If one steps back from the adjusted, non-GAAP EPS "beats" reported by companies this earnings season which benefit from what is set to be a record quarter of stock buybacks and an unprecedented drop in consensus expectations, Q1 earnings season for the "blue chips" so far has truly "blown", with revenue declines announced at IBM (12th in a row), McDonalds, Coke, and earlier today Procter & Gamble also reporting that its sales have fallen for fifth straight quarter. And then moments ago "diversified global tech" bellwether 3M reported that its sales declined 3.2% year-on-year to $7.6 billion. The company also missed its EPS, and adding insult to injury, "the company now expects earnings to be in the range of $7.80 to $8.10 per share versus $8.00 to $8.30 per share previously."
- Clinton charities will refile tax returns, audit for other errors (Reuters)
- China Warns North Korean Nuclear Threat Is Rising (WSJ), or another country realizes war is the only "exit"
- Shares, euro sag after euro zone PMIs disappoint (Reuters)
- China Manufacturing Gauge Drops to Lowest Level in 12 Months (BBG)
- Deutsche Bank Said to Pay $2.14 Billion in Libor Case (BBG), or roughly a €20,000 per banker "get out of jail" fee
- Brazil’s Petrobras Reports Nearly $17 Billion in Asset and Corruption Charges (WSJ)
- Can This Oil Baron’s Company Withstand Another Quake? (BBG)
- Bad for Q1 GDP: Raytheon sales fall amid weak U.S. defense spending (Reuters)
"To find the real source of the system's excessive fragility, the regulators will need to look much closer to home... The Federal Reserve remains the largest market manipulator ever, and the desperate yield-chasing, hair-trigger markets that it created were the primary cause of that crash and the inevitable ones yet to come."
"Where are the defaults?" UBS asks, referring to the highly leveraged US shale complex. "They're coming," is the answer, as current bond prices assume oil prices in the 60s and 70s.
Saudi Arabia is not trying to crush U.S. shale plays. Its oil-price war is with the investment banks and the stupid money they directed to fund the plays. It is also with the zero-interest rate economic conditions that made this possible. Saudi Arabia intends to keep oil prices low for as long as possible.
Idiocracy is upon us...
Despite our exposure of the contagious risk increases in peripheral bond spreads, "many European officials believe a Greek exit would be manageable, and in contrast to 2010-2011, we wouldn’t see the same cascading effect on countries like Spain or Ireland,” according to the European Centre for International Political Economy in Brussels and EU Chair Jeroen Djisselbloem even noted that "the Greek situation can be isolated." It appears America is getting nervous at Europe's apparent complacency... White House economic adviser Jason Furman says a Greek exit from the euro zone would present "VERY LARGE AND UNNECESSARY RISK FOR GLOBAL ECONOMY."
Economist Steen Jakobsen, Chief Investment Officer of Saxo Bank, believes 2015 will be another "lost year" for the economy. And he predicts the Federal Reserve will indeed start to raise rates later this year, surprising the market and taking the wind of out asset prices. He recommends building cash and waiting to see how the coming storm - which he calls the "greatest margin call in history" - plays out...
Many have forecast the creation of a new monetary system by which governments and banks gain total control over all monetary transactions. On the surface of it, this may seem an impossible goal, as it would be so all-encompassing and would eliminate economic freedom entirely. Surely, it would not be tolerated. However, we believe that it’s not only relatively easy to create, but it will be sold in such a way that the public will see it as an absolute panacea to their economic woes. Only those who are far-sighted will understand its level of destruction in advance of its implementation.
With lumber prices plunging to fresh 3 year lows, the divergence between homebuilders and the most economically-sensitive commodity is starting to suggest a rather scary case of deja vu all over again.
"An alternate, more sophisticated approach to explaining why QE may not work to stimulate aggregate consumption is, perhaps, because the demographic mix of the U.S. (and most parts of the developed world) has shifted toward older people. Unlike 30 or 40 years ago, the enormous baby boomer generation, and even retirees, are much wealthier (including human capital) than in the past, and they are wealthier than current generations earlier in their life cycle. So the wealth effect does not lead to an increase in consumption and, potentially, has the opposite outcome."
- Robert Merton
Nothing is ever permanent with the QE’s because they were doomed from the start. The “dollar” system can never be refined and remade to its prior station because it was irrevocably broken on August 9, 2007. All that QE’s have done is to create reverberation within the downward channel which may, in the end, only exacerbate the degree of imbalance that weighs on the inevitable shift.
Trying to make sense of the global capital markets.
The entire global financial system resembles a colossal spiral of debt. Just about all economic activity involves the flow of credit in some way, and so the only way to have “economic growth” is to introduce even more debt into the system. Unfortunately, any system based on debt is going to break down eventually, and there are signs that it is starting to happen once again.
"The last time China suffered such pace of capital outflows was during 2012 when $165bn of capital left during the last three quarters of that year. And before then it was during the Lehman crisis," JPM notes, in yet another sign that Beijing is stuck between a rock and a hard place as it battles to maintain the dollar peg in the face of slumping economic growth.