Chaos reigns, with contradictory headlines pushing and pulling futures in any one direction, only for the next headline to undo the previous one. And only headline scanning frontrunning algos have any chance of trading any of this...
And it started off all so well: the market, blissfully ignoring what we wrote just yesterday in Why The IMF Will Reject The Latest Greek Proposal In Just Two Numbers, was in full blown levitation mode overnight when it sent Japanese stocks to their highest close since 1996 (pre dot com) and with the Chinese central bank doing its best to keep levitating local stocks away from the abyss, pushing the SHCOMP up another 2.5%. Euro Stoxx 50 went from flat to down 1% and is bouncing. As BBG's Richard Breslow adds, predictably, the market is taking this as a ploy, not an end game. Of course, this is precisely the "Bear Stearns is fine" conventional wisdom that Cramer was spewing days before Bear failed because nobody could fathom how anyone can conceive of a worst case scenario. Only it isn't nobody: we reported before of a Goldman's "Conspiracy Theory" Stunner: A Greek Default Is Precisely What The ECB Wants.
Greek end hogame is at hand. US economy is gaining momentum--consumption, capex, and housing. Several equity markets are at cross-roads.
The idea of an imminent US recession may seem moot as all the self-proclaimed experts and talking heads still acts as we are well into a recovery and patiently waiting for the forthcoming escape velocity which will take care of all ills plaguing today’s over-indebted society. Never do they stop to think about why things looks as dismal as they do. The sheer scale of the backwardness shown in such gross economic illiteracy suggest to us there is ulterior motives behind so-called Keynesian economic theories. Comparing GDP with cumulative goods sold and inventory accumulation since 2000 should tell you everything you need to know. The US economy is now on the verge of a new recession.
When and what will break the chains on gold by those seemingly omnipotent forces that so assuredly keep its price in check? In essence, the belief is (and I expect for most honest and impartial analysts this is true) that because there is potentially significant downside risk to a global monetary system built upon a currency to which gold represents the proverbial kryptonite (we’ll discuss why), there are checks in place within the system, to ensure that kryptonite doesn’t become too potent. The architects of the existing system would have been foolish not to implement checks on gold.
It just blows our mind, that in the face of almost every indicator having collapsed over the first 6 months of this year, market ‘pros’ just act as though it isn’t happening! It’s impressive to watch the insanity, the denial, the delusion, that has become the basis of the steady state market. What is continuing is us extending ourselves again on the very assumption that the American Consumer will rebound to its peak strength. Because there are those few all powerful economic cannibals that profit on policy rather than economics, we will continue down this flawed path until the legend of the Almighty American Consumer succumbs to reality. And that day my friends will be an ugly one for the record books.
Currently, there are things occurring that are very troublesome, and in more normal times, would likely already have investors heading for cover. However, in today's liquidity fueled, Central Bank supported environment, that has yet to be the case. The reason was best described recently by Dr. Robert Shiller "I call this the 'new normal' boom ó it's a funny boom in asset prices because it's driven not by the usual exuberance but by an anxiety." What happens next is only a guess. However, historically, it hasn't been the outcome that investors were hoping for. But then again, maybe "bearish bull" isn't as much of an oxymoron as it is just a warning.
The reason why "investing" in the economy in the form of government spending always, without fail, leads to adverse results and negative returns, is because unlike the private sector, there are neither checks and balances, nor punishment if one fails at their job. Case in point, the much maligned Transportation Security Administration, aka the TSA, best known for groping women and infants at airport checkpoints is about to be even more maligned because according to an exclusive report from ABC, TSA screeners failed ailed to detect mock explosives and weapons in 95% of tests carried out by undercover agents.
This is not what the American Dream is made of... US consumers got a generous 0.4% rise in incomes in April - better than the 0.3% expectation - but none of it was spent! Personal Spending was unchanged - missing expectations for the 5th month of last 6. What this means is obvious, Americans are saving more (savings rate surged from 5.2% to 5.6%) and spending less... this is not the wealth effect creating 70%-of-GDP-consuming world that The Fed's textbooks say it should be...
The most prominent market event overnight was once again the action in China's penny-index, which after tumbling at the open and briefly entering a 10% correction from the highs hit just two days ago, promptly saw the BTFDers rush in, whether retail, institutional or central bankers, and after rebounding strongly from the -3% lows, the SHCOMP closed practically unchanged following a 2% jump to complete yet another 5% intraday swing on absolutely no news, but merely concerns what the PBOC is doing with liquidity, reverse repos, margin debt, etc. Needless to say, this is one of the world's largest stock markets, not the Pink Sheets.
The largest problem with the data sets below is that they are all subject to large historical revisions. This is why the NBER is ALWAYS well after the fact in pronouncing the start and end of recessions in the U.S. economy. Given the ongoing interventions from the Federal Reserve and the current administration, it is likely that many of the statistics, and seasonal adjustment metrics, have been skewed in recent years. In the quarters ahead it is likely that we could see rather sharp adjustments to historical data which may suggest the economy has been far weaker than headline statistics have suggested.
It could go up, or it could go down.
The world economy is in the grips of a dangerous delusion. As the great boom that began in the 1990s gave way to an even greater bust, policymakers resorted to the timeworn tricks of financial engineering in an effort to recapture the magic. In doing so, they turned an unbalanced global economy into the Petri dish of the greatest experiment in the modern history of economic policy. They were convinced that it was a controlled experiment. Nothing could be further from the truth.
"What investors need to know today is that they are currently priced just as high as they were back then! The problem is they once again want their cake and to eat it, too. Despite paying an extremely high price for stocks today they also expect a high rate of return. A few recent polls show investors expecting to get 10% per year from their equity investments right now. Some are even expecting to generate twice that much and there’s just no chance it’s going to happen."
What surprised even us is that far from subtracting from GDP growth, the harsh winter actually boosted consumption, in the form of utiility (mostly heating) spending, which made up the second largest increase in personal consumption in the first quarter. Because, to every economist's cries of horror, freezing weather while perhaps reducing discretionary spending actually boosts spending on such mundane, if very expensive, tasks as utilities which, to the same economists, also translates into growth.