While we await the Greek parliament vote on yet further Troika-mandated austerity, which the government has promised to be the last such round of cuts, or at least the last one before Germany demands even more austerity for a country which is now, supposedly "too big" in Merkel's words, here is how the general population is preparing for the vote's outcome, which, if it passes, will be by a razor thin margin. Also, as a friendly reminder the May 6, 2010 flash crash occurred just as the video stream of the first Greek riot peaked...
The first day of the "next 4 years" is starting in a very auspicious fashion. First, the market crashes. Then, a major blue chip company, Boeing, just announced it would cut 30% of management jobs from 2010 levels. And finally, the US Treasury just added $24 billion in debt, or enough to fund Greece for over one year, sending the total debt load (the US is now at 103% debt/GDP) ever closer to the debt ceiling breaching $16.4 trillion. But don't worry: over the next 4 years, the US government will add another $6-8 trillion in debt, so those who didn't get their allocation in this auction will have more than enough opportunity. As for this one, the yield was 1.68%, the lowest since August (but, but, what happened to the great rotation out of bonds and into stocks?), the Bid to Cover was 2.59, the lowest since last November and only higher compared to August' 2.49. And finally, the take down breakdown was uneventful: 46.2% for Dealers (to be promptly flipped back to the Fed - keep track of CUSIP 912828TY6), 39.7% for Indirects, or below the 12 TTM average of 41.28%, and Directs got 14.1%, also below the average, and lower than last month's 22.9%. As noted: uneventful. As also noted: there will be many, many more such auctions in the future, so those who wish to convert one paper into another will have ample opportunity to do so.
Stocks tend to experience very long periods (5-20 years) of either anemic or exceptional returns, which UBS calls Investment Regimes. Somewhat surprisingly (to some), they note that returns during these periods are not driven by divergences in economic or earnings growth. Rather, Investment Regimes are defined by secular multiple expansion or contraction - and it is critical to understand this dynamic as over the past 40 years (and four regimes) investors have tended to focus on only one dynamic at a time. From the 'Disco' regime to the 'Hangover II', UBS explains in a few simple charts why all eyes should be focused on high-yield credit - as we have noted time and again. Inflation signals are gone, the 'Fed model' is broken, and investment grade credit is too repressed to matter (until it does!)...
We are programed to cheer and act out our sheep-like roles in partisan politics when, like the game, unless we have money bet on the outcome the actual winner will have absolutely no impact on our lives. The bottom line is that voting percentages generate credibility for the failed American political system. "There's not a dime's worth of difference between the Democrat and Republican parties." George Wallace, 1966 Alabama governor and presidential candidate. Romney lost for two main reasons: First, as he correctly noted during the campaign, 47 percent of American families are dependent on government handouts and they voted for what was in their own best interests; and second, the GOP leadership antagonized the 10 percent of the Republican Party electorate who supported Ron Paul for President. And so over the next four years the people will be provoked and buy more guns they will never have the courage to use to defend themselves against an all-powerful government. The game will go on until the time is up for our nation. It is time we as a generation man up for liberty to redeem ourselves in the tear-filled eyes of future generations. The American people must work peacefully to restore the Articles of Confederation now or else suffer the permanent consequences of the fall of America.
It seems like only last night everyone was celebrating more hope, if not much change. Now comes the hangover. The Dow Jones intraday drop is now 2.23% (and rising), greater than the biggest drop so far in 2012 record on June 1. The last time the market plunged as much: literally one year ago, or November 9, 2011. Sadly, it appears that one can't have their Dow Jones Industrial Average and redistribute it too.
UPDATE: Within the first 90 minutes of the open, AAPL has traded down to under $564 - officially entering bear-market territory (down 3.4% today)... These are 5-month lows for AAPL
From the $705.07 jubilant highs on 9/21, the most widely held stock among hedge funds is sliding in the pre-market very close to its bear-market barrier. A 20% slide from those 'peak AAPL' levels is around $564, less than $10 away. For some this is the buying opportunity of a lifetime as those $1111 price targets and Apple TVs are far from 'priced in'; for others, every VWAP rip is now faded and orderly lines are being formed at the 'get me out of this' window... What was the alpha-generating master-of-the-universe-making stock in the last few years, is now the overweight, over-crowded, waiting-for-the-straw-on-the-camel's-back holding that managers love to hate as their bogeys drift and portfolios plunge. So much for buying high-beta to chase performance eh?
