"Why shouldn't the rich pay more taxes?" Simply put, there are not enough billionaires to pay the bill for everyone else. The problem is not that the rich do not pay enough, it is that government takes too much from the economy as a whole.
Moments ago the US Supreme Court - the same Supreme Court which two years ago upheld Obamacare but as a tax, something the administration has since sternly denied - dealt Obamacare its biggest legal blow to date, and alternatively handing Obamacare opponents their largest court victory yet, when in a 5-4 vote SCOTUS ruled that business owners can object on religious grounds to a provision of President Barack Obama's healthcare law that requires closely held private companies to provide health insurance that covers birth control.
Today, we can finally end any debate on the topic of just where the world's illegal money comes to roost. The answer: ultra-luxury real estate, primarily in New York, courtesy of a report in New York magazine that catches up with what we first said in the summer of 2012, and which is titled, appropriately enough: "Stash Pad."
Equities have flip-flopped this morning, giving up the new normal opening-squeeze higher gains as USDJPY fades. Bonds are rallying. But it is the USD Index that is the most notable this morning as it tumbles back towards 2-month lows in a hurry... This is the biggest 2-day plunge in 3 months.
A few days ago, when we wrote our "explainer" on the need for Russia to have an alternative pathway for its gas, one which bypasses Ukraine entirely and as the current "South Stream" framework is set up, crosses the Black Sea and enters Bulgaria before passing Serbia and Hungary on the way to the Central European energy hub located in Baumgarten, Austria, we said that "one short month after Putin concluded the Holy Grail deal with Beijing, he not only managed to formalize his conquest of Europe's energy needs with yet another pipeline, one which completely bypasses Ukraine for numerous reasons but mostly one: call it a Plan B." Today we find just what said Plan B is. As Itar-Tass reports, citing Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, "Russia’s gas giant Gazprom does not rule out gas transit via Ukraine may be stopped completely."
Having offered "complete support" for Iraq's embattled PM Maliki, the troubled nation receives its first shipment of "America deluded us" Russian fighter jets. As RT reports, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense on Sunday confirmed receiving five Su-25 fighter jets in accordance with the deal with Moscow. Iraqi Army Lieutenant General Anwar Hamad Amen Ahmed explained, "our Russian friends have also sent their own experts to assist us in preparing the aircraft. All the logistics have been planned for as well." The proxy war continues...
Pending home sales surged by 6.1% MoM in May; this is the largest jump since April 2010 (when first-time buyers scrambled to sign contracts before tax credits expired. However, exuberant spike aside, this is the 8th month in a row of a year-over-year drop in home sales. NAR is ever-optimistic suggesting "sales should exceed an annual pace of five million homes," amid low rates, inventory and job creation (goldilocks?). The sales, unsurprisingly, are all high-end: "The flourishing stock market the last few years has propelled sales in the higher price brackets," as lower-cost home sales plunge.
here is the punchline, and proof that anything the ECB can and will try to do, will be a complete disaster: Loans to households fell by €42.8bn (its largest decline on record), having risen by €5.1bn in April. This was mainly related to lending for house purchases (which do not count towards banks' allotment in the TLTRO) and took place almost entirely in France.
Following last month's "see, the Q2 rebound is a real thing" exuberance, Chicago PMI re-tumbled in June to 62.5, its biggest miss in 3 months. This is the biggest headline drop since March as inventories rose, order backlogs fell, and new orders fell. On the bright side (despite the fall in new orders, employment rose). It seems the hopes and dreams of Q2 are fading.
Anyone curious how real, GAAP EPS performed in the just completed quarter, should look at the chart below. It shows that GAAP EPS (helped by a record amount of corporate buybacks) in the first quarter of 2014 actually dropped 2.2% from Q1 2013 even as Non-GAAP suggested a nearly 5% increase!
Today is the day that Paul Singer and his Elliot Capital Management team have been waiting for. Thanks to SCOTUS' decision, as Bloomberg reports, Argentina is poised to miss a bond payment today, putting the country on the brink of its second default in 13 years, after a U.S. court blocked the cash from being distributed until the government settles with creditors from the previous debt debacle. The decade-long battle between Argentina and holdout creditors from the country’s $95 billion default in 2001 is coming to a head as the judge’s decision “closes Argentina’s options to finally force it to negotiate," and "should now stop using these delay tactics and get serious." Argentina sees it a different way, the ruling "is merely a sophisticated way of of trying to bring us down to our knees before global usurpers,” according to the economy minister Axel Kicillof.
The holiday shortened, and very busy, week includes the following highlights: [on Monday] US Chicago PMI; [on Tuesday] US ISM Manufacturing, Construction Spending, and Vehicle Sales, in addition to a host of PMI Manufacturing in various countries; [on Wednesday] US ADP Employment, Factory Orders; [on Thursday] US Non-farm Payrolls and Unemployment, MP Decisions by ECB and Riksbank, in addition to various Services and Composite PMIs; [on Friday] US holiday, Germany Factory Orders and Sweden IP.
- Facebook Researchers Manipulated News Feeds in 2012 Study (BBG)
- Argentina at Brink of Default as $539 Million Payment Due (BBG)
- Hedge fund correlation risk alarms investors (FT)
- As China Flexes Muscle, Obama Frets Over Rival’s Weakness (BBG)
- As caliphate declared, Iraqi troops battle for Tikrit (Reuters)
- Dubai Caps Worst Month Since 2008 as Real Estate Stocks Tumble (BBG)
- Russian Advisers Ready Iraq to Use New Combat Aircraft (BBG)
- Blackstone Readies Big-Bet Hedge Fund (WSJ) - so what was GSO?
- Pope says communists are closet Christians (Reuters)
- Thomson Reuters revising FX trading standards (Reuters)
It is the last day of not only the month but also the quarter, not to mention the halfway point of 2014, which means that window dressing by hedge funds will be rampant, as they scramble to catch up some of the ground lost to the S&P 500 so far in 2014. Most likely this means that once again the most shorted names will ramp in everyone's face and the short side of the hedgie book will soar, further pushing hedged P&L into the red, because remember: in a market in which all the risk is borne by the Fed there is no need to hedge.