Today's Russian downgrade pulled yet another raft of "smartest people in the room" to tell investors how screwed Russia is by low oil prices (and yet the US Shale industry is fine and will manage through this). However, Goldman Sachs prefers facts in its analysis of the Russian oil sector and concludes, investor concerns about the health of Russia's oil industry should remain more myth than reality.
With earnings tumbling and outlooks collapsing for energy sector names in the US (and worldwide for that matter) there is only one way to keep the "wealth creating" dream alive in stocks... the magic of multiple expansion (or hope over reality). As Factset points out in its latest report, this week marked the first time the forward 12-month P/E for the Energy sector has been equal to (or above) 22.4 since April 8, 2002. What is perhaps even more compellingly mind-numbing is, if analysts were not still projecting record-level earnings over three of the next four quarters (including the downward estimate revisions in the Energy sector), the forward 12-month P/E ratio would be even higher.
The more detached from reality American culture becomes the more strictly ceremonial leadership gets, as illustrated by the raft of bromides Barack Obama floated past the assembled vassalage of government last week in another grand effort to avoid the necessities of the moment. Those necessities include freeing a hostage public from the tyrannical clutches of corporate despotism — the evil empire of big boxes, big burgers, big pharma, Big Brother — and the atrocious rackets fostered by them that masquerade as an economy. The template of the life we have known is broken and the pieces within are flying apart, and no amount of wishing or promising can keep them going. If this society is even going to survive, the people have to smash their way out of this template prison, probably against the efforts of the people and organizations now running it merely for their own benefit.
The Greek election result was worse than expected - the anti-austerity vote is massive, but it could be an empty gesture as Greece in reality has little choice: Comply with the Troika or leave the EUR. Saxo Bank's Steen Jakobsen doubts the latter will happen with the same vote as the Greeks are tired of austerity but not of being European. However, game theory dictates that some solution will be found which is sub-optimal for all parties, but the risk it will take longer than market have nerves for. There remains a consensus that “things will be ok...” but the early comments indicate the positioning is already starting...
There was some excitement in the capital markets overnight, when what was initially seen as an outright victory for Syriza, giving it an absolute, 151-seat majority in parliament - a fear that briefly pushed the EURUSD under 1.11 when the Euro PPT stepped in - ended up being a placing just shy of a majority with 149 seats. However, that same excitement fizzled several hours ago when the "radical left" party agreed to form a government with the "rightwing" group of the Independent Greeks in the aftermath of Syriza's historic win which harnessed the public backlash against years of belt-tightening, job losses and hardship.
The policy of safeguarding Boomer benefits with asset bubbles will lead to the destruction of the unprepared, the unwary and those who foolishly trusted our "leadership" and central bank to tell them the truth.
Making New Year “predictions” used to be an automatic, beginning-of-the-year exercise, to the point where readers generally expected such pieces from the pundits they follow. However, it is an activity which has died-out somewhat, a casualty of our propaganda-saturated Wonderland Matrix.
When all that we can see around us is nothing but fiction and illusion, all events appear to be arbitrary – since we are unable to observe cause-and-effect. By definition; arbitrary events cannot be predicted. Thus these New Year’s “predictions” have become a Fool’s Game, and having been burned once (several times?), most commentators have reached the similar conclusion that this is an exercise in futility.
This morning both the SNB stunner from two weeks ago, and the less than stunning ECB QE announcement from last Thursday are long forgotten, and the only topic on markets' minds is the startling surge of Syriza and its formation of a coalition government with another anti-bailout party - a development that many in Europe never expected could happen, and which has pushed Europe to the bring of the unexpected yet again. And while there is much speculation that this time Europe is much better positioned to "handle a Grexit", the reality is that European bank balance sheets are as bad if not worse than in 2014, 2013, 2012 or any other year for that matter, because none of ther €1+ trillion in NPLs have been addressed and the only thing that has happened is funding bank capital deficiencies with newly printed money. You know what they say about solvency and liquidity.
To think that multi-national companies are not complaining to government officials at this very moment is to be fully naïve. We would not doubt, given where the Treasury Secretary is, if he hasn’t been waylaid repeatedly about “doing something” about that “strong dollar.” Unfortunately, he cannot come right out and say that corporatism despises it so the administration, like those before, would prefer it sinking like a rock. Like monetarism, the fiscal side prefers not currency stability but their own, specific brand of instability.
Take from the 'redefined rich' and give to the who again?
More and more currencies are being overridden by the power of the yellow metal...
Q4 Shaping Up As Worst Quarter In Years: Aggregate Revenues And EPS Have Missed By 1.2% and 0.4% So FarSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/23/2015 15:20 -0500
In aggregate, companies are reporting earnings and revenue below expectations to date. The aggregate dollar-level earnings reported by these 37 companies is 0.4% below the aggregate dollar-level earnings estimated for these 37 companies. The aggregate dollar-level revenue reported by these 37 companies is 1.2% below the aggregate dollar-level revenue estimated for these 37 companies. As a result, even though more companies have beat earnings and revenue estimates to date than missed earnings and revenue estimates, the surprise percentage (which reflects the aggregate difference between actual results and estimated results) is negative for both earnings (-0.4%) and revenue (-1.2%). This means that Q4 is shaping up as the worst quarter since 2012, perhaps even the start of the great financial crisis in 2008/2009.
There is no reason to assume that this time will be different. These boom-bust sequences will continue until the economy is structurally undermined to such an extent that monetary intervention cannot even create the illusory prosperity of a capital-consuming boom anymore. The bankers applauding Draghi’s actions today will come to rue them tomorrow.
Just as we pointed out explicitly yesterday, ECBQE will 'not' provide the inflation-expectation-lifting hope that every talking head proclaims as its raison d'etre... just as FedQE did not. We noted previously that Draghi's actions would likely send the most deflationary signal ever to the world's policymakers, and sure enough European 5Y5Y inflation expectations have dropped 10bps from yesterday's highs and round-tripped to the levels seen before Draghi unleashed the money printing machine.
Euro Crash Continues Sending Stocks Higher, Yields To Record Lows; Crude Stabilizes On New King's CommentsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/23/2015 07:03 -0500
Today's market action is largely a continuation of the QE relief rally, where - at least for the time being - the market bought the rumor for over 2 years and is desperate to show it can aslo buy the news. As a result, the European multiple-expansion based stock ramp has resumed with the Eurostoxx advancing for a 7th day to extend their highest level since Dec. 2007. As we showed yesterday, none of the equity action in Europe is based on fundamentals, but is the result of multiple expansion, with the PE on European equities now approaching 20x, a surge of nearly 70% in the past 2 years. But the real story is not in equities but in bonds where the perfectly expected frontrunning of some €800 billion in European debt issuance over the next year, taking more than 100% of European net supply, has hit new record level.