After 4 straight months of bounce-back exuberance that 'confirms' the hope that NAHB sentiment appears to present, existing home sales dropped 1.1% in August (against expectations of a 1.0% rise) and previous growth was revised lower. This is the biggest miss since November 2013. The South and West saw the biggest drops as inventory fell. First-time homebuyers remain sidelined with only 29% of total sales. The National Association of Realtors blames the drop on "investors stepping away from the market," and notes distressed sales are the lowest since October 2008.
While some were wondering if last night's sudden, commodity-liquidation driven selloff would last, most were not, expecting that the perfectly predictable levitation in the USDJPY around a round "tractor beam" number would provide a floor under the market .Sure enough, starting around midnight eastern, the USDJPY BTFDers emerged, oblivious to comments from former BOJ deputy governor Iwata who late last night said the obvious, and what we have been saying since January 2013, namely that a weak yen puts Japan at recession risk, and that a USDJPY in the 90-100 range reflects Japan fundamentals. And, as expected, the 109 level is where the algos have hone in today as a strange FX attractor, which also means that ES has reverse sharper overnight losses and was down just 7 points at last check even as the poundage in the commodity sector continues over rising fears of a sharp Chinese slowdown driven by its imploding housing sector (most recently observed here) without an offsetting stimulus program, following several comments by high-ranked Chinese individuals who poured cold water on any hopes of an imminent Chinese mega-QE or even modest rate cut.
Back in 1930, Keynes looked out into the future and saw that with the proper management of the economy, monetary policy and the like, the world could attain a type of utopian stasis: Keynes expected growth to come to an end within two to three generations, and the economy to plateau. He referred to this imaginary state of equilibrium as "bliss," noting “thus for the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem - how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure, which science and compound interest will have won for him, to live wisely and agreeably and well." However, Keynes did say this would happen if mankind avoided any calamitous wars and if there was no appreciable increase in population. Two more flawed base assumptions there could not have been.
Having released the Turkish hostages, because "Turkey refused to agree to the US demand for 'active support of the coalition'," ISIS have come out swinging (in its first 'official' statement since President Obama unveiled his 'strategy' for "degrading and destroying" them), with a call for all followers of Allah to make the coalition campaign the "last crusader campaign," and calls Obama "vile", more foolish than Bush, and a "mule of the Jews." Warning Americans and Europeans that "you will pay a great price, when your economies collapse," ISIS blasts Kerry, "the uncircumcised old geezer," for his "false arguments." The statement concludes by telling ISIS followers, "if you can kill a disbelieving American or European - especially the spiteful and filthy French - or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be."
As the marginal investing bot continues to invest his marginal leveraged dollar-on-the-sideline on an equity market that, as Janet Yellen has explained to the poor, will create a "wealth effect" to sustain everyone through rainy days and retirement, we thought some context worthwhile. On December 5th 1996, Alan Greenspan - upon the recognition that equity market capitalization has bubbled to over 100% of nominal GDP - opined that investors had succumbed to "irrational exuberance." Since then, that 'exuberance' has become increasingly rational as the Fed pulls all its monetary-base expanding, deficit-funding, asset-purchases to keep the American Dream alive for a select (and shrinking) few...
Our degenerate Central Bankers have tossed up yet another asset air-ball into the debt financed Bubblenomics Millennium. The only remaining question is why?
Ayn Rand or US Congress? Directive 10-289: "All business establishments of any nature whatsoever shall henceforth remain in operation, and the owners of such establishments shall not quit nor leave, nor close, sell or transfer their business..." H.R. 5445: "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no mail processing facility operating as of September 1, 2014, may be closed or consolidated prior to December 31, 2015."
What has happened to America?
Some asset managers, such as Pension funds, have a specific bogey they have to hit every single year, in order to maintain a mandated increase in their assets or else suffer the wrath of disgruntled pensioners and overseers. Which probably explains why as Pension360 reports, the Chief Investment Officer of one such pension fund decided to do the unthinkable: daytrade, i.e. gamble, its assets, which happen to be the lifetime savings of hard workers who just happen to be naive enough to believe their retirement money is entrusted into safe hands. Little did they know that instead they have handed the fruit of their lives' labor over to the E-trade baby.
While we are not predicting that the proverbial "wheels are about the come off the cart," today, this is another in a long list of indications that value in the stock market is no longer present. Of course, this would also suggest this might be, just maybe, a time to start considering "selling high." Of course, such a suggestion is wildly ludicrous and absolutely illogical since it is widely believed that the markets will never go down...ever.
Early kneejerk exuberance in Cable and European bond risk is rapidly unwinding as the reality of a revolting youth raise concerns over social stability. Nowhere is that more evident than in Spain this morning as pro-Catalan independence supporters push the government for a referendum on their secession in November:
- *CATALANS SAYING LOUDLY BUT GENTLY THEY WANT TO DECIDE: MAS
- *SPAIN GOVT OPEN TO DIALOG, HAS TO COMPLY WITH LAW: SAENZ
- *REFERENDUMS ARE NOT POSSIBLE IN SPANISH LAW, DEPUTY PM SAYS
Catalan President Artur Mas says it is a mistake to think the Scottish "No" votes casts a shadow over Catalonia and is threatening Rajoy if he blocks the vote. Spanish bond risk is up 12bps off the lows of the day.
So much for any Scottish referendum vote "surprise": the people came, they voted, and they decided to stay in the 307-year-old union by a far wider margin, some 55% to 45%, than most polls had forecast, even as 3.6 million votes, a record 85% turnout, expressed their opinion. The gloating began shortly thereafter, first and foremost by David Cameron who said "There can be no disputes, no re-runs, we have heard the settled will of the Scottish people." Queen Elizabeth II, who is at her Scottish castle in Balmoral, is expected to make a rare comment on Friday. But while a No vote was where the smart betting money was ahead of the vote anyway, and is thus hardly a surprise, the most curious thing overnight was the complete roundtrip of cable, which was bought on the rumor and then sold off on the news, roundtripping by nearly 200 pips.
In modern times, war is never what it seems. Mainstream historians preach endlessly about grand conflicts over territory, resources, political impasse, and revenge, but the cold hard reality is that all of these “motivations” are actually secondary, if they are relevant at all. If you really want to understand the past, or the intricacies of war, you will be lost unless you accept that most conflicts are designed; they are not random or natural. They are not the product of too much national sovereignty or individual liberty. No; traditional war is a tool for the organized ruling class. It always has been and always will be.
The present global financial ‘crisis’ began in 2007-8. It is not nearly over. And that simple fact is a problem. Not because of the life-choking misery it inflicts on the lives of millions who had no part in its creation, but because the chances of another crisis beginning before this one ends, is increasing. What ‘tools’ - those famous tools the central bankers are always telling us they have – will our dear leaders use to tackle a new crisis when all those tools are already being used to little or no positive effect on this one?
...when the cops have to Call 911.