And so the last true blue, and much ridiculed economics team, that of Morgan Stanley's David Greenlaw's and his merry Buryini-ruler clad automatons, has waved the white flag. Specifically, in an email sent out yestrday by the firms' overabundant and soon redundant salespeople, both institutional and retail, we read: "WE HAVE BEEN ARGUING FOR A STRONGER 2H US ECONOMY..AND WE ARE CAPITULATING..." The all caps comes from them lest someone accuses us of being overly dramatic.
In all the excitement over the recently uber-broken market, some may have forgotten America has a muni problem. Here is Fitch with a reminder, as it downgrades New Jersey general obligations from AA to AA-, and continues: "The downgrade of New Jersey's GO bond rating to 'AA-' from 'AA' reflects the mounting budgetary pressure presented by significant and growing funding needs for the state's unfunded pension and employee benefit liabilities, particularly in the context of a weak economic recovery, a high debt burden, limited financial flexibility, and persistent structural imbalance."
Funny how much can change in a month. After everyone was making fun of David Rosenberg as recently as June, not a single pundit who owns a suit and can therefore appear on CNBC dares to mention the original skeptic. Why? Because he has was proven correct (once again) beyond a reasonable doubt (and while we may disagree as to what asset class is best held into the terminal systemic collapse, Rosenberg has been one of the most steadfast and consistent predictors of the 'non-matrixed' reality in the world). Yet oddly enough there are still those who believe that a double dip (or, more accurately, a waterfall in the current great depressionary collapse accompanied by violent bear market rallies) is avoidable. Well, here, in 12 bullet points, is Rosie doing the closest we have seen him come to gloating... and proving the the double dip or whatever you want to call it, is here.
S&P Slashes US Growth Forecast, Says Current Crisis Is Worse Than 2008 As US At "Risk Of Default", Ridicules "Transitory"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/17/2011 12:37 -0400
First they cut the rating of the US, then the went and downgraded Google, now S&P is going for the "treason trifecta" by just releasing a report which literally takes the US to the toolshed. Among many other things, the rating agency just cut US growth for the next 3 years. To wit: "While July data finally showed a slight improvement in the U.S. economy, it's not enough to support expectations that the second half of the year will see a bounce in growth. We now expect to see an even slower recovery than the half-speed we earlier expected. We now expect just 1.9% growth in the third quarter and 1.8% in the fourth, to bring 2011 calendar year growth closer to 1.7% instead of 2.4% we earlier expected. We also downwardly revised growth expectations for 2012 and 2013, as a more drawn-out recovery is factored into our forecast." We wonder how soon before the realization that the US is in fact contracting will force S&P to downgrade America even further, a move which will force Moodys and Fitch to come up with a AAAA rating for the US in order to keep the weighted average rating at current levels. It gets even worse though as S&P now openly brings the 2008 analogy: "The markets' violent swings in early August resurrected fears of the market meltdown, such as the one in 2008 when Lehman Brothers went under and Reserve Fund broke the buck. Currently, the crisis is considered to be much more severe, with U.S. sovereign debt at risk of default. The low Treasury yields indicated that markets were expecting Congress to come to its senses and reach a deal. However, the wait and the last-minute deal, which left a lot to be desired, only increased worries that the government will do more harm than good. Confidence in the recovery and in U.S. policymaking has hit new lows. After U.S. sovereign debt lost its triple-A status and financial markets unwound, consumer confidence hit a 31-year low and manufacturing sentiment readings contracted." And the kicker: S&P, yes S&P, makes fun of the Fed, and specifically the "transitory" nature of the economic collapse: "Continued weak growth after sharply downward GDP revisions has made the "temporary argument" a less plausible explanation for the slew of bad news for the first half of the year. At least the GDP revisions make the persistently high unemployment rate make more sense. But the revised data also indicate a much weaker outlook than we previously expected. As the boosts from rebuilding inventories and fiscal stimulus unwound, consumer spending and housing couldn't cover the hole, because the former is still working off excess debts and the latter excess supply. The recovery comprised a first-half average growth of just 0.8%." And that is how you respond to endless scapegoating that now blames the S&P for the collapse. Look for S&P to make the FBI's most wanted list very shortly.
The ECB's new bond purchases are not being sterilized like last year. In fact, just the opposite.
Consumers used to have discretionary income which they would use or not use depending on their mood. Beginning in 2008, consumers had less money but the price of commodities shot up and that has kept consumer spending high – but that doesn’t mean they are happy about it.
