At first we thought Reuters had been punk'd in its article titled "EU executive sees personal savings used to plug long-term financing gap" which disclosed the latest leaked proposal by the European Commission, but after several hours without a retraction, we realized that the story is sadly true. Sadly, because everything that we warned about in "There May Be Only Painful Ways Out Of The Crisis" back in September of 2011, and everything that the depositors and citizens of Cyprus had to live through, seems on the verge of going continental. In a nutshell, and in Reuters' own words, "the savings of the European Union's 500 million citizens could be used to fund long-term investments to boost the economy and help plug the gap left by banks since the financial crisis, an EU document says." What is left unsaid is that the "usage" will be on a purely involuntary basis, at the discretion of the "union", and can thus best be described as confiscation.
Caterpillar just can't catch a break. First, in January the firm was punk'd by a Chinese acquisition fraud, forcing the company to write off half of its Q4 earnings. This, of course, in the aftermath of the miss in both Q3 and Q4 earnings. And now we get the latest disappointing news from the firm as Q1 numbers are reported lower across the board.
- Q1 EPS $1.31, Exp $1.38; this includes a tax benefit of $87 million
- Q1 revenue: $13.2 billion, Exp. $13.8 billion
- Guides much lower, with revenue now seen at $57-61 billion, compared to $60-68 billion previously
- CAT forecasts profit per share of $7.00, compared to $7.00-9.00 previously.
- Operating cash flow of $900MM, but all of it generated from net working capital, i.e., inventory liquidation
- And when you can't spend on capex, you spend on buybacks: CAT to extend buyback through 2015
So much for that.
Perhaps the only thing more spectacular than being punk'd by a rogue shareholder who uses the proxy statement of one of the world's biggest financial firms as a public venue for some quite disturbing humor, is that nobody in the US has decided to do this to the hated US financials firms. Yet.
Yesterday we had Apple sandbagging expectations with yet another round of low guidance, now it's Iran's turn, which through its Russian Ambassador just said the country will consider halting nuclear expansion to avert the EU oil ban. Needless to say, just as the Apple forward guidance so this "promise" is utterly worthless. But at least it punk'd the algos for the time being sending Brent and WTI down over $1 in a hurry.
EURUSD longs just got punk'd again, with the EURUSD surging to over 1.32 on the fake BLS number (1.2 million labor force decline, whatever, with ), when it collapsed by 100 pips as the news we tweeted earlier that Greek PM Papademos may resign today throwing the entire Greek bailout out of the window, if his talks for further austerity fail. From Kathimerini: "Papademos is expected to meet PASOK’s George Papandreou, New Democracy’s Antonis Samaras and Giorgos Karatzaferis of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) on Saturday. The three politicians will have to agree on measures that will satisfy Greece’s lenders and pave the way for a new bailout. Sources told Kathimerini that the troika is demanding that the minimum wage of 751 euros per month (gross) be reduced and that labor costs in the private sector drop by 25 percent in a bid to help Greece regain competitiveness. Skai TV and radio reported on Friday that should the leaders fail to agree a deal, he will tender his resignation on Monday." And just to make the confusion complete, Jean Claude Juncker just announced there would be no Eurogroup meeting on February 6. So while the market is celebrating the rotation of banker jobs with minimum wage jobs, Greece may be on the verge of blowing up Europe.