt
While many begrudge the rise in interest rates and their concomittant tightening of financial conditions, Nomura's George Concalves notes that the move has been a "blessing in disguise" for most long-only bond investors. Insurance companies and pension-funds, who need 'yield' to cover long-term liabilities, have been underweight since the Fed began Operation Twist (on the basis of the yield became too compressed) but the recent sell-off in Treasuries (which does not reflect any asset-allocation or great rotation since stocks have been just as weak) enabled these funds to put money to work. This helps to explain the very notable flattening in the yield curve (5s30s -17bps in the last week) as duration extension is more economically attractive. Concalves suggests Taper fears are overdone and that should rates back up another 25bps, there is more dry-powder to put to work in bonds.
- Lew warns Congress to strike debt ceiling deal (FT)
- Central-Bank Moves Blur the View (WSJ)
- Brazil, Indonesia launch measures to shore up their currencies (FT)
- More mainstream media reminded about Fukushima - Radioactive ground water under Fukushima nears sea (AP)
- Fukushima inspectors 'careless', Japan agency says, as nuclear crisis grows (Reuters)
- New York Banker Arrested on Rape Charges in East Hampton (NYT)
- This time they mean business, for real: CFTC Moves to Rein In High-Speed Traders (WSJ)
- Britain operates secret monitoring station in Middle East (Reuters)
- Moody’s considers downgrading top US banks (FT)
- China's Bo calls wife mad after she testifies against him (Reuters)
- JPMorgan Sub-New Normal Growth Seen Vexing Next Fed Chief (BBG)
- SEC calls for cooling-off period for more staff (Reuters)