We can hear the mainstream media now - "Great News Everyone!! The American consumer is back" - online sales on Black Friday rose 10% to $1.7 billion which ComScore says shows "strong spending." The only problem is - which we suspect will be oddly missing from the mainstream narrative, as ShopperTrak reports total sales on Black Friday crashed 10% to $10.4 billion. While blame has been placed on early opening on Thanksgiving, that is false too since spending on that day also plunged 10%. So, the sales news is unequivocally bad - which is hardly surprising given the collapse in consumer confidence.
The just concluded 13-F bonanza shows that "some of the world’s top hedge fund managers scaled back their U.S. stock investments last quarter as markets tumbled." Below, courtesy of Bloomberg, is the full summary of what the most prominent hedge fund names did in Q3...
The perennial hopes of a strong retail shopping season are once again upon us. Given the current deflationary backdrop, small business spending pessimism, the sharp decline in imports and weak wage growth, it is quite likely that actual retail sales will likely disappoint the NRF's forecast of a "shopping season significantly above the 10-year average." But it is truly important to remember that for retailers all #BlackFridaysMatter
Despite the absence of bad weather, good weather, port strikes, and snow, The National Retail Federation today slashed its retail sales forecast for 2015 from 4.1% growth to just 3.5%. Sales grew at a 2.9% pace in the first half of 2015 and hope remains that the next 5 months show growth of 3.7% (with same store sales growth revised lower). The excuse reason for this markdown..."spending has been hampered by lackluster growth in our economy. Much of that blame can be shifted to Washington where too much time has been spent crafting rules and regulations that almost guarantee negative consequences for consumers and American businesses alike."
- China Lowers Growth Target to About 7% (WSJ)
- Obesity Is Hurting the U.S. Economy in Surprising Ways (BBG)
- Embattled Hillary Clinton urges State Department to release emails (Reuters)
- Washington Strips New York Fed’s Power (WSJ)
- U.S. Supreme Court split over Obamacare challenge (Reuters)
- Citigroup Loses $800 Million as It Exits Turkey’s Akbank (BBG)
- Justice Who Once Tried to Kill Obamacare Now Potential Savior (BBG)
- Buyers of Espírito Santo Debt Face Financial Uncertainty (WSJ)
- 3 days after Zero Hedge, here's Bloomberg: Company Cash Bathes Stocks as Monthly Buybacks Set Record (BBG)
- Israel's Netanyahu to address Congress in speech that has strained ties with Obama (Reuters), Risks Diplomatic, Political Pain If Speech Falls Flat (BBG)
- Before Key Speech, Netanyahu Hails U.S. Ties (WSJ)
- $1.92 bilion FX rigging charge: Barclays Posts Loss as Foreign-Exchange Provisions Rise (WSJ)
- Barclays Awards Jenkins First Bonus as CEO, Cuts Pay Pool (BBG)
- Exxon’s Russia Exposure Surges as Long View Outweighs Sanctions (BBG)
- Obama says Iran must halt key nuclear work for at least a decade (Reuters)
- Yellen Turning from Friend to Foe for Dollar Bulls (BBG)
It's a miracle... give the worst creditors access to cheap money for longer-and-longer terms and hey presto... 'expensive' stuff is available to everyone. Retail sales modestly beat expectations in November (+0.7% vs +0.6% expectations) - sending USDJPY spiking to confirm what great news this is. The driver of all this exuberance... Vehicle sales +1.7% MoM. Oddly, for all those prognosticators looking for windfall tax cuts from the oil price plunge, gasoline station sales dropped only 0.8% MoM - not exactly the consumption-boosting exuberance every talking head proclaims.. These numbers appear to be clearly in the "Fed wants to hike" narrative.
Houston, we have a problem-er. With a third of S&P 500 capital expenditure due from the imploding energy sector (and with over 20% of the high-yield market dominated by these names), paying attention to any inflection point in the US oil-producers is critical as they have been gung-ho "unequivocally good" expanders even as oil prices began to fall. So, when Reuters reports a drop of almost 40 percent in new well permits issued across the United States in November, even The Fed's Stan Fischer might start to question his lower oil prices are "a phenomenon that’s making everybody better off," may warrant a rethink. New permits, which indicate what drilling rigs will be doing 60-90 days in the future, showed steep declines for the first time this year across the top three U.S. onshore fields: the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford in Texas and North Dakota's Bakken shale.
First it was Shoppertrak, then it was the National Retail Federation, then it was IBM, and now, with its own set of internal data, here is Bank of America slamming the door shut on US retail spending as a source of Q4 growth, and proving once and for all that the extended Thanksgiving-weekend, and the start to US holiday spending season, was the biggest dud since Lehman.
Prepare to hear much more of the "retail spending slowed down because the economy is just too strong" excuses today, used most hilariously by the NRF on Sunday to explain the unprecedented 11% collapse in the 2014 4-day holiday weekend spend, when pundits "justify" why Cyber Monday sales were only the latest proof the US consumer - that 70% driver of US GDP - is being crushed day after day, pardon, basking in the warm glow of America's centrally-planned golden age. Here are the facts: Internet holiday shopping rose only 8.1% on Cyber Monday yesterday, usually the busiest day for Web shopping as people return to their desks after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday weekend. This was a big miss to expectations, and is less than half then growth posted just last year, when online sales grew at 17.5%, according to IBM.
For the 3rd month in a row, US Manufacturing PMI dropped from 4-year highs to 10-month lows. At 54.8, missing expectations of 55.0 (and down from 55.9) for the 5th month of the last 6 as extrapolated hopes fade into the usual cyclical un-decoupled collapse into year-end (but ignore NRF data). Sadly for the bullish decoupling meme, Markit notes, "the principal cause of the slowdown is a renewed downturn in export orders, which fell for the first time since January." So, amid all of this doom, ISM then beat expectations, printing 58.7 vs 58.0 expectations (down slightly from October's 59.0 print) led by - rather ironically - new export orders surging... US data has gone full China.
The Macro Mauling Continues: Germany Contracts, Japan Downgraded, Copper Tumbles, WTI Lowest Since 2009, Gold UpSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/01/2014 07:19 -0500
Another day full of global macroeconomic disappointments is certain to send the S&P500 to all time-higherest records as 100,000 or so E-mini contracts exchange hands between central banks and Citadel's algos.
Retail Disaster: Holiday Sales Crater by 11%, Online Spend Declines: NRF Blames Shopping Fiasco On "Stronger Economy"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/30/2014 22:09 -0500
“A highly competitive environment, early promotions and the ability to shop 24/7 online all contributed to the shift witnessed this weekend,” Mr. Shay said.
"US private investment spending is usually ~15% of US GDP or $2.8trn now. This investment consists of $1.6trn spent annually on equipment and software, $700bn on non-residential construction and a bit over $500bn on residential. Equipment and software is 35% technology and communications, 25-30% is industrial equipment for energy, utilities and agriculture, 15% is transportation equipment, with remaining 20-25% related to other industries or intangibles. Non-residential construction is 20% oil and gas producing structures and 30% is energy related in total. We estimate global investment spending is 20% of S&P EPS or 12% from US. The Energy sector is responsible for a third of S&P 500 capex."