recovery

David Stockman: The Born Again Jobs Scam, Part 2: The Fed’s Labor Market Delusion

The Fed’s transmission mechanism to the household sector is blocked. The business credit expansion channel to higher GDP is blocked, too. The flood of demand by which the Fed endeavors to “pull” idle and underemployed workers back into production cannot be activated if the US economy has reached a condition of peak debt, as we strongly believe to be the case. Indeed, when the credit expansion channel is broken and done, all the Fed’s liquidity “accommodation” flows into the Wall Street finance channel where it pulls up the price of existing financial assets, not the employment rate of idle labor. This much is obvious, yet Yellen and her monetary politburo keep on attempting to flood the nation’s macroeconomic bathtub with more “demand”. Worse still, they fail to note that even if they could induce business and households to bury themselves deeper in debt that it wouldn’t necessarily have a salutary impact on the “labor market”— the ostensible target of their strenuous ministrations.

The US Consumer Is So Strong, Family Dollar Is Closing 370 Stores

Today, as we plumb the depths of the US economic food-chain in that last bastion for the improverished US consumer, dollar stores, we find that that staple for low-cost "everything" Family Dollar, which operates 8,100 stores around the country, will be shutting down 370 stores "as it tries to reverse sagging sales and earnings." It was not clear immediately how many thousands of workers would be affected by the store shuttering. We assume "many to quite many." And what do they say? Why, that "the US economic recovery is obviously stronger than ever" of course!

The Deer Is Back - Nasdaq Suffers Biggest Loss Since Nov 2011

But the pretty people on TV said the Fed Minutes proved they were the most dovish ever and initial claims hit recovery lows... What a total disaster - Equity markets peaked within a few minutes of the open and never looked back - yesterday's "Fed Cat Bounce" gave way to Really Red Thursday... with the Nasdaq and Russell 6.5% from their recent highs (and the S&P 3.5% off), we suspect a "markets in turmoil" special on business media any moment...

Initial Jobless Claims Plunge Most Since 2006 To Lowest Since 2007

From a revised 332k last week, initial claims collapsed 32k to 300k (smashing expectations of 320k) and dropping to the lowest of the recovery. This is the lowest initial claims print since May 2007. Rather stunningly, given the real employment situation in America, this claims data is nearing the best levels since 2000 (and certainly does nothing for the un-taper case so many are hoping for). This is the biggest weekly drop since January 2006. Continuing claims also dropped to new cycle lows back to Jan 2008 lows. Mission Accomplished?

Greek Bond Final Term Sheet: Upsized, Eight Times Oversubscribed, And Yielding 4.95%

"Fear Of Missing Out" - that is the only way one can explain the irrational idiocy with which asset "managers" are scrambling to allocate other people's money into today's "historic" Greek (where unemployment just printed at 26.7%) return to the bond market, and which according to Greek PM Venizelos was eight times oversubscribed, or far more demand than for the Facebook IPO. Ironically, while we joked earlier this week, when the Greek 5Y was trading in the 6% range that the new bond would issue at 3%, we were not too far off on the final terms which were largely expected in the mid-5% range. Instead, Greece shocked everyone when it announced that the avalanche of lemmings had made it possible for Greece to issue debt at a sub-5% yield, and a 4.75% cash coupon! Here is the final term sheet.

Futures Fail To Levitate Green Despite Atrocious Chinese And Japanese Econ Data

The main overnight event, which we commented on previously, was China's trade data which was a disaster. March numbers turned out to be well below market consensus with exports falling 6.6% YoY (vs +4.8% expected) and imports falling 11.3% YoY (vs +3.9% expected). The underperformance of imports caused the trade balance to spike to $7.7bn (vs -$23bn in Feb). Pricing on the Greek 5-year syndicated bond is due later today, with the final size of the bond boosted to EUR 3bln from EUR 2.5bln as order books exceed EUR 20bln (equating to a rough bid/cover ratio of over 6) as the final yield is set at 4.75% (well below the 5.3% finance ministry target and well above our "the world is a bunch of idiots managing other people's money" 3% target). Ireland sold EUR 1bln in 10y bonds, marking the third successful return to the bond market since the bailout. Also of note, this morning saw the release of lower than expected French CPI data, underpinning fears of potential deflation in the Eurozone.

