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QE-On As Retail Sales Disappoints

Once again the reflexive response that bad is good is occurring in risk markets. No ssoner had the dismal retail sales number printed than we are seeing Treasury yields tumble (within a basis point or two of record lows), the USD snap lower, and Gold snap higher. It seems the relatively sanguine nature of stocks this morning was the target for gold and USD's move but ince again we remind any and every dip-buyer that NEW QE can't come when everyone expects it and asset values are at least primed for a little jump (not within mult-year highs) as the deflationary threat Bernanke is primarily concerned with is clearly not evident.

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Big Retail Sales Miss In Longest Collapse Streak Since 2008 Recession, Confirms US Consumer Zombification

Today's advance retail sales for June was simply abysmal, printing at -0.5% on the headline, and -0.4% ex autos. Expectations were for a print of +0.2% on the headline and unchanged less autos. Gas was not the culprit either as ex autos and gas the miss was -0.2%, on expectations of a +0.2% print. This was the third consecutive drop in a row: the longest since December 2008, when the US economy was flat out imploding. Expect furious Q2 GDP revisions imminently once the sellside community plugs this number into bean counter abaci. Goldman will likely cut its recently downgraded Q2 GDP from 1.3% to 1.1% or even sub 1.0%, which is essentially stall speed. Finally, today's number confirms our biggest worry: the spike in May consumer credit was not for discretionary purchases: it was for staples. Do the math. Finally, building material & garden eq. & supplies dealers down 1.6%, the biggest sequential drop aside from gas stations. At least housing has "bottomed." Of course, EURUSD spiking on expectations of more imminent NEW QE.

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Citigroup Q2 Earnings Summary And Presentation

Here are the key highlights from the just released Citigroup Q2 earnings:

  • Net Income of $0.95 or $1.00 excluding CVA and one time loss; Exp $0.86
  • Citigroup Net Income of $2.9 Billion; $3.1 Billion Excluding CVA/DVA and the Loss on Akbank;
  • Citigroup Revenues of $18.6 Billion; $18.8 Billion Excluding $219 Million of CVA/DVA and the $424 Million Loss on Akbank; Exp. $19.01 Billion
  • Where the bottom line beat came from: Loan Loss Reserve Release of $984 Million in Second Quarter, or 35% of pretax net income.
  • Complete freeze in capital markets:
    • Fixed Income markets revenue plummets from $4.7B in Q1 to $2.8B in Q2 (and down 4% Y/Y from $2.9 billion)
    • Equity Markets revenue slides 39% sequentially from $776MM to $550MM, down 29% Y/Y from $776MM. It's a zombie zone out there
  • Total Securities and Banking revenues slide 22%, yet Expenses decline just 4%
  • And just like JPM, Americans can't wait to hand over their deposits to Citi: Citigroup Quarter-End Deposits of $914 Billion, 6% Above Prior Year Period
  • This compares to total Loans of $655 billion or a $259 billion mismatch; we know that this surplus is what JPM uses as funding for its Treasury/CIO group. Does Citi also use the excess deposits to fund its internal hedge fund?
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The Battle Of Berlin

In what has become a typical pattern; Europe has a summit, everyone says this, that, their own variation of that and the other to appease their citizens and it is not until days later that some sort of reality begins to be released to the Press. Not only has this become the pattern but it generally comes over the weekend when the markets are not open and when no one is paying much attention. It is a purposeful scheme and useful I suppose for dampening effects and it allows the bliss to continue. In the meantime there is no ESM in place, only $65 billion left in the EFSF after Spain and Cyprus are funded and the German Constitutional Court declared over the weekend that there would be no ruling on the ESM until September 12. The Golden Rule lives on; “He that has the Gold rules.”. For those that believe in the usefulness of firewalls, which would not include me, you are now staring at bricks to build dollhouses and it is not just the flank but the center that is fully exposed and vulnerable. This is Vichy reborn and Anschluss déjà vu and the takeover of Poland just accomplished on a different battlefield. The weapon is money and not armaments and while the stench is more polite the demand for victory has not lessened.

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Overnight Sentiment: Muted

Even with Citi reporting a miss on the top line of $18.6 billion (Exp. $19 billion), but a bottom line beat courtesy of more loan loss reserve releases amounting to $984 million, or 35% of the entire pretax net income number, sentiment has been very quiet this morning, with hardly any sharp moves, aside from the now usual leak in Spanish sovereign bonds, following Bloomberg's confirmation of the WSJ story that the ECB is willing to impair Senior bondholders, while Swiss nominal bonds continue to trade below 0.4% and the EURUSD drifts lower. Today's lethargy may be interrupted at 8:30 am when the Empire Manufacturing and Advance Retail Sales data are released, but unless we get another massive, and very convenient, EUR repatriation out of Europe at just the moment when the US market opens, we doubt much will happen today ahead of Bernanke's semi-annual congressional testimony tomorrow.

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Spanish Bank Borrowings From ECB Soar By €50 Billion In June, Hit Record €337 Billion

Contrary to popular delusions, money flows in Spain are once again deteriorating rapidly, with the country's bank borrowings from the ECB soaring by €50 billion in June according to the Bank of Spain, the second highest ever, to a record €337 billion. While this is bad for Spain, it is good for Italy, which saw its June ECB borrowings rise by only €9 billion, to a record €281 billion, although well below Spain's total - something Italy, which led Spain in ECB borrowings since mid-2011 will be delighted to hear. What however, is rather curious, is that the Spanish TARGET2 net liability soared to €371 billion (-€40 billion in autonomous factors accounting for the lower total number), forcing the ongoing implicit German bailout of the periphery to accelerate to a record €729 billion as noted previously. As a result, for the first time ever, Spanish TARGET2 liabilities represented over half of total Germany TARGET2 claims. Just as we predicted several months ago, German funding of peripheral current account balances is the only "source of capital" for these countries in what is rapidly becoming the latest 'flow of funds' mercantilist scheme, one which can only sustain for so long by definition. In the meantime, now that we are in the exponential phase of the TARGET2 blow out, expect the next German update to indicate well over €2 billion per day in implicit European bailout spending.

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Guest Post: Are Rajoy’s Broken Campaign Promises Delegitimizing His Government?

The debate on how to deal with false or misguiding campaign speech is neither new nor likely to be resolved soon, but as Europe’s economic crisis continues to deepen, and as social and political tensions rise, elemental questions of democracy once limited to seemingly distant European Union institutions are now spilling over to national governments. In the case of Spain, broken campaign promises coupled with the notion that Brussels and Berlin may have de facto hijacked the national political process are seeding the ground for an imminent political crisis. Indeed, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s systematic adoption of policies that are in complete breach of the promises which took him to power only a few months ago are casting doubts on the legitimacy of his political leadership.

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RANsquawk US Data Preview - Advance Retail Sales - 16th July 2012

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Frontrunning: July 16

  • Looks like the troops won't be steamrolled: JPMorgan Blaming Marks On Traders Baffles Ex-Employees (Bloomberg)
  • The Goldman "Huddle" goes to Blackrock - Surveys Give Big Investors an Early View From Analysts (NYT)
  • At least housing has bottomed: London House Prices Plunge As Supply Rise Adds To Lull (Bloomberg)
  • Christine Lagarde and Nicolas Sarkozy embroiled in new corruption inquiry (Telegraph)- at least that fraud they created: Others helped them create it.
  • Heat Leaves Ranchers a Stark Option: Sell (NYT)
  • Merkel Gives No Ground on Demands for Oversight in Debt Crisis (Bloomberg)
  • The euro skeptics have the best lines again (FT)
  • Wen Says China’s Economic Recovery yet to Show Momentum (Bloomberg)
  • Europe’s Banks Face Tougher Demands (FT)
  • Madrid Region To Sell 100 Office Buildings Amid Austerity (Bloomberg)
  • China eases taxes for foreign companies (FT)
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Key Events In The Coming Week And... Bonds, PIIGS Bonds

Via Goldman, here are the key economic events to look forward to in the coming relatively quiet week. And out of DB, we get a list of the key PIIGS bond auctions and bailout events in the immediate and near-term future.

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RANsquawk EU Market Re-Cap - 16th July 2012

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RANsquawk EU Data Preview - Eurozone CPI - 16th July 2012

Tyler Durden's picture

Does QE Really Work? The Evidence To Date

The market's hopes and dreams for the next LSAP remain high. As gold inches higher, tail-risks priced out (expectations for extreme FX moves are considerably lower than sentiment would suggest), and US equity vol expectations (and put skews) are crushed; the equity market clearly remains 'at a premium' in its notional indices given what is sheer lunacy in earnings expectations going forward. The question every investor should be asking is not when QE or even if QE, but so-what-QE? As Credit Suisse notes, given the deterioration in US economic activity (and the extension of Operation Twist) the FOMC will probably wait until its September meeting (and remember the trigger for further pure QE is a long way off for now). The most critical question remains, will additional QE work? After all, few would argue that US interest rates are too high or that banks in the US need still more excess reserves. Two things stand out in their analysis of how QE is supposed to work (transmission mechanisms) and its results to date: QE1 was more effective than QE2, and it's easier to find QE's effect on Treasury yields than on real economic performance. Perhaps more concerning is that the potential negative effects of such unconventional monetary policy has received little attention (aside from at fringe blogs here and here).

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Pick The Subordinated Bond Out

Something interesting happened on the way to the detail-free bailout of Spain's insolvent banking system (which may or may not see senior bond impairments depending on just how big of a capitalization hole the ECB, not some fringe blog, sees). We got details. To wit, from Dow Jones:

The European Union loan to Spain will have a 30-year maturity, an interest rate of 2.5% and a 10-year grace period, reports ABC in its Monday Internet edition, without citing any sources.

Now here's the thing: anyone who has ever looked at a balance sheet, and actually happens to be familiar with terms such as priority, seniority, guarantee, and subordination, will notice something rather peculiar. Namely that only idiots of the nth degree will claim that a 30 year 2.5% bond is pari passu, or equal in right of subordination - precisely what those unelected technocrats in Europe have been repeating day after day since various European summits - with a 10 year at 7%, which is where the Spanish debt actually clears the market. In other words, sorry - there is something here which gives the bailout debt implied seniority.  And here is the punchline: if the Spanish bailout debt does not trade like a pari passu piece of debt, it means that it is... i) not pari passu, and that it is ii) priming, no matter what any so-called pundit with a newsletter to peddle, may claim otherwise. Period. End of Story.

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President Obama: "If You've Got A Business - You Didn't Build That. Somebody Else Made That Happen"

"There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back.  They know they didn’t -- look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.  You didn’t get there on your own.  I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.  There are a lot of smart people out there.  It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.  Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.  (Applause.)... If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.  The Internet didn’t get invented on its own.  Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet."

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