Back in the summer of 2011 during the debt ceiling debacle, S&P did the unthinkable: it dared to speak the truth when it downgraded the US from its pristine AAA rating, setting off a stock market selloff and paradoxically sending bonds to record low yields. This resulted in a vindictive Tim Geithner promptly warning the Chairman of McGraw-Hill the US would retaliate (which it did), the termination of then CEO Devan Sharma (and his replacement with the all too friendly COO of Citibank), and most importantly, a still ongoing legal fight in which the DOJ sued S&P (and only S&P, not Moody's, not Fitch) allegedly for rating improprieties during the first housing bubble, but even 5 year olds knew it was just to teach S&P a lesson. Today we learn just what the cost is for anyone who dares to downgrade the US. The answer: $1,000,000,000. That is the amount that S&P has decided it will agree to pay in a settlement with the DOJ to put all this "truthiness" unpleasantness behind it.
- BRICS set up bank to counter Western hold on global finances (Reuters)
- Fed's Yellen Hedges Her View on Rates (Hilsenrath)
- China GDP Grows 7.5% in Second Quarter (WSJ)
- Get More Acquainted With Your Knees as Boeing Reworks 737 (BBG)
- Israel Warns Gazans of New Attack After Hamas Rejects Truce (WSJ)
- Israel poised for Gaza incursions after truce collapses (Reuters)
- China Housing Sales Fall in First Half of 2014 (WSJ)
- IBM to offer iPads and iPhones for business users (Reuters)
- Fed's George says strengthening economy warrants quick rate rise (Reuters)
Remember when everyone ignored this story about Espirito Santo in May: "Portugal's Largest Bank "In Serious Financial Condition" Auditor Warns." Good times. Alas, one can only kick the can of Europe's banking sector insolvency so far before everything blows up in everyone''s face all over again and Draghi has to come out of his crypt and spook everyone that he will do "whatever it takes" to ignore reality and just pretend stuff is fixed which carries Europe over for a few more months before the whole charade has to be repeated.
"Bye, bye, Abe" Just when you thought Japanese macro data couldn't get any worse... it does. Plumbing new depths in the "you can't print your way to prosperity" plan, Japanese Private Sector Machine Orders collapsed 19.5% month-over-month - the largest monthly drop ever (as the dragged-forward pre-tax-hike demand left a hole the size of Fukushima behind it). With Abe's disapproval ratings soaring and inflation surging, hopes for more 'bad news is good news' QQE should be quickly dismissed.
FDIC: “the largest positive contribution to the year-over-year change in earnings came from reduced loan-loss provisions..."
Just when you thought things could not get any worse for Abe and his experimentation in monetary policy alchemy... it does. Between surging inflation and stagnant wage growth, real wages for the Japanese fell by their most since the collapse of Lehman. Even the break of a 23-month streak of base wage drops was dismissed by the government as "expected to be revised lower." As Goldman warns, downside economic risks remain high, the J-curve is 'delayed', and with tumbling cabinet approval ratings and soaring personal disapproval ratings, Abe has a major problem on his hands...
Obama Worst President Since World War II, More Say US Would Be Better Under Romney, Latest Poll FindsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/02/2014 12:58 -0500
The president is increasingly finding that telling the Mr. Chairmanwoman to rig the market to all time highs does not translate to a comparable popularity rating. In fact, just the opposite. While Obama's slide in the polls is nothing new, the latest data from the Quinnipiac University Poll is about as bad as it gets for the president: in fact, perhaps the only thing more shocking than Obama "surpassing" George W. Bush as the worst president since World War II is the onset of revisionism, with some 45% saying the US would have been better with Romney as president, compared to just 38% who say Obama remains the better choice. Which incidentally confirms what we reported yesterday: while the Republican view of Obama has certainly never been lower, what is worse is that even the core democrat faithful are now giving up on the hope and change bringer, confirmed by the latest Gallup poll which saw democrat confidence in the economy tumbling to the lowest level for 2014.