All In A SecTres Day's Work: Total US Debt Hits All Time Record $14,615,567,348,203.71, $28 Billion Higher OvernightSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/16/2011 16:49 -0400
Good thing the whole debt ceiling fiasco taught Tim Geithner a thing or two about being frugal, or else today's $28 billion increase in total debt to a new all time high of $14,615,567,348,203.71 may have been far, far worse. At least congress still has $127 billion in dry powder before it has to authorize the extension of the interim debt ceiling cap of $14.694 trillion. At this rate, total debt and US GDP will achieved parity in 4 months, and if the US actually contracts (negative GDP in Q2 and Q3) and enters recession, that will be one divergence spread we will never want to be on the compression side of.
One Of Worst Monthly Sell Offs In High Yield Market's 25 Year History Implies "100% Probability Of Mild Recession"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/16/2011 15:20 -0400
More flashing red recessionary indicators are coming courtesy of the largely ignored High Yield market, which following a 5.3% decline is, as Bank of America (itself ironically contributing substantially to the blow out) says, is shaping up to be "among the worst months in the HY market's 25 year history, in a bad company of post-Lehman, post-WorldCom, post-9/11, and post-Russia sell-offs. The difference of course is that we did not have the largest bankruptcy in history taking place (LEH or WCOM shared that title at a time), no terror attack, and no outright sovereign default (Russia in Aug ’98). What we did have however, is a global risk-off trade, sparked by concerns that this fragile environment could slip into a double-dip recession as consumer and business confidence fails to sustain repeated beating from sovereign and financial systemic risk issues." What we also did have is the near end of the modern ponzi economic model, whose viability was once again extended courtesy of a variety of sticky objects thrown at the wall with hopes one sticks. For now the obliteration has been halted, although one thing is undeniable - central planner intervention buys increasingly less and less time. We are confident that August is just the beggining of pain for not only HY, but all other asset classes. And some more ammo for those who like comparing 2011 to 2008: "Parallels are being drawn between today’s environment and that of 2008, given the degree of equity destruction that has taken place across the financial space. Financial CDS – the epitome of ’08 systemic risk – are trading at an average of 190bp in the US, within reach of Oct ’08 levels, and 240bp in Europe, well north of their ’08 wides." What do spreads imply? Nothing short of recession: "The HY index, in the meantime, has widened to 739bp as of close on Thursday, its widest level since Nov 2009. With the spread normally peaking at 1,000bps in full recessionary periods2 (1991 and 2001-02) and bottoming at 250bp in times of strong economic growth, the current level is pricing in an 80% probability of a fullblown contraction in GDP, and a 100% chance of a mild recession."
QE3 ON: Goldman Lowers Global Government Bond Forecasts Following 2012 US GDP Cut To 2.1%, Repeats "QE3 Is Part Of Baseline Estimates"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/16/2011 10:34 -0400
For those wondering why gold just surged by about $20 dollars, and why Gartman's cab driver once again proves to be far more astute than his passenger, we bring to your attention a report just released by Goldman's Francesco Garzarelli which is appropriately titled "The Price of Slower Growth" - appropriately, because in it Goldman slashes the firm's outlook on global policy rates across the board, slashes to cut its 10 Year bond yield outlook from 3.75% to 2.75% in 2011 and from 4.25% to 3.50%, slashes 2012 US GDP from 3.0% to 2.10%, and once again makes it all too clear that QE3 is coming, and not only coming but is already priced in (to the tune of about $300-400 billion): "In previous work, we have estimated that every US$1trn in purchases, if maintained, decreases 10-yr Treasury yields by 25bp-50bp. If our subjective assessment that market participants now assign a greater-than-even chance of ‘QE3’ is correct, and considering that the expected ‘unsterilized’ size of these purchases is in the region of US$600-800bn, this would equate to as much as 20bp being already ‘in the price’. Clearly, these magnitudes are unobservable, and thus subject to great uncertainty. Nevertheless, our calculations would suggest that the bond market is already discounting a mild recession and the chance of a Fed reaction to it." Translation (and this is nothing new to ZH readers): Bill Dudley has his marching orders from Jan Hatzius: GS now sees deflation as the broader risk, and anything and everything must be done to make sure Wall Street has another record bonus season round, pardon, deflation must be halted.
Over the weekend, we presented the suddenly very pessimistic outlook by Morgan Stanley's equity strategist team which stated in no uncertain terms that it "assigns a higher probability to our bear case than bull case, preventing us from becoming increasingly optimistic" adding that it "continues to assign a higher probability to the bear case than the bull case, and believe the recent price action increases the probability of the bear case." Yesterday, the firm's Credit Strategy team joined the call for a bearish outcome, when in a conference call it stated its case for why its "bearish strategic view is based on long-term structural and valuation issues." Two key metrics watched by MS: i) The unsustainable DM credit super-cycle may be approaching a difficult dénouement, and ii) based on long-term P/E valuation measures, US and UK equities are still expensive. MS warns that "a larger correction in risk assets is likely if a recession occurs, more so for equities" a topic discussed by the equity strategy team over the weekend which believes that the probability of a recession has surged (and continues to be confirmed by leading indicators such as yesterday's Empire State Fed survey). Morgan Stanley's concluding advice to clients: "look to reduce risk in Developed Markets in Counter-Trend rallies." Luckily, any time volume trickles to a halt, the counter-trend rally should present itself providing ample opportunities for selling into it.
