With every component of HSBC's China Manufacturing PMI either dropping or showong slower growth, it is hardly a surprise that the much-watched survey of economic strength dipped into contractionary territory. At 49.6 this is the lowest since July 2013 and dropped month-over-month by the most since May 2013. HSBC argues this is "domestic demand cooling" but new export orders tumbled at an accelerating pace as did employment. Of course, the silver lining is that because the prices components did not show acceleration then the PBOC has room to 'stimulate' to avoid repeating growth deceleration but that appears - despite today's further CNY 120 billion reverse repo - to not be the plan for the PBOC for now (given the 20-plus percent YoY gains in house prices). S&P futures fell 6 points on the news, AUDJPY is turmoiling, and Treasuries rallied 1bps.
It's not all ponies and unicorns in Davos today. Paul Singer's dismal views on financial fragility were followed up by a panel, as The Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard reports, that poured cold water on the claims that the European crisis is over. Harvard professor Kenneth Rogoff said the launch of the euro had been a "giant historic mistake, done to soon" but EMU leaders are still refusing to take the necessary steps, and is squandering the "scarce resource" of its youth, badly needed to fortify an aging society as the demographic crunch sets in. But it is ex-Buba head Axel Weber that unleashed the ugly truth: "Markets are currently disregarding risks, particularly in the periphery...Europe is under threat. I am still really concerned."
After five years of aggressive Federal Reserve and government intervention in our monetary and financial systems, it's time to ask: Where are we? The "plan," such as it has been, is to let future growth sweep everything under the rug. To print some money, close their eyes, cross their fingers, and hope for the best. On that, we give them an "A" for wishful thinking – and an "F" for actual results. If we take a closer look at the projections, the idea that we're going to grow – even remotely – into a gigantic future that will consume all entitlement shortfalls within its cornucopian maw becomes all but laughable. Of course, the purpose of this exercise is not to make fun of anyone, nor to mock any particular beliefs, but to create an actionable understanding of the true nature of where we really are and what you should be doing about it.
Obamacare Strikes Again: Target Drops Part-Timers From Healthcare Plan (And Fires Others Just In Case)Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/22/2014 20:30 -0400
Effective April 1st, Target announced to day that it would no longer offer healthcare coverage to its part-time employees. As The Hill reports, Target's HR executives 'spun' the decision as good for the employees..."by offering them insurance, we could actually disqualify many of them from being eligible for newly available subsidies that could reduce their overall health insurance expense." The company will provide a $500 cash payment to "minimize disruption," and specifically calls out Obamacare as "providing new options... that we believe our part-time members may prefer."Of course, just for good measure, Target is cutting 475 jobs and chooing not to fill a further 700 open positions - again, we presume, to minimize disruption (to their bottom line).
There was a time in the financial industry when the many wouldn't suffer for the sins of the few (although taxpayers were certainly excluded from this maxim). Well, for the "many" who work at JPMorgan, that is no longer the case because as Reuters reports, JPM employees can forget getting a pay raise in 2013 (although with sub-2% annual inflation as calculated by the BLS one wonders just why anyone should be getting a raise: just hand out an edible iPad or two and the COLA is fixed). The reason for the lack of a raise: "the bank's massive legal bills" - bills which incidentally were incurred when a select few JPM employees cheated and defrauded the system - illegally - in order to procure massive year end bonuses, most if not all of which were not clawed back, and subsequently were caught (one can only imagine how many of the "few" are still at the bank, doing manipulation and defrauding as usual. And now it is everyone else's turn to pay because the bank lacked the most elementary supervision of its criminal employees (long since fired) and raked up roughly $20 billion in litigation and legal settlement charges.
NFLX is soaring after hours to fresh all time highs, not so much due to some blockbuster numbers, but because the company reported results that beat Wall Street's lowballed estimates once again. These were as follows:
- Revenue of $1.175 billion; EPS of $0.79, or $48.4 million, beating expectations of $0.66; Domestic net adds were 2.33 million, vs estimate 2.05 million, leaving a total of 33.4 million subs at the end of the quarter, and 31.7 million paid subs.
In terms of the company's business model, the things are as they were: NFLX is using the cash generated from its doomed, runoff legacy DVD rental business, which in Q4 generated $110MM of the total profit, or half of total, and is using that to fund its international expansion. So far, NFLX has 10.9 million total international streaming subs, which resulted in losses of $57.2 million. It remains unclear what the breakeven on this international growth strategy is in terms of subs, although NFLX has so far burned $663 million on foreign expansion in the past two years, offset by $991 million in profits at its domestic streaming operations. Does this justify a 300x P/E? For now the market's answer is a resounding yes, having sent the stock higher by $55 in the after hours, up 17%!
Venezuela Devalues Bolivar By Another 44% For Some, Still 600% Higher Than Black Market Due To 50% InflationSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/22/2014 16:41 -0400
The reason why today's move is largely meaningless and purely optical, is because there is still an 85% differential between the official rate, and what one can get for a dollar on the black market. Which as the chart below shows is substantially higher, and at last check was 78.38 Bolivars per dollar. Said otherwise, the brand new official exchange rate, which will soon be implemented for everyone, is still 590% higher than the real clearing price of the currency on the black market. Curious why the currency is crashing so fast? Perhaps ask the 50% (and rising) annual inflation in the socialist paradise.
Like being sworn at? Then these are the jobs for you. As the myth of a manufacturing renaissance in America remains just that, the Services industries bear the brunt of an ever-increasingly entitle public's needs. As IB Times' Lisa Mahapatra notes, according to a study by Marchex that examined rates of crusing across 20 service industries, Satellite TV providers's customer service agents get the most abuse.
The decay of the "build it and they will come" model of commercial real estate is gathering speed for a simple systemic reason: the decline is self-reinforcing in several critical ways. Before we start the analysis, let's ask a basic question: How much of the stuff and services purchased at retail outlets, malls, strip malls, etc. is absolutely necessary and how much is excess consumption? Conventional "Growth by any means" Cargo Cultists such as Paul Krugman never ask this basic question, because the answer (very little is essential, most is excess consumption) undermines the entire narrative that all growth is good, even the most marginal, unsustainable, wasteful and fiscally imprudent. I've captured the essence of retail in America with this photo: