Citing "softening market conditions influenced by oil," US Steel has issued lay-off warnings to 756 workers in the US... Layoffs will begin in early March as both Ohio and Texas plants will be idled.
It appears "the trend is your friend" is only a mantra that 'speculators' are willing to follow for stocks as the incessant rally in US Treasury bonds has led traders to position for higher rates at the largest level since May 2010 (more short squeeze, rates to 1%-handle ammunition?). However, the surging stock market has merely encouraged more to follow that trend as S&P 500 specs are the 'longest' since July 2013. Just as we noted previously, this is deja vu all over again for hedgie positioning into 2014 (but even more extreme)... and that was a painful year for most.
- Average 10-year yield of U.S., Japan and Germany dropped below 1% for the first time ever: Free Money in Bond Markets Shows Global Economy Still Struggling (BBG)
- Brent falls below $52 as oil hits new five and a half year lows (Reuters)
- China Fast-Tracks $1 Trillion in Projects to Spur Growth (BBG)
- Saudi Arabia Raises Price of Main Oil Grade for Asian Buyers (BBG)
- Oilfield Writedowns Loom as Crude Slump Guts Drilling Values (BBG)
- Biggest Oil-Rig Drop Since 2009 Spells Tough Year Ahead (BBG)
- CIA says its inspector general is resigning at end of month (Reuters)
- Pipeline IPOs Climb on Demand for Returns Immune to Oil (BBG)
- Natural Gas No Savior for Investors Seeking Oil Refuge (BBG)
- Euro zone economy ended 2014 in poor shape (Reuters)
A day after the funeral of a colleague killed in an ambush last month fueled tensions between the force and the city's mayor and led to another day when thousands of policemen turned their back on New York mayor Bill de Blasio, two NYC policemen were shot and wounded on Monday night, officials said, According to Reuters, the officers, part of a plainclothes unit, were shot outside a Chinese restaurant in the Bronx district as they tracked two suspects to an armed robbery, New York Police Commissioner William Bratton told a news conference early on Tuesday. The officers were transported to St. Barnabas Hospital and were expected to survive. Both were listed in stable condition: one, aged 30, was shot in the arm and lower back. The second man, aged 38, had chest and arm wounds. A massive manhunt is taking place for the suspects, described as 25- to 30-year-old Hispanic males, who are still at large. The organization COP SHOT (Citizens Outraged at Police Being Shot) is offering a $10,000 cash reward for information leading to their arrest and conviction.
Same slide, different day, as the crude crash continues, with both WTI and Brent tumbling to multi-year highs, below $49 and $52 respectively. This happened despite the news overnight that China is accelerating 300 infrastructure projects valued at 7 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion) this year, suggesting that China will focus more on fiscal policy than monetary easing, which in turn led to much confusion in the SHCOMP, which fluctuated up and down for the day several times before finally closing unchanged. There was no confusion about the stops slamming USDJPY, and its Nikkei225 derivative which tumbled 3%, sending Japanese Treasury yields to fresh record lows. Record low yields were also seen in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, France (and many other places), which in turn forced the US 10 Year to finally dip back under 2.00%. In fact, taken together, the average 10Y bond yield of the U.S., Japan and Germany has dropped below 1% for the first time ever, according to Citi.
"Oil is incredibly important right now. If oil falls to around $40 a barrel then I think the yield on ten year treasury note is going to 1%. I hope it does not go to $40 because then something is very, very wrong with the world, not just the economy. The geopolitical consequences could be – to put it bluntly – terrifying."
Starting in the mid-1990s, "the mall genie was out of the bottle," says one mall analyst, "and it was never going to come back." While about 80% of the country’s 1,200 malls are considered healthy (vacancy rates of 10% or less), that compares with 94% in 2006; and more than 30 million square feet of malls are more than 40% empty, a threshold that signals the beginning of what one one analyst called "the death spiral." As The NY Times reports, like beached whales, dead malls draw fascination as well as dismay, "nobody ever thinks a mall is going to up and die," but as the following images show - dead or dying they are.
In 1991, the Cold War between the US and the USSR ended, as, economically, the USSR had run its course. Since that time, the US has had the ability to back off on armaments and to strengthen itself economically, to become even more powerful as the world’s present empire. But, of course, that’s not what they did. Instead, they went headlong in the direction of becoming a more highly armed, more fascist state. Along the way, they became extremely reckless with their economy, following a Keynesian model that contributed to the greatest debt bubble the world has ever seen.
It appears that only in less-developed nations do the people care about Presidential birth certificates. As GlobalVoices reports, clashes broke out between police and the opposition in Gabon stemming from questions about the legitimacy of President Ali Bongo Ondimba. The publication of a book disputing the origins of the President (claiming him to be Nigerian) has led opposition parties to challenge the authenticity of the birth certificate of the head of state which has sparked widespread protests. The protests left 1 dead and many injured and arrested. As local media note, "if the government continues to refuse to negotiate, things could go very wrong."
The brain incubator at Harvard, the place which according to legend, and certainly the US News and World Report's annual paid college infomercial, is the repository for some of the smartest people in the world, is furious.
Because Harvard's brilliant ivory tower economists and public policy wonks know precisely how to fix the world... as long as said fix never applies to them!
"Something Is Not Right" Jeff Gundlach Is "Concerned About Health Of The Economy & Financial System"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/05/2015 21:30 -0400
Having warned of the "terrifying consequences" of oil prices staying this low, DoubleLine's Jeffrey Gundlach, in an extensive interview with Finanz und Wirtschaft, warns he is "beginning to see signs of investor concern around the edges about the health of the economy and about the financial system. Historically, when junk bonds give up the ghost and treasuries remain firm, it is a signal that something is not right." Touching on everything from a string dollar to Indian stocks, and from Oil to bonds, and The Fed, Gundlach concludes, "the only places where there is inflation is in places that are painful. Raising interest rates against that backdrop seems like a poor idea. So I just hope the Fed thinks carefully about what it is doing." Boxed-in much?
In Japan, Top Tuna Sells Below ¥5 Million For The First Time In Eight Years, Down 22% From A Year AgoSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/05/2015 20:58 -0400
While Japan's population is toiling under what by now is insurmountable import price inflation, leading to soaring prices for anything that isn't produced domestically and has to be purchased with rapidly depreciating Yen, the reality is that - thanks to the biggest collapse in real wages in the 21st century - the deflationary mindest is now more embedded than ever. Case in point: the first tuna auction at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market. It was here that earlier today the highest price for a bluefin tuna fell below ¥5 million for the first time in eight years, coming in at ¥4.51 million for a 180-kilogram tuna caught off Oma, Aomori Prefecture.
UPDATE: Nikkei 225 Futs lose 17k - trading 16,985
Time for some GPIF asset re-allocation and spuriously repititive headlines about Abenomics, 3rd Arrows, growth, anti-deflation, or some such bollocks (as they say in Japan). For now, JGB Futures are at all-time record high prices, USDJPY sits back under 119.50, and Nikkei 225 Futures are holding just above the crucial 17k mark - down over 500 points from last night's highs.