We noted last week that recent job data shows a strong tendency for "hiring grandparents" as only the over-50s cohort have seen real employment gains since the financial crisis. No one epitomizes that reality better than 78-year-old Tom Palome who, as Bloomberg reports, went from VP or marketing for Oral-B to flipping burgers for minimum wage - because, like the great majority of seniors, he hadn't saved enough to retire comfortably. "I'm at the age where I'm not going to get out of this alive,"said Palome with a smile, "I plan to work until I can’t walk. I’m still the burger man."
A recent weekend experience reminded me of how 99% of them are completely useless
Just over a month ago, business media went manic when none other than David Tepper announced that it was "the beginning of the end of the bond market rally." His word is truth and thus the world bid stocks, offered bonds and all was well in the world of status quo believers for a day or two... but then reality hit again and macro fundamentals, and collateral shortages, and so on... and now Treasury yields have broken below the Tepper-yield lows (with the 30Y -16bps from the 'end' of the bond bubble)... perhaps the hedge fund momentum master should stick to stocks - at least they are risk-free... oh wait.
Despite being described by Spain's public health director as "a national jewel," the head of Spain's Nursing Council warns "something went wrong" in the health care system's protocols. As RT reports, Spanish health officials have 4 patients interned including infected initial nurse, her husband, and a 2nd nurse (male). Furthermore, 22 more possible Ebola cases are under surveillance having had direct contact with the infected nurse during her vacation after being infected (officials have said they 'don't know' how she became infected with the deadly virus). Images within the hospital show "irregularities" and make-shift isolation units and an insider account said "I do not want to create social alarm, but explain what is still a reality everyday for a few months of nursing staff at the ICU.". One researcher noted "air traffic is the driver.," and added ominously, "it's just a matter of who gets lucky and who gets unlucky."
If you want to understand why our economy is stagnating and wealth inequality is rising, look at the rise of rentier skims and the resulting decline in wealth creation. To understand why the real economy is stagnating, we have to understand the critical difference between rentier wealth and wealth creation. Rentier wealth is skimmed by fees that provide little to no value to the to the person paying the fee. The classic example is a fee collected to pass from one fiefdom's border to the next: no value is provided to the person paying the border fee; it is a rentier skim that transfers wealth from serfs to the fiefdom's landowning nobility. In the modern economy, rentier skims take a variety of forms. The government is adept at levying rentier skims. Harsh penalty fees piled on top of minor traffic violations are one example; another is extra fees to "expedite" services government is supposed to provide in a timely manner.
The integrity of markets is clearly at risk. And we have long sought alternatives that offer much lower credit and counterparty risk. The time-honored alternative has been gold. As the chart below shows, gold has tracked the expansion in US debt pretty handily (the correlation between the two is a strong +0.86) and if one expects that relationship to resume (we do), then gold looks anomalously cheap relative to the rising level of US debt.
The single most important issue for understanding why the finacnial system is not healthy and why we’re set to have an even bigger crash than in 2008 has to do with one word…
For the US, it’s now shooting fish in a barrel – but just for now. The three-pronged plan the Fed has started to execute is plain for everyone to see... And it will have the rest of the world begging for mercy.
The Mindful one does not seek to change the world; he seeks to change himself.
Despite a low-volume melt-up in stocks off yesterday's European close lows, US equities closed lower on the week with small caps once again the laggards. Even as stocks closed red, the costs of protection in credit and equity markets tumbled as the last 2 days volumeless liftathon in stocks took place against the background of very modest Treasury selling - this has the stench of high-yield bond exposure being significantly reduced (and synthetic hedges being lifted) - something we saw Wednesday into the close. The USDollar rose the most in 15 months today (up for the 12th week in a row - longest streak since Bretton Woods) led by Cable and EUR weakness. Jobs data losses in bonds today were largely reversed with TSY yields ending the week down 7-9bps. Commodities were ugly with silver and oil (under $90) joined at the hip and gold closing below $1200 for first time this year. The Russell 2000 closed lower for the 5th week in a row, the worst streak since Aug 2011.
Amid the recent weakness in stocks and strength in the USDollar, we are constantly reassured by talking heads that major stock market declines only happen during recessions. While that may be technically correct, perhaps it is worth pondering: "Did a recession cause the correction, or did the correction cause the recession?"
We continue to be told that the US economy is in recovery and stronger than ever. The press trumpets heavily massaged data (GDP growth and the unemployment number) while ignoring data that clearly indicates the US economy is in the toilet (labor participation rate, median income, etc).
Carmen Segarra said, “I come from the world of legal and compliance, we deal with hard evidence. It’s like, we don’t deal with, you know, perceptions.”
How ironic. Segarra worked at the Fed.
In is only fitting that a week that has been characterized by deteriorating macroeconomic data, and abysmal European data, would conclude with yet another macro disappointment in the form of Markit's sentiment surveys, for non-manufacturing/service (and composite) PMIs in Europe which missed almost entirely across the board, with Spain down from 58.1 to 55.8 (exp. 57.0), Italy down from 49.8 to 48.8 (exp. 49.8), France down from 49.4 to 48.4 (exp. 49.4), and in fact only Russia (!) and Germany rising, with the latter growing from 55.4 to 55.7, above the 55.4 expected, which however hardly compensates for the contractionary manufacturing PMI reported earlier this week. As a result, the Composite Eurozone PMI down from 52.3 to 52.0, missing expectations, as only Germany saw a service PMI increase. And yet, despite or rather thanks to this ongoing economic weakness, futures have ignored all the negative and at last check were higher by 9 points, or just over 0.4%, as the algos appear to have reconsidered Draghi's quite explicit words, and seem to be convinced that his lack of willingness to commit is merely "pent up" commitment for a future ECB meeting. That or, more likely just another short squeeze especially with the "all important" non-farm payrolls number due out in just over 2 hours, which for the past 24 hours has been hyped up as sure to bounce strongly from the very disappointing, sub-200K August print.
Low interest rates are a direct cause of credit bubbles, and this is what is happening in Singapore