Fed Admits Policies Benefit Rich, Fears For "Nation's Democratic Heritage"

Having warned just 6 weeks ago that high-yield credit and small high-tech firms may be in a bubble, Fed Governor Tarullo, ironically speaking at the Hyman Minsky Financial Instability Conference, suggested that the recuction in share of national income for "workers" (i.e. income inequality) is troubling. Furthermore, he added, "changes reflect serious challenges not only to the functioning of the American economy over the coming decades, but also to some of the ideals that undergird the nation's democratic heritage." His speech, below, adds that since there has been only slow growth so far, expectations for a growth spurt are misplaced and that the Fed-policy-driven recovery has "benefited high-earners disproportionately."

Bond Bulls Beware - Here's What Happened The Last 18 FOMC Minutes Release Days

Of all the Fed’s communication tools, BofA notes that the minutes seem to be the most confusing to the markets. They should be “old news," Ethan Harris comments, and yet, investors look to the minutes for nuggets of insight. The result, in our view, is a steady stream of “head fakes” and a regular pattern of weakness in the bond market. The results are striking and more consistent than we had expected: the bond market sold off on 18 out of 20 days. Of course, this time could be different but the last 2 years of FOMC Minutes releases have seen bond yields rise on average 3.5bps (bonds are already 3bps higher in yield) and effective Fed watching these days appears mainly a matter of avoiding misleading messages and fading "misinterpretation" of their communications.

Consumer Spending "Recovery" Stalls As Pent-Up Demand Fails To Appear

For the first time since the 'recovery' began, Gallup reports that consumer's average daily spending flatlined year-over-year. As Gallup concludes, at a daily rate of $87, Americans' average daily spending in March looks positive by comparison to spending over the past five years. But the stall in spending, both month-over-month and compared with a year ago, most likely signals a continuation of the lackluster retail sales seen so far in 2014. While government data suggested that retail sales rebounded in February (though still the weakest YoY since Nov 2009), the Gallup data appears to confirm the post-weather pent-up-demand has failed to arrive.

Fed To The Sharks, Part 2: Housing And The Death Of The Middle Class

The Fed sacrificed the foundation of middle class wealth - stable housing values - to boost bank profits. Middle class wealth was Fed to the sharks. As the current housing bubble deflates, the investor-buyers who fueled the rally are exiting en masse: what's the value of an asset when the bid vanishes, i.e. there's nobody left who's willing to pay today's prices? The Fed has failed to restore middle class wealth with its latest housing bubble, and the costs of the bubble's collapse will fall not on the Fed but on those who believed the recovery was more than Fed manipulation.

Wholesale Inventory Build Slows As Sales Miss 3rd Month In A Row

Wholesale inventory growth slowed to 0.5% (for Feb) from a revised 0.8% pick up in January but met expectations as it seems the much-hoped for weather recovery remains missing in action. This is the 2nd slowest rate of inventory increase in 7 months. Wholesale Sales did bounce back from the utter collapse last month but not as much as expected - rising 0.7% vs 1.0% expectations - missing for the 3rd month in a row. The combination leaves inventory/sales overall at its highest in 16 months.

Greece To Issue First 5Y Bond Since Bailout At Lowest Yields Since 2009

For the first time since the bailout/restructuring, Greece will issue long-term debt to the public markets. These 5 year-term English Law bonds (which is entirely unsurprising given the total lack of protection local-law bonds suffered during the last restructuring) are expected to yield between 5 and 5.25%. That is modestly higher than Russia, below Mexico, and one-sixth of the yield investors demanded when the crisis was exploding. The secondary market has rallied to this entirely liquidity-fueled level leaving onlookers stunned (and likely Draghi et al. also). Greece must be 'fixed' right? Just don't look at the chart below...

David Stockman's "Born Again Jobs Scam": The Ugly Truth Behind "Jobs Friday"

The mainstream recovery narrative has an astounding “recency bias”. According to all the CNBC talking heads, the 192,000 NFP jobs gain reported on Friday constituted another “strong” report card. Well, let’s see. Approximately 75 months ago (December 2007) at the cyclical peak before the so-called Great Recession, the BLS reported 138.4 million NFP jobs. When the hosanna chorus broke into song last Friday, the reported figure was 137.9 million NFP jobs. By the lights of old-fashioned subtraction, therefore, we are still 500k jobs short—notwithstanding $3.5 trillion of money printing in the interim. The truth is, all the ballyhooed “new jobs” celebrated on bubblevision month-after-month have actually been “born again” jobs. That is, jobs which were created during the Fed’s 2002-2007 bubble inflation; lost in the aftermath of the September 2008 meltdown; and then “recovered” during the renewed bubble inflation now underway.