Two words can describe yesterday's first impromptu anti-government protest "organized" by the far-left Antarsya party now that the Greek honeymoon with the new Syriza government is over: disorganized and violent, especially since calling it a "protest" is a stretch - if anything was just young, unemployed, angry people tossing Molotov cocktails. Which is why today's first truly official protest organized by the Greek communist party in front of the Greek parliament on the well-known Syntagma square, will get far more attention, especially since it was Syriza's own anti-bailout protests that filled the same venue as recently as a few weeks ago.
Regular readers are well aware of an unresolved problem/issue which has permeated these commentaries for (especially) the past three years: the lack of any rational or objective means for pricing assets, most notably precious metals themselves. There are two enormous obstacles facing any analyst, in attempting to resolve this issue.
Despite a modest 1.7% rise (after dropping 1.5% in December), Pending Home Sales missed expectations of a 2.0% rise - the 5th monthly miss in a row. It appears NAR's chief economist Lawrence Yun has flip-flopped: On existing home sales, NAR blames drop on lack of supply (as prices drop); on pending home sales, NAR says buyers overcame lack of supply.
If there isone thing that is virtually certain about today's trading (aside from the post Rig Count surge in oil because if there is one thing algos are, it is predictable) is that despite S&P futures being a touch red right now, everything will be forgotten in a few minutes and yet another uSDJPY momentum ignition ramp will proceed, which will push the S&P forward multiple to 18.0x on two things i) it's Friday, and an implicit rule of thumb of central planning is the market can't close in confidenece-sapping red territory ahead of spending heavy weekends and ii) the Nasdaq will finally recapture 5000 following a final push from Apple's bondholders whose recent use of stock buyback proceeds will be converted into recorder highs for the stock, and thus the Nasdaq's crossing into 5,000 territory because in the New Normal, the more expensive something is, the more people, or rather algos, want to buy it.
Warren Buffett once famously chided that all the gold in the world would form a cube of 67 feet (20 meters) on each side. In doing so, he was attempting to argue that there was no point in owning gold since all the gold in the world would be an unproductive, useless hunk of metal. What’s ironic (and completely lost on the venerable Mr. Buffett) is that you could make the same argument about the paper-based financial system.
While economic indicators make "very poor bedfellows" for managing portfolios, they do provide some indication as to the relative risk of owning assets that are ultimately tied to economic cycles. Despite commentary to the contrary as of late, economic cycles have not been repealed, and the current economy is likely running on borrowed time. It is important to notice, that despite the "hype" of the mainstream media about the economic recovery, activity never rose past previous peaks in this cycle.
Stocks are pricing in ECONOMIC PERFECTION and the reality is that the global economy is imploding.
What do people have to be 'uncomfortable' about?!! Stock markets around the world are at record highs... real wages just jumped by the most MoM since 2008... So why oh why did Bloomberg's Consumer Comfort Index plunge to its lowest of the year, falling by the most since May 2014? Perhaps, just perhaps, the market is a red herring... distracting the plebeians from the reality of the economy?
After last week's holiday-shortened exuberance over initial jobless claims, this week's slam back to reality is quite a shock to the "everything is awesome" crowd. Initial jobless claims jumped 31,000 to 313,000 - the biggest percentage rise since December 2013. Continuing claims dropped modestly but remain up around 3.5% over the last quarter - near the worst since 2009.
Following a quiet overnight session in which the main event appears to be a statement by Chinese premier Li for more active fiscal policy, which has pushed the metals complex higher, although technically every other asset class as well, with US equity futures set to open in fresh record high territory, even as 10Y yields around the world continue to decline, attention today will fall on the CPI print due out shortly, because if consensus is correct, January will be the first month this decade when US inflation posts a negative print, mostly due to the delayed effect of sliding commodity prices. As Deutsche recaps, the most important number today is the headline CPI where the headline YoY rate is predicted to be negative by the market (-0.1%) for the first time since 2009. Over this period the YoY rate stayed negative for 8 months. However before this we hadn't seen a full year decline since August 1955. In other words, a few months before what may be the first US rate hike for a new generation of traders, the US is set to print its first annual deflation since Lehman, transitory or not.
Janet Yellen is very alarmed that some members of Congress want to conduct a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve for the first time since it was created. During testimony this week, she made “central bank independence” sound like it was the holy grail. Even though every other government function is debated politically in this country, Janet Yellen insists that what the Federal Reserve does is “too important” to be influenced by the American people. Does any other government agency ever dare to make that claim? If the Fed is doing everything correctly, why should Yellen be alarmed? What does she have to hide?
No; Mr. Obama has not seen “the great light,” remaining as blind in Middle East affairs as he has been in his belligerent, anti-Russia approach in Eastern Europe. He, like Don Quixote, is still riding his Rocinante as he charges the windmills. Saint Paul did see the great light and is now known as Apostle of the Gentiles. As for Obama, given his present lackluster status, it’s unlikely he will be politically canonized, much less be known someday as Political Apostle of either Americans or Non-Americans.
Financial markets and investing reflect the same characteristics as my attempt at keeping fit
Another quarter of leaks of ubiquitous US espionage in every corner of the world, and sure enough we get another quarter of China just saying no to spending any more money on companies which are, as far as Beijing is concerned, a natural extension of the NSA. According to Reuters, China has just dropped some of America's leading technology brands from its approved state purchase lists, chief among them Cisco (which already was hammered a year ago due to the Snowden revelations), and everyone's favorite $1 trillion market cap or bust cell phone maker, Apple. At the same time China shifted production focus away from foreign production approved thousands more locally made products. The reason according to Reuters, and pretty much anyone else: a response to revelations of widespread Western cybersurveillance.
After Cutting US Growth Due To Snow, Goldman Now Warns West Coast Port Congestion Will "Drag On GDP"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 02/25/2015 09:09 -0500
Last week, when with much amusement we observed that the first of many Q1 GDP cuts due to snow... in the winter... had taken place, we warned that next up on the GDP-trimming agenda would be "the West Coast port strike to take place in 2-4 weeks." We were wrong: it wasn't 2-4 weeks. It was 4 days, because overnight first Goldman (and soon all the other penguins) released a report titled "The Fallout from West Coast Port Disruptions" and sure enough, Goldman's conclusion is that "On balance, we think the net impact on Q1 GDP is probably a modest drag, although the estimated effect is highly uncertain at this point in the quarter."