"If past is indeed sometimes prologue, this simple chart might be hinting that a rally similar in arithmetical range and time-span – if not in percentage gain – to the Tech bubble itself is becoming dangerously overripe and that, if so, the most propitious time to effect an exit is not when the fat lady interrupts her warbling of the anthem to shriek, 'Fire!' at the audience instead."
- Obama Administration Widens Export Potential for U.S. Oil (BBG)
- WTI Pares Gains as U.S. Export Ruling Seen Limited (BBG)
- Senator Cochran defeats Tea Party rival in Mississippi Republican runoff (Reuters)
- Militants attack Iraq air base, U.S. assessment teams deploy (Reuters)
- Maliki rules out national emergency govt (AFP)
- Koch to Start EU Power Trading as It Plans LNG Expansion (BBG)
- Obama Said to Ready Sanctions on Russian Industries (BBG)
- Ghana Sends Plane With $3 Million to Calm World Cup Team (BBG)
- Ghana’s First Hedge Fund Planned by Ex-Exchange Regulator (BBG)
- SEC Is Gearing Up to Focus on Ratings Firms (WSJ)
- Abe Declares Deflation End as Growth Plan Confronts Skeptics (BBG)
According to the latest Nielsen Media Research data, in the second quarter of 2014, CNBC viewership for all viewers just dropped to 162,000 - a new (and depressing for Comcast) low, on par with CNBC's viewership from Q2 of 1997! Where things get funny is when one looks at the ratings of that consummate entertainer, that self-appointed "voice of the people", Jim Cramer. Sadly for Cramer, the people are now gone. Because also according to Nielsen Jim Cramer's Mad Money show just had its lowest ever rated month in the 25-54 demo, and is about to have its second lowest rated month ever across total viewers.
One month ago we showed that when it comes to the cost of basic (and not so basic) health insurance, the US is by far the most expensive country in the world and certainly among its "wealthy-nation"peers. It would be logical then to think that as a result of this premium - the biggest in the world - the quality of the healthcare offered in the US among the best, if not the best, in the world. Unfortunately, that would be wrong and, in fact, the reality is the complete opposite: as a recent study by the Commonweath Fund, looking at how the US healthcare system compares internationally, finds, "the U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries, and as shown in the earlier editions, the U.S. is last or near last on dimensions of access, efficiency, and equity." In other words: most expensive, yet worst in the developed world.
In a video leaked by someone who happened to be working out at the same hotel gym as President Obama, the world got a peak into the exercise routine of the most powerful man on earth. The President is surrounded by some of the best and smartest advisors in the country, but apparently none of them is a personal trainer, as his approach and technique leave a lot to be desired. But he is in luck, we're here to help...
The Army general who oversaw the U.S. military’s surge of troops into Iraq in 2007 issued a stark warning Wednesday on any further military action. As WaPo reports, Retired Gen. David Petraeus says a number of preconditions should be met before Washington intervenes in the growing crisis - the United States should not offer military support unless Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (whoc has stated "it's too late fort regret," is able to adjust political conditions there so that his Shiite-led government is seen as fair and representative throughout the country. The bottom line, he warns, "this cannot be the United States being the air force for Shia militias or a Shia on Sunni Arab fight. It has to be a fight of all of Iraq against extremists."
There has been a lot of money made by being patient waiting for the events to play out, and then coming in and shorting the Oil Markets the last five years.
What Obama wants, he appears to get. As AP reports, the U.S. Patent Office has ruled the Washington Redskins nickname is "disparaging of Native Americans" and that the team's federal trademarks for the name must be canceled. We note that this decision is based on the fact that 30% of Native Americans believed the term 'Redskins' to be disparaging (not a majority). Which leaves us questioning when the Federal Government will see the New York Giants as disparaging of tall people and The Oakland Raiders as disaparaging of pirates... welcome to the new normal. We wonder (rhetorically of course) if this latest Redskins escalation is supposed to distract from Ukraine, Iraq, Bergdahl, IRS, Benghazi, or approval ratings?