- Fed seen remaining patient with rate guidance amid global turmoil (Reuters)
- National Weather Service apologizes for blizzard forecast miss (CBS)
- Greek PM Tsipras pushes on with radical change, markets tumble (Reuters)
- Obama Drops Plan to Raise Taxes on ‘529’ College Savings Accounts (WSJ)
- Hard Choices on Easy Money Lie Ahead for Fed Chief (Hilsenrath)
- Debt That Once Boosted Its Cities Now Burdens China (WSJ)
- Skymark Said to File for Bankruptcy After Airbus Deal Flops (BBG)
- Heavy Fighting Drains Ukraine Government’s Options and Finances (WSJ)
While all the algos are programmed and set to scan today's FOMC statement for whether both "patient" and "considerable time" are still there (as it did last time when it supposedly sent a pseudo-hawkish message while telling Virtu and Getco to buy, buy, buy), the market is torn between the trends observed in recent days: on one hand finally succumbing to the adverse impact of USD strength, which overnight also saw the Singapore Dollar admit defeat in the ongoing currency wars, is crushing both revenues and EPS, as well as outlooks, for the bulk of US companies, even as millennials - long since given up on buying a house - allocate their meager savings to the annual incarnation of Apple's flagship product as seen in yesterday's record, blowout numbers by AAPL which is up 8% in the premarket and sending Nasdaq futures soaring compared to the stagnant DJIA or S&P. And then there is Europe where the mood is decidedly sour this morning, with Greece imploding on fears Tsipras really means business and concerns the Greek "virus" may spread to other peripheral nations whose bonds have also seen a lack of a bond bid this morning.
2015 will be a year of shattered illusions; social, political, as well as economic. The common claim today is that the QE of Japan and now the ECB are meant to take up the slack left behind in the manipulation of markets by the Fed. I disagree. As I have been saying since the announcement of the taper, stimulus measures have a shelf life, and central banks are not capable of propping up markets for much longer, even if that is their intention (which it is not). Why? Because even though market fundamentals have been obscured by a fog of manipulation, they unquestionably still apply. Real supply and demand will ALWAYS matter – they are like gravity, and we are forced to deal with them eventually. The elites hope that this will be enough to condition the public to support centralized financial control as the only option for survival... It is hard to say what kind of Black Swans and false flags will be conjured in the meantime, but I highly doubt the shift away from the US Dollar will take place without considerable geopolitical turmoil.
Now that the soaring dollar and plunging crude are sure to punish the Q4 2014 and Q1 2015 GDP growth rate by more than half, with estimate now sliding to the mid to low-2% area, what "benefits" to the US economy can one expect from the tax that is Obamacare? As the following chart courtesy of Goldman shows, thanks to contributions from Medicaid and Medicare and, drumroll, Exchange subsidies, the "benefits" from Obamacare will be with us, well, maybe not "us", but certainly with the way GDP is calculate for a long, long time, as the recent health spending ramp is only just getting started.
Is the BLS overstating employment growth? I guess it depends on whose data set you choose to believe. However, there is little denying the fact that with over 60% of the population living paycheck-to-paycheck, stagnant wage growth and declining net worth over the last five years, there is something that simply does not add up. If employment growth were indeed growing as strongly as in the late 90's, it would seem logical to expect that many of the disparities in the economic landscape should be starting to equalize somewhat. Unfortunately, that has yet to be the case.
According to the doctrine of central planners, the idea of Q€ is to lower rates to encourage borrowing (and credit creation) to spark growth and kickstart a virtuous recovery. As the following chart shows, that is total and utter crap... French jobseekers just hit a fresh record high and French rates just hit a record low - and that has been the story for 6 years. So - just as The Fed was finally forced to admit, Q€ is nothing more than wealth redistribution from all taxpayers to the ultra-rich asset owners who - it is hoped- will bless the plebeians with some trickle-down-ness... with every asset under the moon already at record highs, once again we ask - just what do you think this will achieve Draghi.
In the early 1970s, there were about 200,000 new US businesses created each year (net of closures). Now, the number is negative. Why are Americans getting poorer? Look no further. No new businesses (net). No new jobs (again net). No new wealth. Under Obama and Draghi, crony capitalism flourishes. Real capitalism dies.
"Prospects For A Home Run In 2015 Aren’t Good" - November Case-Shiller Confirms Ongoing Housing Market SlowdownSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/27/2015 09:40 -0500
In a day of furious disappointments, the Case-Shiller housing report, albeit looking at the ancient economic picture as of November, confirmed what most had known: that the growth in housing prices slowed down yet again on not only a Year over Year basis, which rose just 4.31%, the lowest annual increase since October 2012 but also dropped by -0.22% decline on a monthly basis, which may not sound like much, but was the worst monthly drop since February 2012!
Welcome To The Wreckovery: Who Could Have Possibly Anticipated Caterpillar's Disastrous Earnings And Guidance?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/27/2015 07:54 -0500
Well, pretty much anyone who had read any of our CAT monthly sales reports over the past 2 years.
As The Middle Class Evaporates, Global Oligarchs Plan Their Escape Form The Impoverished Pleb MassesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/26/2015 22:40 -0500
Obama: "Middle-Class Economics works.."
Davos Hedge Fund Director: “I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway...”
While central banks’ grip on the economy seems to be waning, notes Citi's Matt King, additional liquidity still seems as potent as ever when it comes to propping up global markets. The question in our minds revolves around whether central banks remain willing to keep pumping when the economic benefits are so questionable. Equally, though, valuations are already so elevated that we doubt they can afford to stop. One way or another, this feels like a recipe for increased volatility.
"...as the Swiss National Bank has shown, risk can come back with a vengeance. The same thing can happen of course, in any other market. If the Federal Reserve wants to pursue an "exit" to its intervention, if it wants to go down this path, well, volatility is going to come back. Everything else equal, it means asset prices have to be priced lower. That is the problem if you base an economic recovery exclusively on asset price inflation. We are going to have our hands full trying to kind of move on from here. In that context, what the Swiss National Bank has done is it is just a canary in the coal mine that there will be more trouble ahead."
Since last May (and likely long before) when the topic of "de-dollarization" was first uttered in official circles (and not just tin-foil-hat-wearing blogs), the rest of the world (un-isolated as they are) has been warming to the idea that perhaps - just perhaps - it is time to de-dollarize (more or less depending on the despotic region in question). From currency swap agreements to bi-lateral trade agreements to selling US Treasuries and greatly rotating USD reserves into gold, the world's nations (small and large) appear less and less comfortable holdings dollars in this tempestuous world. Among the supporters of that first "de-dollarization" meeting were China and Iran and while the former continues to work down its exposure, the latter - Iran, according to Tasnim news agency, has almost entirely eliminated USDollars from its reserves and is no longer using dollars in foreign trade. De-dollarization complete...
Someday, maybe, these central banks will find that secret formula that unlocks the commanded utopia from its monetary prison, but I think it more like what led to the end of the first Gulf War, where continued air raids upon Iraqi positions amounted to destroying rubble. As Colin Powell put it, “we were bouncing rubble with billion-dollar missiles.” That seems to be a fitting, paraphrased description of the European state of monetarism, bouncing economic rubble with trillion-euro debt missiles.