University Of Michigan

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Recession Check: Updating The Indicators





The largest problem with the data sets below is that they are all subject to large historical revisions. This is why the NBER is ALWAYS well after the fact in pronouncing the start and end of recessions in the U.S. economy. Given the ongoing interventions from the Federal Reserve and the current administration, it is likely that many of the statistics, and seasonal adjustment metrics, have been skewed in recent years. In the quarters ahead it is likely that we could see rather sharp adjustments to historical data which may suggest the economy has been far weaker than headline statistics have suggested.

 
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Gold Jumps Despite Stronger Dollar As Grexit Gets Ever Nearer, Futures Flat





With equities having long ago stopped reflecting fundamentals, and certainly the Eurozone's ever more dire newsflow where any day could be Greece's last in the doomed monetary union, it was up to gold to reflect that headlines out of Athens are going from bad to worse, with Bloomberg reporting that not only are Greek banks running low on collateral, both for ELA and any other purposes, that Greece would have no choice but to leave the Euro upon a default and that, as reported previously, Greece would not have made its May 12 payment had it not been for using the IMF's own reserves as a source of funding and that the IMF now sees June 5 as Greece's ever more fluid D-day. As a result gold jumped above $1230 overnight, a level last seen in February even as the Dollar index was higher by 0.5% at last check thanks to a drop in the EUR and the JPY.

 
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UMich Consumer Sentiment Crashes As Surging Gas Prices Trump Stock Record Highs





Soaring gas prices dueled with soaring stock prices to leave University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment and it appears the former won. Printing at the weakest level since Oct 2014, UMich dropped to 88.6 (vs 95.9 expectations). This is the biggest miss on record.. and biggest MoM drop since Dec 2012. Both current conditons and expectations plunged despite surges in inflation expectations. Higher income expectations are starting to plunge - at their lowest in 7 months - and household finances are seenas the worst since July 2014. And finally, the survey's spokspersonsays that respondents showed "concern over employment."

 
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Futures Make Further Record Gains On Bad Economic Data, Lack Of Volume, News And Bund Selling





Was that it for the "reflation" aka Bund-rout trade? One look at German bonds this morning and the sharp, panic selloffs seen in recent days are completely gone making one wonder if the ECB is done selling Bunds the CTAs who were riding the momentum train have all been squeezed out of their long positions and now the trend back to -0.20% can resume only to be followed by another abrupt 6-sigma move as the ECB once again sells inventory to buy itself more monetization runway. As a reminder, the ECB has to buy debt until September 2016 and it won't be able to if the 30-Year Bund is at -0.20% in a few months (or weeks).

 
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Key Events In The Coming Week





Today’s Eurogroup meeting will be key in determining where Greece and its creditors negotiations currently stand. Over in the US today, it’s the usual post payrolls lull with just the labor market conditions data expected.

 
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Futures Jittery As Attention Returns To Greece; China Stocks Rebound On Latest Central Bank Intervention





With the big macro data out of the way, attention today and for the rest of the week will focus on the aftermath of the latest Chinese rate cut - its third in the past 6 months - which managed to boost the Shanghai Composite up by 3% overnight but not nearly enough to make up for losses in the past week; any resumption of the 6+ sigma volatility in the German Bund, which already has been jittery with the yield sliding to 0.52% only to spike to 0.62% shortly thereafter before retracing some of the losses; and finally Greece, which in a normal world would have concluded its negotiations during today's Eurogroup meeting and unlocked up to €7 billion in funds for the coming months. Instead, Greece may not only not make its €770 million IMF payment tomorrow but according to ever louder rumors, is contemplating a parallel currency on its way out of the Eurozone.

 
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Futures Levitate Following Worst Chinese Mfg PMI In One Year, Brent At 2015 Highs; Bund Slide Continues





The best news for stocks is twofold: volumes continue to be lethargic with both the UK (May Day bank holiday) and Japan closed until Thursday (Golden Week), while the bulk of the S&P500 has now exited the stock buyback quiet period. As such, ignore record equity outflows - all the matters is that corporate CFOs, flush with brand news bond issuance cash, will tell their favorite Wall Street trading desk to buy stocks at just the right inflection point sending the market surging just as shorts once again test the downtrend and the 50 DMA.

