Stocks were modestly weak overnight amid poor Japanese, Chinese, and European data, but as soon as the US cash markets opened, stocks surged higher algorithmically testing up to unchanged briefly for the S&P 500 and squeezing small-cap shorts (as usual).. until Europe closed. Stock started to lose steam but once Nasdaq and Russell broke red, programs slammed stocks lower and despite a late-day bounce, stocks gave up all the gains from Friday's "awesome jobs data" and then some with Trannies and Small Caps worst. Momo names all suffered - most notably TWTR & TSLA. VIX broke above 14.5 briefly, closing up 2.4 at 14.2. Treasury yields plunged 5-7bps at the long-end (1-2bps at the short-end) flattening significantly. Credit markets were clubbed - with HYG taking the brunt and ending at Bullard lows. Gold and silver gained solidly (as USD slipped 0.3% led by JPY strength) as copper fell 0.5% and oil price crashed again. Markets turmoiled notably into the oil pit close (margin calls) and stabilized modestly after... but the S&P 500 still closed below its 5DMA.
As investors we are all trapped within a horrifying bubble. We must play the hand we’ve been dealt, however bad it is. But there are now growing signs of end-of-bubble instability. The system does not appear remotely sound. You can be for gold, or you can be for paper, but you cannot possibly be for both. It may soon be time to take a stand. Beware appearances in an unhinged financial system, because they can be dangerously deceptive.
"Fed talk is losing its luster. Data is irrelevant unless it’s extremely weak or extremely strong,” says Todd Colvin, senior vice president at Ambrosino Brothers, a futures and options execution firm. "This is the year the Fed is going to lose credibility when it gets to March or June and they announce why they’re not moving."
"It is, of course, possible to draw comfort from recent events. Those who do so stress the speed of the rebound. At the same time, a more sobering interpretation is also possible. To my mind, these events underline the fragility - dare I say growing fragility? - hidden beneath the markets' buoyancy. Small pieces of news can generate outsize effects. This, in turn, can amplify mood swings. And it would be imprudent to ignore that markets did not fully stabilise by themselves. Once again, on the heels of the turbulence, major central banks made soothing statements, suggesting that they might delay normalisation in light of evolving macroeconomic conditions. Recent events, if anything, have highlighted once more the degree to which markets are relying on central banks: the markets' buoyancy hinges on central banks' every word and deed." BIS
Lower oil prices have killed off major plans for liquefied natural gas exports from Canada’s west coast. Although low oil prices may have been the icing on the cake, Canadian LNG projects were facing serious obstacles before oil prices plummeted.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is no small program, costing taxpayers more than the combined cost of federal welfare payments, housing subsidies, food stamps and school lunches. Attorneys receive taxpayer-funded fees each time they successfully place a client in the program, which incentivizes them to encourage clients to file disability claims. The fees are capped at 25 percent of the successful client’s SSDI award, or $6,000, whichever is less. Attorneys took in $1.2 billion in such fees in 2013, up from just $425 billion in 2011.
With someone desperate to sell 6,100 S&P 500 e-mini contracts in 1 second at 12:20:05, US stocks market indices hit a mini-flash-crash air-pocket as the 4th Hindenburg Omen signal flashed in the last 5 days... paging Waddell & Reed... We await the next Fed speaker to save stocks in a v-shaped recovery.
The S&P 500 Energy sector stocks are down over 12% year-to-date, tumbling over 3% today to fresh 20-month lows. The spread (or risk) of high-yield energy credits surged again today, breaking above 850bps for the first time... The overall high-yield credit market is being dragged wider by this contagion as hedgers try to contain the collapse that is possible. For now, the S&P 500 remains entirely ignorant of the fact that over a third of its CapEx was expected to come from this crushed sector...
With every single hollow chatterbox repeating that crashing oil prices are "unambiguously good" it is clearly the case that the opposite is true. And sure enough, the first indications that the crude price crash is about to lead to some serious pain in the US came first yesterday from BP, which announced over the weekend that it would "slash 100s of mid-level supervisor jobs" around the globe, and moments ago, from ConocoPhillips, which added that as a result of plunging oil prices, it would slash its 2015 spending budget by a whopping 20%, cutting off some $3 billion in capital spending mostly involving "less developed project: spending which for those who remember their GDP calculation, means a proportional reduction in the US Gross National Product.
One of the perks of being a president: having your own personal, taxpayer-funded chef. And in the case of Barack Obama, this means an instrumental player in the development of Michelle Obama's controversial "school lunch program", one who also happens to be "Executive Director of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, the first-ever White House Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition, and personal chef to the First Family." He name is, or rather his name was Sam Kass, because alongside pretty much everyone else close to Obama in recent few years, Chef Kass is done feeding the First Stomach and is also getting the hell out of Dodge the White House.
"It’s hard to blame the public for being confused about what may or may not be happening across the nation, but history will surely judge this as a tragic time for America. If we can’t or won’t unpack the separate issues in these matters, the country is going to get into a lot more trouble."
While today even the pundits are aghast at the latest Snapchat valuation round, which according to the WSJ has Kleiner Perkins inject a laughable $20 million into the private-parts photography service, boosting its valuation to a whopping $10 billion in a clear windowdressing mark-up round, up from $800 million a year ago, even as the actual equity invested into the company is a paltry $160 million or under 2% of said valuation, the true indicator of just how bubbly the second coming of the dot com era has become comes courtesy of none other than Jessica Alba's, yes the actress, own startup: a company launched in 2012 and which makes "non-toxic" diapers (as opposed to toxic diapers?), called the Honest Co., has raised $70 million at a valuation just shy of $1 billion in preparation for an IPO.
It appears, based on these extremely graphic images, that the Chinese people has a different way of dealing with corrupt officials. As Shanghaiist reports, a riot involving around 1,000 people broke out last Saturday in Cangnan county of Wenzhou city, Zhejiang province, resulting in the hospitalization of five chengguan, China's notoriously abusive and under-regulated urban enforcement officials. The alleged cause for the riots was the five's brutally killing a civilian. According to reports, the chengguan "hit the man with a hammer until he started to vomit blood, because he was trying to take pictures of their violence towards a woman, a street vendor." This man later died while being rushed to the hospital. Given the following images of civilian retribution; is it any wonder, the powers that be in China fear social unrest?