- Tsipras Braves Parliament on Aid as Greek Outlook Worsens (BBG)
- European markets rise before Yellen speech, Greek vote (Reuters)
- China’s Growth Beats Economists’ Forecast as Stimulus Kicks In (BBG)
- China stocks drop again, positive data shrugged off (Reuters)
- Yellen intensifies Republican outreach amid Fed probe, Senate bill (Reuters)
- Iran deal holds both promise and peril for Hillary Clinton (Reuters)
- Iranians Party Into the Night as Khamenei Backs Accord (BBG)
If yesterday's JPM results were largely a story of contracting trading revenues offset by a decline in expenses, then in many ways today's Bank of America results mimicked what Jamie Dimon did in the second quarter. Moments ago BofA reported that in a quarter in which it repurchased $775 million in stock, it generated $5.3 billion in net income, or $0.45 per share, above the $0.36 declining consensus estimate as a result of a $1.9 billion drop in non-interest expenses, even as FICC trading revenue tumbled just as it did for JPM and Jefferies, sliding 9% Y/Y, offset by a rise in equity trading courtesy of China.
Just when the Chinese plunge protection team (and "arrest shortie" task force) seemed to be finally getting "malicious selling" under control, first we saw a crack yesterday when the composite broke the surge of the past three days as a result of yet another spike in margin debt funded purchases, but it was last night's reminder that "good news is bad news" that really confused the stock trading farmers and grandmas, which goalseeked Chinese economic "data" beat across the board, with Q2 GDP coming solidly above expectations at 7.0%, and retail sales and industrial production both beating, but in the process raising doubts that the PBOC will continue supporting stocks.
World-renowned street artist Shepard Fairey - infamous for creating Obama's "Hope" image during the 2008 presidential campaign and more recently the "obey" street art - has apparently run out of it. He was arraigned today, after turning himself into Detroit police, on felony charges that he illegally tagged public and private property in the city. Detroit Police last month said Fairey set a bad example for other artists when he plastered his signature Andre the Giant posters on buildings in and near downtown.
While slightly later than expected, a comprehensive deal on Iran’s nuclear weapons program has now been reached. As Reuters reports, the agreement will be greeted with alarm in several quarters, both in Washington and Tehran and internationally too, and could yet unravel. Internationally, the deal will accelerate unease in some Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, but it is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who remains the fiercest public critic and has issued a warning that the accord will "inevitably lead to a nuclear war." The deal profoundly changes the balance of power in the region, but averts the conflict that was likely otherwise, but as ECStrat notes, Iran offers exceptional investment opportunities, but the near term impact will be to continue oil’s decline back to its lows, potentially taking energy stocks with it.
The problem with these policy extremes is that they are so painfully visibly acts of central-planning desperation. If things are as positive as we're told, then why are central planners forced to impose such absurdly extreme policies to keep the status quo from imploding? If these policies worked, why are interest rates still pegged to zero after six years of "growth" and the inflation of monumental asset bubbles? If these policies don't work (and they obviously don't, otherwise the authorities could have normalized interest rates and ceased quantitative easing, stock purchases, plunge protection schemes, etc. many years ago) and central planners keep doing more of what has failed, then the only possible conclusions are...
What is on display more brightly and clearly than ever, though, is the utter fakery of international banking. The players have lost faith in their own shenanigans. They simply go through the motions now awaiting the political fallout, which is to say the revolt of the people who can still do arithmetic. The old refrain, “your check is in the mail” may not be so reassuring to folks who haven’t eaten for three days. Personally, I would expect the gasoline bombs to be flying around Syntagma Square before the middle of the week.
Every nation has a right to defend itself against attack – financial attack just as overt military attack. That is an essential element in the principle of self-determination. Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and other debtor countries have been under the same mode of attack that was waged by the IMF and its austerity doctrine that bankrupted Latin America from the 1970s onward. International law needs to be updated to recognize that finance has become the modern-day mode of warfare. Its objectives are the same: acquisition of land, raw materials and monopolies. A byproduct of this warfare has been to make today’s financial network so dysfunctional that nations need a financial Clean Slate.
While the party in the 1990s ended badly, the festivities currently underway may end in outright disaster. The party-goers may not just awaken with hangovers, but with missing teeth, no memories, and Mike Tyson's tiger in their hotel room.
We previously questioned whether western sanctions imposed on Russia were being regularly breached by E.U. and Asian companies, noting that sanctions only work if all countries unite behind them. Now, only one year after being imposed, the sanctions are eroding as it seems that government and business policies are pulling in opposite directions. A U.S. State Dept. representative may have let the truth slip out recently when he noted, "if you tell us you’re going [to break a sanction], we’ll probably order you not to, but if you go and don’t tell us, we’ll probably do nothing."
In the wake of China's unprecedented attempt to rescue its collapsing equity markets, Deutsche Bank is out with a history lesson for Beijing where officials can learn some "sweet and sour" lessons from the crash of '87.
No bubble can remain aloft without a heavy dose of monetary inflation. The fact that China’s authorities, including its central bank, have been unable to stem the decline stands as a stark warning to the many Western investors who seemingly believe that central banks are nigh omnipotent entities run by magicians. This is not the case. Once an asset bubble begins to burst, there there is nothing central bankers can do to stop it – and we have plenty of bubbles awaiting their turn in the barrel.
A shocking and uncharacteristic display of common sense
There is much to enjoy and savor, but it is overwhelmed by moron madness. We’ve come to believe that Aldous Huxley’s fears have been manifested on the boardwalk of Wildwood and across our entire nation. The masses don’t read books. We are inundated with so much useless information, we have been reduced to passivity and egotism. The truth is buried in a sea of irrelevance and our culture is based upon triviality. Our almost infinite desire for distractions and pleasure have produced a profoundly abnormal society. The ignorant masses are acting normally only in the context of living in a sick, demented, abnormal society.
The impact of a full-blown financial crisis in China, if it materializes, on the economy would likely be severe. On corporate earnings, other than the drag from slower growth, many companies may have to book stock-market related losses over the next few quarters by our assessment. Stock lending related losses could run into Rmb trillions.