According to Bloomberg, on a share-weighted basis, S&P 500 profits are expected to have dropped by 7.2% in 4Q, while revenues are expected to fall by 3.1% This would represent the worst U.S. earnings season since 3Q 2009, and a third straight quarter of negative profit growth.
"The fact that market volatility is on the rise and the Fed is raising interest rates further increases the probability of a Bear Market. The current option-implied probability of a bear market (i.e. ~20% decline this year) is about 25%. While there is no way to predict a bear market, below we look at various scenarios, and estimate that the probability of a bear market may be nearly twice as large."
One of our favorite hypocritical CEOs spoke this morning to try and explain why his rail freight transportation company's stock is plunging. 11 months ago Michael Ward was adamant on CNBC that he has "not seen any changes," suggesting everything's fine down to $30-35 oil and "expected no impact on crude shipments." Today, he exclaims, the volume drop can be seen as "freight recession," warning that "there is pressure on markets not seen outside of a recession." He is right, of course, as we noted previously, the weakness in rails is entirely recessionary and is no longer limited to industrials or coal.
"To bottom on a Shiller PE of 7x would see the S&P falling to around 550. I will repeat that: If I am right, the S&P would fall to 550, a 75% decline from the recent 2100 peak."
"Oil goes below $40, it’s frightening for geopolitical behavior. Guess what, folks? It’s below $40 and this frightening political behavior is upon us.... We could be looking at a really ugly situation during the first quarter of 2016... I think we're going to take out the September low of the S&P500."
After two months of sharp currency devaluation, the market was carefully watching last night's China trade data to see if the Yuan debasement had led to a positive trade outcome to the world's second largest economy, and as reported last night, it was not disappointed when China reported a December trade surplus of $60.09 billion from $54.1 billion in November, as a result of exports beating expectations and rising 2.3%, the first increase since June, while imports declined by just 4%, the smallest drop since 2014 despite China importing a record amount of oil, or 33.2 million tons, in December.
As the towering forces that are prevailing against failing global economic architecture and the pit of debt beneath that structure, as laid out below, it is clear that the 'Epocalypse' - encompassing the roots "economic, epoch, collapse" and "apocalypse" - is here, and it is everywhere. The Great Collapse has already begun. What follows are the megatrends that will increasingly gang up in the first part of 2016 to stomp the deeply flawed global economy down into its own hole of debt.
China = Japan: China, like Japan in the early-1990s, has entered a secular period of significantly slower economic growth, compounded greatly by debt deflation; like Japan in the 1990s, Chinese asset prices, currency, banks (Chart 5) and capital flows will periodically cause severe disruptions to global financial markets, even if China does not itself cause a global recession.
Tank cars, once feverishly ordered during the US shale boom, are sitting on sidings. Lessors are obtaining car rents 20-30 per cent below early 2015 — “if you’re lucky enough to keep your car in service”, said James Husband of RailSolutions, a consultancy.
"Overall, the county economies recovered on all four indicators by 2015 still represent only 7 percent of all county economies. In contrast, almost 16 percent of county economies had not recovered on any indicator by 2015."
As BofA admits, "we are increasingly concerned with this trend, as on an unadjusted basis non-commodity earnings growth has been negative 2 of the last 4 quarters, representing the worst 4 quarter average earnings growth in a non-recessionary period since late 2000."
Is the U.S. economy in recession? Is it heading for recession? These questions can only be answered in hindsight, but it's worth looking for clues to what might be just ahead.
A month after we first noted the major redemptions at Avenue Capital Group's credit fund (note this is a different fund from Third Avenue), and just one trading day after CEO Marc Lasry strolled arrogantly on to CNBC and told the public that "I don't think it's a time to panic, I think it's actually a time where you've got opportunities out there," Morningstar reports the Avenue Credit Strategies Fund has failed to report asset levels since about mid-December.
Welcome to the recovery: a record number of Americans who are retired, or are collecting Social Security, worked part-time last month.
"Panic is building, most likely setting the stage for a rally, but the missing ingredient here is growth. With analysts cutting estimates at an accelerating rate, increasing China risks and no apparent floor for oil prices, we remain cautious on our near term outlook for stocks."