When Chinese property developer Agile Property Holdings Ltd. said this month that its chairman was taken into custody by authorities, the disclosure was a shock to Western banks that lent the company money, according to China Spectator as the fog of ever-rising asset values suddenly evaporates into the reality of an opaque real estate credit market slap them in the face. The simple fact is "it is very difficult to get a handle on the financials of a Chinese company," as a local investigative consulting firm warns "in China, nothing is what it appears to be."
"Reporters on the ground aren’t necessarily ideological, Attkisson says, but the major network news decisions get made by a handful of New York execs who read the same papers and think the same thoughts. Often they dream up stories beforehand and turn the reporters into 'casting agents,' told 'we need to find someone who will say...' that a given policy is good or bad. “We’re asked to create a reality that fits their New York image of what they believe,"
Confirming Rick Santelli's perspective on the unending 'easiness' of the Fed, Hoisington Investment Management's Lacy Hunt states unequivocally that "The Fed will not raise rates in 2015," and warns that the US economy and monetary policy "are not on the right path," in this excellent brief interview. Santelli slams the Fed's asymmetric policy, coining a new phrase that Yellen is only "weak-data"-dependent and Hunt confirms that "by its past policy errors, the Fed has put itself out of business," enabling massive build ups of debt, warning that "debt is an increase in current spending in lieu of future spending," and confirms the truth that rather than deleveraging, "the world is significantly more leveraged now than in 2008."
"Remember, the Fed has injected into the market nearly 4 Trillion dollars. That’s $4,000,000,000,000.00. To put this into perspective... the equivalent in dollar amounts to have purchased 510 B-2 Stealth Bombers, 72 Nimitz Class Air Craft Carriers, 120 Ohio Class Submarines. and still have Two TRILLION or so left in my pocket left to spend." As far as what we have to show for all this spending at the end of QE this month? Who knows, but I do know – we didn’t even get a lousy T-shirt.
QE destroys societies, economies and financial systems, it doesn’t heal them. So maybe it’s a touch of genius that the great powers of global finance have first pushed Keynes into the academic world and then academics like Bernanke and Yellen into positions such as head of the Fed, making everyone blind to the fact that what they think is beneficial, including many who think they’re real smart, actually hurts them most. This whole thing is so broken and perverted it’s getting hard to understand why anybody would want to continue clinging on to it. But then, what does anybody know? 95%+ of people have been reduced to pawns in someone else’s game, and they have no idea whatsoever.
For five years we’ve been told that the world was in recovery. If things are SO great… why is it that even a 10% correction in stocks triggers panic from the Fed?
10Y Russian bond yields have broken above 10%, trading at the highest yields since 2009 as the Ruble plunges once again to fresh record lows against the dollar. These significant moves come on the heels of two notable headlines overnight. First, German exports to Russia slumped 26.3% YoY in August (down a stunning 16.6% year-to-date with vehicle exports plunging 27.7%) as sanctions batter bilateral trade. Secondly, Rosneft has proposed what is being described as "radical" reactions to the West's sanctions, which the Kremlin has (for now) denied.
Most defenders of the state assume that government services help the poor. And, sometimes, some poor people do benefit financially from government programs. But there’s a hidden cost: taxation and mandatory programs (Social Security, for instance) that hurt the needy by restricting their choices. Government taxes away income that low-income households could invest in improving their lives. At the same time, state-sponsored benefits create incentives that keep the poor trapped in poverty.
In a strangely familiar case of deja vu all over again, stocks surged (alone in the cross-asset class world of economic reality) on the day before an FOMC statement. The Russell 2000 has had its best 10-day run in 3 years, best day of the year, and managed to scramble back to its 100- & 200-day moving-average. Dow 17,000 was another key technical level that was achieved. S&P 500 was levitated on volume around 40% below average into the green for October. VIX was banged under 15 and tracked stocks. Away from the equity-vol complex, asset-classes were unimpressed - HY credit, bonds, JPY, and the USD all diverged from stocks. USD weakened slightly, and commodities all gained on the day. TSY yields were up 2-3bps and HY closed practically unchanged. "Most shorted" stocks rose almost 3% - the biggest squeeze since Dec 2011 - smashing the Russell 2000 higher.
The behaviour of financial markets these days is frankly divorced from reality, with value-investing banished. Our dysfunctional markets have become little more than the essential prerequisite, as Louis XIV’s finance minister Colbert might have said, to plucking the goose for the largest amount of feathers with the minimum of hissing.
It appears the burden of hope for the future of the American consumer, based on this morning's confidence survey data, is based on a surge in incomes. In fact, the income 'hope' index is at its highest since February 2008... which is odd given the utter stagnation of real wages. Perhaps the survey respondents have been listening to a little too much 'hope-and-change' TV promises of minimum wage hikes and fair livable wages and not enough paying attention to the layoffs, "M&A synergies", restructurings, and buybacks firms are actually undertaking, or as some call it, reality. Shown on the chart below: the largest decoupling between reality and hope in the history of income reality vs expectations.
If yesterday's markets closed broadly unchanged following all the excitement from the latest "buy the rumor, sell the news" European stress test coupled with a quadruple whammy of macroeconomic misses across the globe, then today's overnight trading session has been far more muted with no major reports, and if the highlight was Kuroda's broken, and erroneous, record then the catalyst that pushed the Nikkei lower by 0.4% was a Bloomberg article this morning mentioning that lower oil prices could mean the BoJ is forced to "tone down or abandon its outlook for inflation." This comes before the Bank of Japan meeting on Friday where the focus will likely be on whether Kuroda says he is fully committed to keeping current monetary policy open ended and whether or not he outlines a target for the BoJ’s asset balance by the end of 2015; some such as Morgan Stanely even believe the BOJ may announce an expansion of its QE program even if most don't, considering the soaring import cost inflation that is ravaging the nation and is pushing Abe's rating dangerously low. Ironically it was the USDJPY levitation after the Japanese session, which launched just as Europe opened, moving the USDJPY from 107.80 to 108.10, that has managed to push equity futures up 0.5% on the usual: nothing.
"They laud and promote the myth of American democracy - even as we are stripped of civil liberties and money replaces the vote. They pay deference to the leaders on Wall Street and in Washington, no matter how perfidious their crimes. They slavishly venerate the military and law enforcement in the name of patriotism. They select the specialists and experts, almost always drawn from the centers of power, to interpret reality and explain policy. They usually rely on press releases, written by corporations, for their news. And they fill most of their news holes with celebrity gossip, lifestyle stories, sports and trivia." The role of the mass media is to entertain or to parrot official propaganda to the masses.
When QE ends today, the Fed balance sheet will stop expanding. Which means stocks will be standing on their own two legs for the first time in the last two years. Unfortunately, those two legs: economic growth and earnings are both weak.