The Status Quo won--no surprise there, as there was no other choice offered. The Imperial Presidency won, too, of course; anyone anywhere can still be assassinated by order of the Imperial President, regardless of their citizenship. Anyone can be labeled "an enemy of the State" and either liquidated (high fives all around!) or crushed by the Espionage Act (transparency is a crime), Patriot Act (dissent is also criminal), the NDAA, or maybe another Executive Order. The neofeudal Aristocracy also won, as vested interests were free to buy "free speech" in unlimited quantities. That means the bag of tricks to "save us from recession" is finally empty. The next recession will sink its teeth into the Savior State and all the protected fiefdoms and cartels with a vengeance built up by four years of "extend and pretend." The failure of "extend and pretend" and the Status Quo that sold it as the "fix" opens up the possibility that crisis will lead to real reform, the kind that requires a Constitutional Convention.
Retirement-Off! The Dow just crossed back under the magical 13,000 level for the first time in two months...Having crossed this rubicon for the first time on Februray 21st, we can reflect on eight months well spent... and the sound of millions of retirees sifting through the 'Help Wanted' pages is deafening - as those 'young-people' that voted for change will continue to participate less in the workforce.
This is what complete social collapse looks like. First, the local Neo Nazi party has soared in the polls and is now the third most popular Greek party. Then, in lieu of other sources of capital, a local brothel became the head sponsor of a minor-league soccer club from Larissa. Now, the same brothel which appears to have seen a substantial return on its advertising spend, has decided to branch out. Straight into a local school. That's right: a whorehouse is advertising its "services" to children in an elementary school. In exchange for what? Money to purchase a Xerox machine and a library.
In the seven weeks since Bernanke unleashed monetary policy hell on the world, much has been made of the 'housing recovery' and how his policy will help sustain this boomlet. Unfortunately, facts being those annoying things that they are, this is absolutely not the case. Aside from a one week knee-jerk ramp in refinancings - no doubt driven by every mortgage broker in the country dialing-for-dollars on the basis that Ben's-got-your-back - mortgage applications have fallen for five weeks in a row... We presume this merely means we need another moar unlimited QE - which given the fiscal cliff fiasco, is as likely as not. In fact, the next round of housing weakness, which is due imminently now that Obama has been reelected, will serve as the alibi the Fed needs to continue the unsterilized portion of Operation Twist 2 set to expire at the end of the year, and which as we explained, will mean that starting January 1, the Fed will monetize $85 billion/month in TSYs and MBS instead of just $40 billion in MBS.
Do not expect any changes to the trends of polarization and party non-conformists is the message from JPMorgan's CIO Michael Cembalest. As he explains moderates like Blue Dog Democrats and Rockefeller Republicans are now artifacts in the Natural History Museum, having given way to their more ideological offspring (through retirement or after having been beaten in primaries). If anything, Cembalest believes the House may become even more partisan after apparent losses by moderates in both parties. After a better than expected night for Democrats given Senate results, the fiscal cliff looms; With the status quo maintained, a divided government goes back to work to solve the Mutually Assured Fiscal Destruction problem. However, electoral results suggest the country is in no mood to address entitlement issues right now, will defer them to another day, and continue to shift towards a high-Federal debt economic model that bears some resemblance to Europe and Japan. In the 1950’s, the solution to 80% Federal debt was not taxation, austerity or inflation, but growth.
Investors should prepare for rising prices and more expansionary monetary policy now that President Barack Obama has won re-election, investor Jim Rogers told CNBC on news of the election. The co-founder with George Soros of the Quantum Fund said he expected Obama’s policies to drive up commodities and drive down the U.S. dollar. As the Federal Reserve moves to ‘stimulate’ a stalled economy through debt purchases, Rogers says markets should expect the status quo to remain the same. “If Obama wins, it’s going to be more inflation, more money printing, more debt, more spending.” Rogers told CNBC, saying he expected to sell U.S. government debt and buy precious metals, such as silver and gold. “It’s not going to be good for you me or anybody else.”