Everyone knows that when it comes to apologists and scapegoats, Q1 was all about weather excuses, and as SocGen already showed earlier today when it took a $730 million charge on its Russian subsidiary, Q2 misses will all be Ukraine's fault, which is ironic because as recently as a month ago experts were screaming over each other how little Ukraine matters for the global economy, how meaningless Russian exposure is to western banks and so on. But while one can at least superficially justify a bank provisioning against deposit flight and the accumulation of bad debt in a country in which paying one's debt is the last thing on the population's mind, a new and quite different victim of the Ukraine crisis was revealed earlier today when beer titan Carlsberg swung to a net loss and issued a profit warning: beer.
There should be no 'flexible currency' and no central planning of money. They are at the root of the boom-bust cycle, the very reason for the various crises that have beset Western economies in recent decades. Switzerland would be far better off if no-one had the power to meddle with its money supply. As it is, there has been plenty of meddling already, and quite a bit of suspension of disbelief would be necessary to conclude that there will be no price to pay. As always in monetary matters, the bill will be presented at an unknown future date, but it could be a very big bill in this case... but Switzerland's Keynesian dunderhesds are well on their way to that coming due as they blast any gold repatriation plans as "reducing the credibility of the SNB’s policy."
In a move reminiscent of the Victorian Age, when those "downstairs" lived off the scraps of those "upstairs", a new app 'PareUp' is set to revolutionize the way the increasingly poor and starving masses in America feed themselves. As HuffPo reports, in a country that wastes between 30 and 40 percent of its food, PareUp is a new app that aims to connect consumers to restaurants and food shops with excess food - enabling the impoverished to benefit from the excess greed of the well-to-do by buying their used and forgotten food scraps (at significant discounts of course). "Good food is a terrible thing to waste," boasts the app - and rightly so - but is it not a dismally sad reflection of a nation, that opines of its all time high stock prices as indicative of its cleanest dirty shirt status, that we need this service (and there's an app for that!)
Friday, the 2nd day of May, brought two important pieces of government reported information: The April unemployment report came in much better than expected, or “blows pasts forecasts“ as USA Today reported, and initial Obamacare enrollment included more of the previously uninsured than expected, something that Mother Jones says is “far far higher than previous estimates.” Both pieces of information are a good way of looking at an analysis pitfall common in the world of Wall Street and now being increasingly ported over to the rest of the news cycle: the fallacy of mistaking how something does vs expectations with whether its good or bad.
Focusing on what is actually important and market-moving (or will be with a 4-6 week delay in this rigged, non-discounting, broken market) and what most are ignoring for now, is that as previously reported on several occasions, East Ukraine is about to become the next Crimea, following an indepedence referendum that is set to take place in the self-proclaimed Donetsk people's republic on Sunday May 11. And as Itar-Tass reproted moments ago, the results will be in as soon as aweek from today or May 14 which means Russian troops will be officially in what will then be former east Ukraine by the end of next week.
And so the flattening, and the "inexplicable" (Chinese and Japanese) bid for Treasurys continues. After yesterday saw 3 Year paper selling at a better than expected rate, if still at the highest yield since 2011, today it was the turn of 10 year paper to sell briskly, with the high yield of 2.612% once again pricing through the When Issued 2.618%, although in a mirror image of the short end, this was the lowest yield since June of 2013. The bid to cover came at 2.66, modestly below April's 2.76 and on top of the TTM average of 2.63. However, the internals were more curious with Dealers getting just 29.1%, matching their take down from March, and the lowest since March 2013. This meant Indirects were left with 49.3%, well above last month's 44.7%, and above the 43.9% TTM average, highest since the 49.7% in February. Directs were left holding 21.6% of the auction, above the 17.7% average.
Looks like Ukraine won't be buying that gold with IMF loan proceeds after all. Moments ago, in what has become a monthly tradition, Gazprom reported that Ukraine has once again forgotten to pay its latest monthly, April, gas bill. As a result, the total amount of money now due rises from $2.2 billion which was the invoice through the end of April, to $3.5 billion. As RT reminds us, and as was reported previously, this means that in June Ukraine might receive Russian gas only on the condition of advanced payment.
It is unclear if the most recent crackdown on synthetic drugs was prompted by today's Yellen testimony, but according to AP, the US government - seemingly in desperate need to find new things to spend money on - has decided to take its vendetta with sellers of drugs, just synthetic drugs, personal, and starting this morning, "broadened its national crackdown on synthetic drug manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers as federal agents served hundreds of search and arrest warrants in at least 25 states.... The DEA has been cracking down on synthetic drugs, including so-called bath salts, spice and Molly."
In mid February Fed's Tarullo first opined on the "stretched valuations" in small and high-tech companies in the US - while careful not to label the entire market a bubble. It seems, given Janet Yellen's comments today, that this is the new meme...
- *YELLEN SEES POCKETS OF POSSIBLE OVER-VALUATION IN SMALL CAPS (So don't fight the Fed! Sell!)
- *YELLEN SAYS EQUITY MARKET VALUATIONS ARE IN HISTORICAL RANGES
And then there's this:
- Yellen: Can't Detect Asset Bubbles With Any Certainty
Perhaps the following 2 charts will help...
Earlier today, before the high-beta, higher-trash selloff resumed, the main catalyst that pushed the market higher was the following headline:
- PUTIN: RUSSIA PULLED BACK TROOPS FROM UKRAINIAN BORDER
Turns out all Putin was doing was merely trying to give his buddies yet another higher price level from which to sell. To wit:
- NATO HAS NO INDICATION OF WITHDRAWAL OF RUSSIAN MILITARY FORCES FROM UKRAINE BORDER-NATO MILITARY OFFICIAL
- UKRAINE SAYS RUSSIAN MILITARY DRILLS CONTINUING ON BORDER
- UKRAINE BORDER SVC CAN'T SAY WHETHER RUSSIA ARMY IS WITHDRAWING
It is almost as if Putin was merely pulling the electronic legs of the high freaks with premeditated intent...
In a few short minutes, Fed Chairmanwoman Janet Yellen will hold the first part of her two-day testimony in Congress before the Joint Economic Committee (followed by testimony before the Senate Budget Committee), in which she will regale members of congress with tales about harsh weather in the first quarter, and who snow managed to subtract over $50 billion from the US economy in Q1.
It seems the US "costs" are not working on Russian assets. Apparently on the back of diplomatic-sounding comments from Putin, Russian stocks, bonds and currency are the new fear-of-missing-out trade and are soaring: *GAZPROM +7.3%, MOST SINCE MARCH 4; ROSNEFT +4.6%, MOST SINCE SEPT 2013; SBERBANK +10% MOST SINCE NOV. 2011
*RUBLE EXTENDS ADVANCE VS BASKET, STRENGTHENS 1.1% TO 41.2082; *RUSSIA'S 2027 OFZ BOND EXTENDS GAINS, YLD DROPS 28BPS TO 9.19%
Unfortunately US equities are not so exuberant...
According to GMO's Jeremy Grantham, the six most important asset bubbles in modern times are the following: