The Mystery Of America's "Schrodinger" Middle Class, Which Is Either Thriving Or About To Go ExtinctSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/24/2014 09:05 -0500
On one hand, the US middle class has rarely if ever had it worse. At least, if one actually dares to venture into this thing called the real world, and/or believes the NYT's report: "Falling Wages at Factories Squeeze the Middle Class." In short, it says that America's manufacturing sector, and thus middle class, is being obliterated: "A new study by the National Employment Law Project, to be released on Friday, reveals that many factory jobs nowadays pay far less than what workers in almost identical positions earned in the past. And then, paradoxically, at almost the same time, there's this from Bloomberg: "Lower-wage workers saw bigger pay gains over the past year than the highest earners, reversing the trend from earlier stages of the recovery." In short: the state of the US middle class is truly in the eyes of the beholder.
Since May, CEO confidence among America's largest companies had stagnated - even as stocks did what they do and rise, rise, rise. That changed when Bullard (now explained as "misunderstood" by the market) set fire to stocks with his QE4 hints and Plunge Protection Team rescue. However, the last 2 weeks have seen a noticable collapse once again in CEO confidence, according to Bloomberg's Orange Book index, even as stocks reach new higher all-time-er highs. As Bloomberg's Rich Yamarone notes, recent earnings calls highlight the headwinds companies face: Executives cite “softness in consumer spending,” a “challenging” climate, “fairly stagnant economy,” and “cautious” optimism. Currency valuations are front and center.
Want to escape a lifetime of debt servitude? Then some of the fields one may want to avoid include drama, music, religion, anthropology, philosophy, psychology and education.
Fear Of "Surge In Debt Defaults, Business Failures And Job Losses" Means Many More Chinese Rate CutsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/23/2014 10:40 -0500
The PBOC, which cut rates for the first time in two years on Friday, will have its work cut out for it. And in the worst tradition of "developed world" banks, Beijing will now have no choice but to double down on the very same bad policies that got it into its current unstable equilibrium, and proceeds with a full-blown policy flip-flop, leading to a full easing cycle that reignites the bad-debt surge once more. And sure enough, today Reuters reports citing "unnamed sources involved in policy-making" (supposedly different sources than the unnamed sources Reuters uses to float trial balloons used by the ECB and the BOJ), that "China's leadership and central bank are ready to cut interest rates again and also loosen lending restrictions" due to concerns deflation "could trigger a surge in debt defaults, business failures and job losses, said sources involved in policy-making." In other words, China has once again looked into the abyss once... and decided to dig a little more.
It is unclear whether the person in charge of the Lois Lerner "disappeared IRS emails" strategy was also Dr. Gruber, but whoever conceived of the idiotic idea that the fatal failure of a local hard disk means that emails which are stored on at least one server miles away, and subsequently downloaded via POP3, IMAP or some other protocol, have vaporized, clearly also relied on the stupidity (and laziness) of the American people. And like in the case of Obamacare, the lies worked, if only for a short period of time. And because when it comes to lies coming from the very top, there is never just one cockroach, and they always inevitably scatter, the latest headache for a scandal-ridden president is that Lois Lerner's email, supposedly gone in perpetuity, have mysteriously reappeared, and as the Washington Examiner reports, "up to 30,000 missing emails sent by former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner have been recovered by the IRS inspector general, five months after they were deemed lost forever."
There are two words that should strike fear in the hearts of any rational-thinking citizen of the world - Paul Krugman. Wondering why? As Alhambra's Jeff Snider notes, we already know of at least one respect where Krugman (as a stand-in at least for the Keynesian perspective that is somehow still widely shared, especially in the orthodox economist class) has impacted 'stimulus' activity, Sweden. And now his appearance in Japan enabled what Japanese economists call a "historic meeting," as Bloomberg reports that Abe met with the Nobel-prize winner for 40 minutes who "helped the prime minister make up his mind," that delaying the fiscally-responsible tax-hikes was the right thing to do (and increasing QQE) or Japan "wouldn’t escape deflation." Mission Accomplished... and if it fails, moar will be needed and 'capitalism' will be blamed.
Here we go again. By now everyone, including 2 year old E-trade babies and Atari algos know, that the only reason the market soared from the October 15 bottom, a move which we showed was entirely due to multiple expansion and thus nothing to do with earnings and everything to do with faith in even more free central-planning liquidity (something the PBOC was all too happy to provide overnight), was James Bullard's casual "QE4" hint on Bloomberg TV. And now that the market is at ridiculous all time highs and trading above 19x GAAP PE, far above the level when in September the IMF, the G-20, the BIS and even the Fed all warned of assets bubbles, here is Bullard once again, with a fresh mea culpa and a new attempt to jawbone stocks, only this time back down, because as Dow Jones reports, "Bullard Says Markets Misread Him In October Bond-Buying Dustup."
