In 60 years, the US economy has not suffered a 16-month continuous YoY drop in Factory orders without being in recession. Moments ago the Department of Commerce confirmed that this is precisely what the US economy did, when factory orders not only dropped for the 16th consecutive month Y/Y, after declining 1.7% from last month but at $454 billion for the headline number, this was the lowest print since the summer of 2011.
In a quiet start to the week following last week's surprisingly strong rebound which followed a stronger than expected jobs report (perhaps to demonstrate that good news is once again good news), Japan stocks continued to sink as the USDJPY dropped to fresh lows, while commodities declined for a fifth day as the supply glut from crude to copper weighed on prices, dragging down commodity currencies. European equities rose, rebounding from a one-month low.
The Narrative Changes: Goldman "Explains" That Higher Oil Prices Are Actually Better For The EconomySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 04/03/2016 13:40 -0400
"Cheap oil has become “too much of a good thing” for growth", according to Goldman which in an "analysis" concludes "that the net effect of cheap oil on growth has probably been negative so far, with the capex collapse outweighing the consumption boost. Which is a confirmation of everything we have said since late 2014.
In its effort to maintain a weak recovery the Fed has created the worst environment possible = stagflation.
"I think we’re sitting on an economic bubble. A financial bubble... We’re not at 5 percent unemployment. We’re at a number that’s probably into the 20s if you look at the real number. Is it a good time to invest now? "Oh, I think it’s a terrible time right now. You have a situation where you have an inflated stock market. It started to deflate, but then it went back up again. Usually that’s a bad sign. That’s a sign of things to come."
The lessons I learned in Japan leave me comfortable with this outlook. Years of staring at low JGB yields certainly immunized me from the sticker shock associated with low Treasury yields... In Japan, with a negative yield on 10-year JGBs, investors are paying the government to borrow out to a 10-year term and spend. If the public sector ignores these types of messages on a global scale and private demand globally remains deficient, those same investors will accept still lower yields on government bonds outside of Japan – our base case for the rest of 2016.
"We think that the recent rally in risk assets gained much from dovish actions and messages from central banks, in particular the ECB, Fed and the PBoC. One can only applaud the seriousness and pro-activeness that central banks apply to their mandates. But aren’t investors counting too much on central banks carrying the day if not the cycle? This analyst thinks so, without disparaging their efforts, as central banks are almost out of ammo, and their tools are not well suited to handle the problems of slowing company profits and productivity."
Falling profit margins and rising valuations (as earnings fall) make for a pretty bearish one-two punch for the stock market. Investors will surely become less eager to pay higher valuations for companies growing more slowly. That equation usually works in reverse. And there’s no reason we can see to expect these challenges to corporate profit margins to let up any time soon. The S&P 500 now trades at its highest price-to-earnings ratio since the bull market began even as the index remains well off its recent price highs. And profit margins still could have a long way to fall before even reaching their average level since 1950.
"The Fed is increasingly worried about these ever-weaker fundamentals, yet asset markets seem more preoccupied with the omnipresence of the Fed put than downside cyclical risk. This then perhaps points to the bigger underlying concern for investors, the overwhelming build-up of leverage in the system. For in the absence of sensible drivers of returns (i.e. sensible interest rates, EPS growth etc.), investors and corporates resort to leverage.... With miserly rates of return on offer in fixed income markets, investors are leveraging up. The longer the Fed feeds this game, the bigger the mess when the inevitable downswing comes along."
"I think stagflation is starting to show - that idea of stronger nominal growth but weaker real growth is starting to show up across the economy. It certainly is showing up with real personal consumption slowing; it's showing with slower job creation growth as the wage rate rises, and it's showing up in weaker profits as the share of labor income rises reducing profit margins for corporations."
It may be almost impossible to underestimate the gullibility of professional Fed watchers. At least Lucy van Pelt needed to place an actual football on the ground to fool poor Charlie Brown. But in today’s high stakes game of Federal Reserve mind reading, the Fed doesn’t even have to make a halfway convincing bluff to make the markets look foolish.
With volume declining on the rally as short-covering fades, the thrust of Central Bank actions now behind us, the focus will once again turn to the economic and fundamental data. From that standpoint, the “bears” remain firm in the commitments. With profit margins and earnings on the decline, economic data weak and interest rates hovering near lows, there is little support for an ongoing bull rally.
It is our mission to rebut any mainstream article that spreads misinformation about gold and/or shows a gross misunderstanding of monetary history. Matt O’Brien argues in the Washington Post that a “gold-backed dollar would have been a much more volatile one” and that “[gold]…has nothing to do with the price of food or housing.“ We show in a few simple charts why Matt O’Brien’s arguments are misguided, misinformed and just plain wrong.
Just as we predicted, it seems - despite the "everything is awesome" jobs data - that auto sales exuberance has hit the wall of credit saturation. Despite a surge in incentives in Q1, GM US auto sales rose just 0.6% (drastically lower than 6.0% rise expectations) and Ford rose 7.8% (missing expectations of a 9.4% surge). As J.D.Power notes "there are worrisome trends below the surface" of auto sales and with inventories at levels only seen once in the last 24 years (and tumbling used car prices), the automakers have a major problem if this is anything but 'transitory'.
Despite a lackluster holiday sales season and massive big box store closures, despite major 1Q hiring companies like Home Depot reporting flat hiring plans, the BLS model reports 181K payrolls added in 1Q 2016. To put that into context:Best 1Q ever; Better than the entire annual Retail payroll growth for 2014; 2/3s the level of 2015