"Not everyone went down with The Titanic..."
Credit Suisse has released a reported titled "Client perspectives: lost and bearish" in which it lists the 12 bricks of the global wall of worry and adds that "this is the first time that we have come across so many people who say they are completely 'lost' in the current environment." So, to help out those who just have to be in this market yet share the same total confusion, here is BofA listing what the two key trading camps in the market: "the consensus" and "the contrarians" are doing.
- McDonald’s Close to Deciding Whether to Change Structure of U.S. Real Estate (WSJ)
- Stocks Rise as Stimulus Bets Spur $4.1 Trillion Gain; Oil Climbs (BBG)
- Wall Street bonuses likely to plunge as trading revenue drops (Reuters)
- Syrian army launches Aleppo offensive with Iranian support (Reuters)
- Malaysia’s Najib Razak Played Key Role at Troubled 1MDB Investment Fund (WSJ)
- VW Loses Market Share in Europe as Diesel-Motor Recalls Loom (BBG)
One year ago we reported that companies were using secured bank debt to repurchase stock: a stunning, foolhardy development. It so unbelievable we promptly forgot this bizarre tangent into "use of loan funds"... Until today when we found that it was, indeed, all a lie and that the banks themselves had become complicit in perpetuating not only the worst possible capital misallocation, but being an accessory to the US stagnation, soon to be replaced with full-blown recession.
If housing tanks, the last prop under the veneer of middle class wealth collapses. No wonder the Powers That Be are so desperate to prop up housing. But the bubbles and busts they've engineered are integral to credit/asset booms; their goal--a steady, permanent rise in prices that never falters--simply isn't possible.
The "engine of our economy", the "cradle of innovation", the "land of tomorrow" -- whatever breathless hyperbole the fawning media is using this week -- is a sham. Silicon Valley has become a factory of hype, funneling gobs of early-stage capital into whatever half-credible concepts it can think of, and then pimping the artificially-inflated initial results of those tarted-up ventures to whichever "greater fool" is willing to acquire it or buy its IPO. Let that idiot figure out if it will ever turn a profit...
Bernanke and now Yellen have created an environment just like the Roaring Twenties. What came next wasn't pretty
Earlier today the largest U.S. mortgage lender Wells Fargo reported results that beat expectations by the smallest possible increment. What caught our attention, however, was the fuel that keeps Wells Fargo's engine humming: mortgage applications. Unfortunately for the housing bulls, there was no good news here because after rushing higher in early 2015 on the latest false hope of an economic recovery or due to fears rates are rising, Wells' mortgage applications and the associated pipeline have declined ever since.
While yesterday's JPM results missed from the top to the bottom, coupled with a surprising and aggressive deleveraging of the bank's balance sheet which has shrunk by over $150 billion in 2015 mostly on the back of a decline in deposits, Bank of America reported numbers which were largely the opposite when it printed a modest beat on both the top line with $20.9 billion in revenues (adjusted sales of $20.6Bn vs Exp. $20.5Bn), down $500 million from a year ago, and the bottom line: generating $0.35 in adjusted earnings in the quarter, 2 cents better than the $0.33 consensus estimate.
Two weeks ago, using Macquarie data, we found something disturbing at China's micro level: a quarter of Chinese firms with debt are unable to cover their annual interest expense currently. Over the weekend, Hong-Kong based CLSA decided to take this micro-level data and look at it from the top-down. What it found was stunning. According to CLSA estimates, Chinese banks' bad debts ratio could be as high 8.1% a whopping 6 times higher than the official 1.5% NPL level reported by China's banking regulator!
“After careful consideration and analysis, we have decided to close the Fortress Macro Funds and return cash to our investors... But we have had an extremely challenging two years, and I do not believe the current environment is conducive to achieving our best results."
Fed chief Janet Yellen’s hesitations and the market turmoil since August seem to validate that it is impossible to stop the accommodative monetary policy, unless you accept that doing so would trigger a new global crisis. The Fed is aware that raising interest rates too fast and too high could have the same effect as pressing the nuclear button. The whole system could collapse and it cannot be taken for granted that the central banks would be able to extinguish the fire this time. Their strike force has weakened because their balance sheets are exposed to market fluctuations and their credibility was seriously damaged because the measure they have taken have failed to strengthen the economy.
"It's really beginning to 'feel' close. The first major event could happen anytime now." The coming storm promises to be the largest of our lifetime. We shall all be affected by it. A few will profit from it. Some will be mildly negatively impacted; most will be hit hard, due to being unprepared.
Since the economic downturn of 2008, the critics of capitalism have redoubled their efforts to persuade the American people and many others around the world that the system of individual freedom and free enterprise has failed. These critics have insisted that it is unbridled capitalism, set loose on the world, which is the source of all of our personal and society misfortunes. The political and economic crises through which the world suffers is not the crisis or failure of the free market. No, it is the crisis and failure of the interventionist-welfare state, and its anti-free market capitalist ideology.
This globalization of regional housing markets is pricing the middle class out of housing in areas that also happen to be strong job markets. Many commentators are concerned that a nation of homeowners is being transformed into a nation of renters, as housing is snapped up by hedge funds and wealthy elites fleeing China and the emerging markets. But will current conditions continue unchanged going forward?