Think Goldman would take accusations that it is, gasp, manipulating the RMBS, HFT, crude commodities market sitting down? Think again. Like every mollusc in self-preservation mode, here is Goldman's just released ink, pardon, press release saying all accusations about it are nothing but sheer rampant confusion. After all - Goldman simply makes markets. Move along.
— PIMCO (@PIMCO) July 23, 2013
Dow Jones industrial staple Caterpillar, better known as CAT, has made these pages quite often in the past few months for all the wrong reasons: be it due to operational weakness ("CAT Misses Across The Board, Slashes Sales And Profit Outlook"), weak top line growth ("Collapse In Caterpillar North American Sales Not Helping Bernanke's "Recovery") or simply gross management negligence ("Caterpillar Punked By Chinese Fraud, To Write Off Half Of Q4 Earnings"). It got so bad that none other than China permabear Jim Chanos declared Caterpillar his "best short idea" last week. However, CAT's troubles are far more than just China related as today's June dealer retail sales showed, which which posting a modest 'increase' in North American sales (from -16% to -10%), the weakness has returned to Asia where sales resumed sliding from -14% to -21%, in Latin America where growth plunged from 22% to 9%, in the ROW where sales dropped from -2% to -8%, all of it resulting in yet another downward inflection point in world sales from -7% (which had been a four month high) to -8%. But why bore with words when one picture should suffice. So what is the future for CAT? According to a new report released by @VolSlinger, things may get far worse in the coming months. So bad, in fact, that based on his analysis, which has a price target of $28 for the stock, there is some 67% upside to a short position.
Thanks to a total and utter collapse in new order volume (from +9 to -15 - worst in 2 years) and order backlog (-1 to -24), the Richmond Fed manufacturing survey just printed at -11 (against expectations of an exuberant +8). This is the biggest miss since May 2006. Wages plunged; the average work-week plunged; capacity utlization plunged; but on the bright-side, the number of employees was flat (at 0). Perhaps more concerning is the outlook that sees prices paid rising notably more than prices received and capacity ultization dropping notably.
In December we asked if a "short squeeze was imminent as Tilson jumps aboard the Herbalife bandwagon" at $26. The answer is yes and following a nearly 150% jump off the lows, with much comedy ensuing (if not for the shorts), Dan Loeb has a special message for those still waiting for the Ackman "thesis" to materialize...
There was a time when the US housing market was not "driven" by hedge funds armed with government-subsidized, "REO-to-Rent" loans loading up on distressed properties, by banks refusing to release foreclosed properties into the market (thus creating a market subsidy) or by foreigners eager to park their "tax-evaded" wealth with the Anti Money-Laundering exempt National Association of Realtors. Instead, the main driver of US housing were first-time home buyers, "typically couples in their late 20s or early 30s" who historically have accounted for about 40% of home sales. Alas, last year, and all throughout the New Normal, this number has been about 25% lower, or representing just 30% of all sales (except for a brief spike to 50% in 2009 courtesy of recession-era tax credits). Then again, what 30 year old needs a home when one can now get an E-trade terminal under the bridge to generate "the wealth effect"?
With yet another promise about to go up in smoke (that of PM Rajoy's claim that Spain will be out of recession this quarter), we thought it worth a brief reflection on just what a disaster the nation is and how much it is weighing on the entire EU. Spain has been in recession for seven quarters in a row and survey indicators suggest it will extend to eight. House prices continue to collapse. Government revenue to GDP is among the worst in the union. But unemployment is where Spain has its peers beat - at 6.2 million unemployed, Spain accounts for almost one-third of the entire unemployed population of Europe. With expectations that the unemployment rate will break above 28% next year and a government embroiled in scandal, Rajoy's planned address to discuss the politicial and economic situation to his nation in August may just be the catalyst for the social unrest that has laid relatively dormant for so long. Is Spain the new Detroit?