Just when Europe managed to get away from the headline rotation for one whole day, it is back with a thud, reminding everyone that at the heart of it all is not a liquidity crisis but a solvency one, after both German and EU GDP surprisingly missed consensus. And what a surprise it was: while everyone was talking about stagflation in the US, the UK, even China, few if anyone dared to mention that word in the same sentence with Germany. That may change after Q2 GDP expanded by just 0.1% in Q2, on expectations of 0.5% growth and down from a downward revised 1.3% (from 1.5%) previously, (2.8% growth Y/Y vs exp of 3.2%). According to the stats office the weak result was primarily due to weaker net trade and consumption. Well if export-focused and mostly wealthy Germany can't generate enough growth through these two core sources of economic output, then nobody can. The immediate result of this datapoint was Commerzbank, and soon other, analysts lowering their GDP forecasts for 2011 to 3% from 3.4%. Germany is still expected to grow faster than the rest of the Eurozone but not by much any longer as this latest decoupling thesis starts to implode. And speaking of Eurozone GDP, it too surprised to the downside, printing at 0.2% on expectations of 0.3$ Q/Q, down from 0.8% previously (or up 1.7% Y/Y on expectations of 1/8%). The accelerating contraction of the European (and German) economy proves that just like in 2008, the ECB's series of rate hikes was the most misguided decision possible by the world's most clueless central bank, and anyone hoping for more rate hikes can kiss such dreams and aspirations goodbye.The net result: yesterday's entire no volume stock market levitation is about to be undone. Too bad the ECB can't buy some extra GDP for its insolvent (and solvent... for now) member countries.
When witnessing this latest vapor volume melt up, what can one say but victory for the bulls... Oh yes, ignore that the relentless rally is on 40% of the past 10 day average volume. 1.8 million ES contracts on 4.46 million 10 DMA. Irrelevant: inverse distribution or something is the conventional spin. Europe is fixed, and no recession is coming - just cover any and all shorts before Google buys them all. Also ignore when a month from today we are back to the level when two ES contracts send the market limit up.
We were a little torn as to who should receive today's captain obvious award of the day. For a while Atlanta Fed's Lockhart was in the lead, who in a speech to the Rotary Club of Atlanta came up with this pearl of wisdom: "the stock market may not tell the economy's direction." Does this mean that the efficient market hypothesis is now dead and that the Chicago School of Voodoo should hand out refunds for decades of indoctrinated lies? Nonetheless, the winner was sealed when we read about an actual paper writtedn by BCA Research's Dhaval Joshi, which found that "Quantitative Easing is good for the rich, and bad for the poor." And there you have it: all those scrathcing their heads, confused, wondering how it is possible that QE which was supposed to make everyone richer, did not do so, have an explanation. And nobody could have possibly come up with this conclusion before: it is a true blessing that BCA decided to invest the capital and manpower into cracking this indecipherable quandary (which truth be told apparently stumped the geniuses at the Fed not once, but twice, and will continue to do so them every single time the S&P drops below 1000).
Stone McCarthy: "You Don't Get Three Months Of Negative Empire Survey Results Unless You Are In A Recession"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/15/2011 12:05 -0400
Forgive us while we take another quick and gratuitous look at today's disastrous Empire Index, but we wanted to bring a very important point highlighted by Stone McCarthy: "You usually don't get three straight months of negative results unless you are in a recession (Note: NY Fed historical data only started in July 2001)." SMRA continues: "If that's not bad enough for you, the forward-looking new orders index fell to -7.8 in August, after posting -5.5 in July and -3.6 in June. Not only is the latest reading a new low in the recent string of negative results, it's also the third straight month of contraction." In other words when the NBER finally sits down to look at the disaster that the US economy has been over the past several years, the start of the next re-recession will likely be given as June 2011, oddly enough in a year when every sell side bank predicted that the economy would grow by at least 3.5% by Q4. As for what to expect next, look for the Philly Fed to be the next major leading indicator disappointment, which based on the NY Fed result, will miss Wall Street expectations of a +2.0% increase yet once gain, and which SMRA believes will drop from 3.2 in July to -3.4 in August.