- They go all in: China’s PBOC Cuts Interest Rates for First Time Since 2012 (BBG)
- And all in-er: ECB's Draghi throws door to quantitative easing wide open as recovery wanes (Reuters)
- Global Markets Rally: ECB Head Says Central Bank Is Ready to Expand Stimulus Program After China Cuts Rates (WSJ)
- Obama unveils U.S. immigration reform, setting up fight with Republicans (Reuters)
- U.S. increasing non-lethal military aid to Ukraine (Reuters)
- Russia warns U.S. against arms to Ukraine as Biden due in Kiev (Reuters)
- Ukraine slashed gold holdings in October, Russia added more - IMF (Reuters)
- Abe Dissolves Japan’s Lower House of Parliament (WSJ)
While the biggest news of the day will certainly be China's rate cut (and the Dutch secret gold repatriation but more on the shortly), here is a list of all the other central-banking/planning events which have moved markets overnight, because in the new normal it no longer is about any news or fundamentals, it is all about the destruction of the value of money and the matched increase in nominal asset values.
The topic of ‘currency war’ has been bantered about in financial circles since at least the term was first used by Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega in September 2010. Recently, the currency war has escalated, and a ‘sanctions war’ against Russia has broken out. History suggests that financial assets are highly unlikely to preserve investors’ real purchasing power in this inhospitable international environment, due in part to the associated currency crises, which will catalyse at least a partial international remonetisation of gold. Vladimir Putin, under pressure from economic sanctions, may calculate that now is the time to play his ‘gold card’.
Recovery, we have a problem... November's Flash US Manufacturing PMI printed a 10-month lows 54.7, missing expectation sof 56.3 by the most on record and tumbling for the third month in a row. The last 2 mnths have seen the biggest drop since June 2013 ands as Markit notes, suggests a further drop in GDP growth expectations of only 2.5% in Q4. Output is down for the 3rd straight month and Surprise!! Export market weakness is being blamed... as it seems the US cannot decouple from the rest of the world's slump after all and is - as we have explained numerous times - merely on a lagged cycle. We're gonna need more Fed-fueled subprime-auto-loan malarkey to keep this dream alive.
- Top Trade #1: EUR/$ downside via a one-year EUR/$ put spread.
- Top Trade #2: 10-year US Treasuries above 3% but not below 2% in mid-2015, through cap and floor spreads at zero cost.
- Top Trade #3: Long a Dec-2015 Eurostoxx 50 ‘bull’ call spread.
- Top Trade #4: Long US High Yield credit risk via 5-year CDX HY junior mezzanine tranches.
- Top Trade #5: Long an equity basket of EM crude oil importers (Taiwan, Turkey and India).
- Top Trade #6: Short CHF/SEK.
- Top Trade #7: Bearish Copper relative to Nickel, on supply divergence.
- Top Trade #8: Long US Dollar against a basket of ZAR and HUF.
- Banks Had Unfair Advantage From Commodity Units (Bloomberg)
- Report Notes Deals Between Goldman, Deutsche and Others Drove Up Aluminum Prices (WSJ)
- Goldman, Morgan Stanley Commodity Heyday Gone as Units Faulted (BBG) - because when you can no longer manipulate, you move on...
- Lenders Shift to Help Struggling Student Borrowers (WSJ)
- Immigrants face major hurdles in signing up to new Obama plan (Reuters)
- Distressed Debt in China? Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, Buyers Say (BBG)
- Banking culture breeds dishonesty, scientific study finds (Reuters)
- Amazon Robots Get Ready for Christmas (WSJ)
"QE is a necessary condition for recovery in Europe, but is not sufficient in itself. The question is where does this bridge take us? The eurozone can survive a couple more years of miserable growth, but it can’t go on forever like this before people lose hope. There is political risk almost everywhere."
While hopes of the J-Curve recovery in the deficit are long forgotten in the annals of Goldman Sachs history, silver-lining-seekers will proclaim the very modest beat in tonight's Japanese trade deficit a moral victory for a nation whose economic data has been nothing but abysmal for months. However, the near $1 trillion Yen deficit is the 44th month in a row as exports to US and Europe rose modestly in Yen terms but dropped to China and US in volume terms. USDJPY continues its march higher (now 118.25) but, unfoirtunately for Abe's approval ratings, Japanese stocks continue to languish an implied 1000 points behind - unable to break back above pre-GDP levels... as faith in Kuroda's omnipotence falters.