 
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China To The Rescue: Global Equity Market Rebound After Latest Chinese Easing





It is only fitting that the next business day following a headline that "Global Futures Slide China Tumbles On Short Selling Boost" we would see China, in an apparent panic, not only cut its RRR by 100 bps to 18.5% - far more than expected and the most since 2008 - but, more importantly, hinted that the Friday regulatory decision to encourage short sales and tighter margin rules on "umbrella trusts" was in no way meant to pop that the Chinese stock bubble, ridiculous as it may be. End result: after Chinese futures crashed by up to 6% on Friday after the Shanghai close, overnight the SHCOMP was down just 1.64%, erasing the bulk of the futures loss. More importantly, US equity futures have seen a strong bid this morning in yet another attempt to defend not only the Apple Sachs Industrial Average from going red on the year but the all important 100 DMA technical levels.

 
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Key Global Events In The Coming Week





While today's macro calendar is empty with no central bank speakers or economic news (just the monthly budget (deficit) statement this afternoon), it’s a fairly busy calendar for us to look forward to this week as earnings season kicks up a gear in the US as mentioned while Greece headlines and the G20 finance ministers meeting on Thursday mark the non-data related highlights.

 
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China Stocks Soar To 7 Year High After Collapse In Exports; US Futures Slip On Continuing Dollar Surge





If there was any doubt that global trade is stalling, it was promptly wiped out following the latest abysmal Chinese trade data which saw exports tumble by 15% - the most in over a year - on expectations of a 8% rebound, with the trade surplus coming in at CNY18.2 billion, far below the lowest estimate. While unnecessary, with the Chinese GDP growth rate this Wednesday already expect to print at a record low, this was further evidence of weak demand both at home and abroad. Weakness was seen in most key markets, and the strength of China's currency was partly to blame, which again brings up China's CNY devaluation and ultimately QE, which as we wrote some time ago, is the ultimate endgame in the global reflation trade which, at least for now until the CBs begin active money paradropping to everyone not just the 0.01%, is only leading to inflation in stocks and deflation in everything else.v

 
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Futures Jump On Chinese Easinng Speculation, False Rumor Of PBOC Rate Cut





With the rest of the developed world's central banks waiting for the Fed to admit defeat for one more year and delay its proposed rate hike (or launch NIRP/QE4 outright) it was all about China (the same China which a month ago we said would launch QE sooner or later) and hope that its central bank would boost asset prices, when over the weekend the PBoC governor hinted that more easing is imminent to offset the accelerating drag after he admitted that the nation’s growth rate has tumbled "a bit" too much and that policy makers have scope to respond. How much scope it really has now that its bad debt is rising exponentially is a different question. It got so bad, Shanghai Securities News leaked a false rumor earlier forcing many to believe China would announce an unexpected rate cut as soon as today, in the process sending the Shanghai Composite soaring by 2.6%.

 
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Futures Wipe Out Early Gains In Volatile Session As Dollar Resumes Climb; Oil Slides





After a few days of dollar weakness due to concerns that the Fed's rate hike intentions have been derailed following some undisputedly ugly economic data (perhaps the Fed should just make it clear there will never be rate hikes during the winter ever again) the USD has resumed its rise, and as a result risk assets, after surging early in the overnight session driven by the Nikkei225 and the Emini, the "strong dollar is bad for risk" trade has re-emerged, with the Nikkei dropping almost 500 points off its intraday highs, with US equity futures poised to open lower once more, sliding nearly 20 points in the overnight session, and surprising the BTFDers who have not seen five consecutive days of "risk-off" in a long time.

 
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Buying Euphoria Fizzles Ahead Of Make Or Break Tsipras-Merkel Talks





As previously observed (skeptically), a main reason for the surge in the DAX, and thus the S&P, on Friday was premature hope that the Greek talks earlier were a long-overdue precursor to a Greek resolution, and as we further noted yesterday, subsequent bickering and lack of any clarity as we go into today's critical "final ultimatum" meeting between Merkel and Tsipras, is also why the Dax was lower by 1.1% at last check, even if the EURUSD continues to trade like an illiquid, B-grade currency pair whose only HFT purpose is to slam all stops within 100 pips of whatever the current price may be.

 
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Is It Racist? Starbucks Gives Up Trying To Solve America's 'Other' Great Divide





Just as The Fed folded this week on ending the nation's booming income inequality problem (by reinforcing the Yellen put for longer), so Starbucks has folded in its effort to fix the other growing divide in America - racism. Careful not to admit that it was due to pressure from the avalanche of less-than-positive social media reactions, AP reports Starbucks baristas will no longer write "Race Together" on customers' cups. "Nothing is changing," Starbucks claims it was all part "of the cadence" of the plan - hhmm. "Most people come to Starbucks for coffee," concludes one young African-American, adding "race is an uncomfortable thing to bring up, especially in a Starbucks."

 
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