In October 2008, the month after Lehman failed and the Great Recession started, industrial bellwether Caterpillar underwent a series of 19 consecutive, record, declines in Global dealer retail sales declines, finally emerging from its unprecedented funk in May of 2010, just in time to celebrate the start of financial and economic Greece's collapse which ended with a sovereign default. Well, as of July 2014, that record is no longer valid, because starting with a -1% drop in Global retail sales in December 2012, CAT has now posted a new record of 20 consecutive global delaer retail sales declines, after a -9% Y/Y print for the month of July.
While everyone's (algorithmic) attention will be focused on today's minutes from the July 29-30 FOMC meeting for views on remaining slack in U.S. economy following recent changes in the labor market (especially a particularly solid JOLTS report which indicates that at least on the openings front, there is no more) and any signal of policy change by the Fed ahead of Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech in Jackson Hole on Aug. 22, a curious thing happened overnight when a few hours ago the BoE's own minutes show the first vote split since 2011, as Weale and McCafferty argue for a 0.75% bank rate. Then again, if the Russians are finally bailing on London real estate, the inflationary pressures at the top of UK housing may finally be easing. In any event, every FOMC "minute" will be overanalyzed for hints of what Yellen's speech on Friday morning will say, even if stocks just shy of all time highs know quite well she won't dare say anything to tip the boat despite her warnings of a biotech and social network bubble.
The arrogance, hubris and contempt for morality displayed by the ruling class is breathtaking to behold. They think they are untouchable and impervious to norms followed by the rest of society. They may have won the opening battle, but will lose the war. Discontent among the masses grows by the day. The critical thinking citizens are growing restless and angry. They are beginning to grasp the true enemy. The system has been captured by a few malevolent men. When the stock, bond and housing bubbles all implode simultaneously, all hell will break loose in this country. It will make Ferguson, Missouri look like a walk in the park.
Any day, week, month, year now... Japan's adjusted trade balance missed expectations by the most since October 2013 (back over a JPY1 trillion deficit) as the QQE-ing, j-curve-any-minute-now nation awaits the arrival of the competitive pickup for the 40th month in a row. Exports beat expectations (which we are sure will be the headline crowed about by all) but imports surged by 2.3% (against expectations of a 1.5% drop). It appears you single-handedly devalue yourself to prosperity in an interconnected world after all - whocouldanode? As we said before, "Monetary debasement does NOT result in an economic recovery, because no nation can force another to pay for its recovery."
Nobody really believes the official narrative that the "recovery" is powering the remarkable strength of U.S. stocks, bonds and real estate. The real Main Street economy is quite obviously struggling, outside the energy and Federal government sectors, and so many see the Federal Reserve's free money for financiers (a.k.a. quantitative easing) bond and mortgage-buying programs as the real reason bond yields have declined and stocks have soared. This leads us to wonder if capital inflows into the U.S. aren't a largely overlooked driver of rising U.S. markets.
At this point, one has to wonder, just what is the point of all the Central Banks’ activities? The QE efforts in the US and Japan (two of the biggest in history) haven’t really generated jobs or GDP growth… so just what ARE they doing?
After June's very disappointing housing starts and permits numbers, which plunged to 893K and 963K respectively well below consensus expectations, it was time for the Department of HUD to show how it's done, and moments ago the July housing starts and permits data literally blew away Wall Street expectations, as Starts soared from an upward revised 945K to 1093K, the highest print since November 2013, while permits surged from an also upward revised 973K to 1052K, smashing expectations of 1000K and the biggest beat since October. Why? Multi-family housing is back with a vengeance with "rental" permits and starts soaring by 24% and 33% respecitvely in the month of July.
A quick reminder of how geopolitics governs markets: on Friday, the market plunged 0.005% over fears Ukraine and Russia may be about to go at it all out after a fake report Ukraine shelled a Russian military convoy. On Monday, the same "market" soared just under 1% as the news that had caused the "crash" was refuted. That has been the dominant rinse, repeat theme for the past month and will continue to be well after Yellen's Friday speech at Jackson Hole (although one does wonder why she is not speaking on Wednesday when the symposium begins). Not surprisingly, with only modest re-escalation news overnight (that Russia is preparing further retaliatory sanctions against the West), which is simply "pent up de-escalation" in the eyes of Keynesian algos, futures are again up a solid 0.2% and rising, and the way the rampy USDJPY is being manipulated before its pre-market blast off, we may well see the S&P hit 1980, if not a new all time high before 9:30am, let alone during today's cash session. In any event, whatever you do, don't you dare suggest that algos should care one bit about Ferguson and its implications for US society.
The stock market is presently a roulette wheel with dimes on black and dynamite on red... The ‘buy the dip’ mentality can introduce periodic recovery attempts even in markets that are quite precarious from a full cycle perspective. Galbraith reminds us that the 1929 market crash did not have observable catalysts: “the crash did not come – as some have suggested – because the market suddenly became aware that a serious depression was in the offing... for it is in the nature of a speculative boom that almost anything can collapse it."
- Yellen Dashboard Warning Light Glows as Millions Work Part Time (BBG)
- More US drones boosting global GDP: Unidentified war planes, explosions heard in Libyan capital (Reuters)
- London Home Asking Prices Plunge Most in More Than Six Years (BBG)
- Carney - Rate Hike before Pay Recovers (Times)
- No Fed fireworks, but plenty of clues, expected at Jackson Hole (Reuters)
- Kurdish, Iraqi forces in control of Mosul dam (Reuters)
- China Pushes Cleanup of Banks (WSJ)
- Russia Widens Ruble Trading Band in Move Away From Managed Rate (BBG)
- Dollar General Makes $9.7 Billion Family Dollar Counterbid (BBG)
- Autopsy finds unarmed teen killed by police was shot six times (NYT)
- Bull Market Waning as Barclays Sees 1% Gain for S&P 500 (BBG)
- Credit Suisse Caught Up in Espírito Santo Mess (WSJ)
The current 'boom'in energy production, the hangover from the housing bubble, and the long-term decline in manufacturing employment are combining to shift the employment profile of the US economy. But as Deloitte Unioversity press notes, the national story of slow recovery obscures the more complicated regional picture: As is the case during most business cycles, the pace of recovery has been very uneven among the states. At present, only 16 states plus the District of Columbia have employment rates at least one percent higher than they were prior to the start of the recession. Overall, as the following chart shows, Americans have been struggling to find work, but some states and industries have had an easier time than others.
As we reported last night, when the Ferguson curfew hitting at midnight, while most of the protesters dispersed, many still remained on the streets despite a clear warning by the police department that anyone still rioting/looting/protesting would be arrested. Which is when things went from bad to worse for yet another sequential night, and culminated with the arrest of seven people and the shooting of an unknown person who is currently in critical condition.
At the end of July, 2014, an article was distributed called “seven charts that leave you no choice but to feel optimistic about the US economy”. Although the facts that they presented are correct, the conclusion that they drew is not. In the following sections, we will examine and refute each of the seven pieces of "evidence" that were presented.
So…the US economy is allegedly in recovery… the financial markets are fixed… and all is well in the world. But the Fed cannot risk raising interest rates to normal levels because Wall Street has over $12 trillion (more like over $100 trillion) in derivatives contracts that could blow up.