University Of Michigan

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"Off The Grid" Indicators Suggest US Economy Not Ready For 'Liftoff'





Every quarter ConvergEx's Nick Colas reviews a raft of unusual and less examined datasets with an eye to refining and adding perspective to the more traditional macroeconomic analyses. This quarter’s assessment of everything from large pickup truck and firearms sales to Google search autofills for “I want to buy/sell” shows a U.S. economy that is reasonably strong but growing only very slowly. The chief areas of concern: Food Stamp participation is still very high at 45.6 million Americans (14% of the total population) and indicators like used car prices and large pickup sales are flat.

 
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Central Banks Scramble To Stabilize Crashing Markets: China Fails, Switzerland Succeeds (For Now)





At the open, Europe looked in the abyss, and with no help coming from China, it did not like what it saw: And then the answer came from the Swiss National Bank, which stepped in to prevent the collapse just as Europe was opening. Because seemingly out of nowhere, a tremendous bid came in to life the EURCHF, buying Euros (against the CHF and the USD) and selling Europe's last left safety currency. We now know that it was the SNB, the same central bank which is the proud owner of well over $1 billion in Apple stock.

 
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China Plunges Most Since 2007, Points Away From Bear Market; Greek Drama Continues





Following yesterday's furious market drop in Chinese stocks, just before the overnight open, Morgan Stanley came out with a much distributed report urging investors "Not to buy this dip", and so they didn't. As a result, the Shanghai Composite imploded, at one point trading down 8% while the Chinext and Shenzhen markets crashed even more. This was the single biggest Shanghai Composite one-day drop since 2007, and with a close at 4192.87 the SHCOMP is now on the verge of a bear market, down 19% from its June 12 highs. China's second largest market, Shenzhen, is now officially in a bear market.

 
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Stocks Soar, Germany's Dax Set For Biggest Gain In Three Years On Greek Deal "Optimism"





today is Friday taken to the nth degree, with the markets having already declared if not victory then the death of all Greek "contagion" leverage, following news that a new Greek proposal was sent yesterday (which as we summarized does not include any of the demanded by the Troika pension cuts), ignoring news that Greece had again sent Belgium the wrong proposal which the market has taken as a sign of capitulation by Tsipras, and as a result futures are surging higher by nearly 1%, the German DAX is up a whopping 3.1%, on track for the biggest one day gain in three years, Greek stocks up over 8%, German and US Treasurys sliding while Greek and peripheral bonds are surging.

 
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European Stocks Slide, Greece Tumbles But US BTFDers Emerge After Collapse In Greek Bailout Talks





European shares remain lower, close to intraday lows, with the banks and autos sectors underperforming and food & beverage, retail outperforming. Tsipras hardens Greek stance after collapse of bailout talks. The Italian and Swedish markets are the worst-performing larger bourses, the U.K. the best. The euro is weaker against the dollar. Greek 10yr bond yields rise; Spanish yields increase. Commodities decline, with copper, nickel underperforming and natural gas outperforming. U.S. Empire manufacturing, net TIC flows, NAHB housing market index, industrial production, capacity  utilization due later.

 
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Markets Twist And Turn On Every Headline In The Endless Greek Tragedy





For a sense of what is driving sentiment this morning look no further than the Athens stock market which exploded higher yesterday on a Bloomberg story based on "two sources" that Germany was willing to compromise, only to close just as the IMF pulled a classis bad cop and announced it was halting work on Greece, and before further news from Bild that Germany was preparing for a Greek default while Europe had given Greece 24 hours to submit a final, workable proposal. As a result, it tumbled promptly at the open even as optimism persists and since the opening plunge, Greek stocks have continued to climb and are now back to yesterday's euphoric opening levels.

 
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What Can Possibly Go Wrong: The "Flash Boys" Arrive In China





"China's market is highly inefficient, which means it's relatively easy to produce absolute returns. Chinese retail investors don't have any advantage over us."

 
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Germany Enters Correction; EMs In Longest Losing Streak Since 1990 Routed By Turkey, Obama Turmoils Dollar





While there were key macroeconomic data out of Asia earlier in the session, with Japan revising its Q1 GDP up from 2.4% to 3.9% (due to an upward revision to capex) making some wonder if it simply didn't snow in Japan this winter, as well as Chinese trade data that was once again disappointing with the third consecutive drop in exports coupled with an 18.1% collapse in imports hinting that nothing is going well in China's economy (which once again sent stocks soaring this time up another 2.2% on certainty another PBOC rate cut is imminent, pushing the PBOC to a fresh 7-year high of 5,132), it was actually a leaked Obama comment on the strong USD that moved markets.

 
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Futures Flat With Greece In The Spotlight; China Boomerangs Higher





Remember China's 6% crash last week? It is now a distant memory made even more remote thanks to the latest batch of ugly data out of China, coupled with hints of even more liquidity injections, which led to the latest surge in the Shcomp, an index that has put most pennystocks to shame. In Europe, the big story remains Greece, and as everyone expected, the doomed country and its creditors failed to make a deal on Sunday. This is after Greek Officials were said to have prepared a draft agreement, which was expected to be announced on Sunday. Not helping things, Greek PM Tsipras came out in fully defiant mode and accused bailout monitors of making “absurd” demands and seeking to impose “harsh punishment” on Athens. A bunch of final PMI number showed a modest improvement in the periphery at the expense of Germany whose deterioration is starting to be a concern.

 
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China's Nauseating Volatility Continues, US Futures Flat Ahead Of Disastrous GDP Report





The most prominent market event overnight was once again the action in China's penny-index, which after tumbling at the open and briefly entering a 10% correction from the highs hit just two days ago, promptly saw the BTFDers rush in, whether retail, institutional or central bankers, and after rebounding strongly from the -3% lows, the SHCOMP closed practically unchanged following a 2% jump to complete yet another 5% intraday swing on absolutely no news, but merely concerns what the PBOC is doing with liquidity, reverse repos, margin debt, etc. Needless to say, this is one of the world's largest stock markets, not the Pink Sheets.

 
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Futures In The Red On Europe Jitters Ahead Of Obligatory Low-Volume Levitation





While yesterday most markets were closed and unable to express their concerns at the very strong showing of "anti-austerity" parties in Spain's municipal election from Sunday, then today they have free reign to do just that, and as a result European stocks are broadly lower, alongside the EURUSD which dripped under 1.09 earlier today, with Spanish banks among the worst performers: Shares of Banco Sabadell, Bankia, Caixabank and Popular were down 1.8 to 2.3% earlier this morning, and while the stronger dollar was a gift to both the Nikkei and Europe in early trading, after opening in the green, Spain's IBEX has since slid into the red on concerns of what happens if the Greek anti-status quo contagion finally shifts to the Pyrenees.

 
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With All Major Markets Closed For Holiday, Here Are The Major News





With US markets closed for the Memorial Day holiday, and some of the key European markets likewise shuttered for public holiday including the UK, Germany and Switzerland, it is difficult to find where one can observe or trade the weekend's newsflow, which is once again centered on developments in Europe, where on Sunday Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party suffered its worst result in a municipal election in 24 years while Greece continues to threaten with default 5 some years after it should have officially pulled the plug.

 
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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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