The name Robert Khuzami is well-known to Zero Hedge readers: the former top SEC enforcer is perhaps best known not for what he did (judging by how many Wall Street bank executives ended up in jail following the Great Financial Crisis, very little), but for what he didn't - namely pursue any action against his former employer, Deutsche Bank, where he was a general counsel and where under his watch Greg Lippmann was "shorting your house." The reason, among others, extensive deferred comp linked to DB stock as we reported all the way back in May 2010. But Bob didn't care about what he did, or didn't do at the SEC - he was much more interested in what he would do after he left the regulator, which he did in January of this year. Because Bob, courtesy of his DB days, realized the massive paycheck potential of a revolving door job at the head of the government's enforcement unit. Sure enough, as the NYT reports, he has capitalized on just that following a $5 million a year contract (with a 2 year guarantee) with legal behemoth Kirkland & Ellis where he will be a partner and "will represent some of the same corporations that the S.E.C. oversees."
- Biggest Banks Face Fed Restoring Barriers in Commodities (BBG)
- SAC to Employees: Cohen Didn't Read Dell Email at Heart of SEC's Case (WSJ)
- Second (and Third) liens are back, and so is 2005: As Banks Retreat, Hedge Funds Smell Profit (WSJ)
- Singapore funds benefit from Asian wealth (FT)
- 2 years later the lies haven't changed one bit - Tepco hit over slow admission of radioactive leak (FT)
- How big tech stays offline on tax (Reuters)
- Hilton Leads Rush to Africa in Fastest Boom (BBG)
- U.S. and UK fine high-speed trader for manipulation (Reuters)
- Key witness takes stand in SEC case against Goldman's Tourre (Reuters)
- Boomer Sex With Dementia Foreshadowed in Nursing Home (BBG)
- Bentley SUV gives £800m boost to UK car industry (FT)
In a day in which there was and will be virtually no A-list macro data (later we get the FHFA and Richmond Fed B-listers), the inevitable low volume centrally-planned levitation was attributed to news out of China, namely that Likonomics has set a hard (landing) floor of 7% for the GDP, and that just like other flourishing economies (Spain, Italy, California) China would invest in "monorails" to get rid of excess capacity, as well as a smattering of European M&A activity involving Telefonica Deutscheland and KPN. In Japan, the government upgraded its economic view for the 3rd straight month and also raised its view on capex for the 1st time in 4 months: who says the (negative Sharpe ratio) PenNikkeistock market is not the economy? All this led to a 2% rise in the Shanghai Composite - the most in 2 weeks - and the risk on sentiment also resulted into tighter credit spreads in Europe, with the iTraxx Crossover index falling 4bps and sr. financial also declining by around 4bps, with 5y CDS rates on Spanish lenders down by over 10bps. Naturally, US futures wouldn't be left far behind and took today's first major revenue miss of the day, that of DuPont, which beat EPS and naturally missed revenue estimates, as bullish and a signal to BTFATH (all time high). On the earnings side, in addition to Apple, other notable companies reporting include Lockheed Martin, Altria, AT&T and UPS.
A lot of Americans have an impression that drone strikes are less damaging to civilian populations that conventional airstrikes. This would be false. In fact, earlier this month I highlighted an article from the Guardian that demonstrated how in reality drone strikes are 10x more likely to harm civilians per incident. Now, thanks to a recently leaked document we find that many more civilians including children have been killed in these strikes than many of us would like to admit. In fact, of the 746 people killed in drone strikes in Pakistan from 2006-2009, an incredible 20% were civilians and 94 (13% of the total) were children.
Earlier we reported about Southwest flight 345 which in a hard lending replica of the US (or is that Chinese?) market, had its front wheels "come off" upon landing at Laguardia airport earlier today. If only the Chairman was there in time to print it a backup set of wheels, just as he did with the S&P. Below is the first released video of what happens courtesy of NBC4, showing the plane skidding on the Laguardia tarmac in a sea of sparks. Luckily, nobody was seriously hurt although we can only hope the pilots were not of Korean origin.
Following earlier comments that 7.0% is China's bottom-line GDP growth for the year (they promise), rumors are emerging of a much more significant shift in China's mis-allocation of capital strategy. UBS reports rumors that the PBOC is planning to take the ultimate step in stopping the over-capacity problem stifling the cement and steel industry by banning banks from making new loans to these industries (and disallowing the companies from issuing short-term debt to meet their liquidity needs). Have no fear though, as the cessation of credit provision to these over-stuffed industries 'directly' will be met by an indirect mis-allocation of capital via a CNY260 billion rail-road investment fund (aimed at maintaining stable economic growth and employment) including building the world's longest tunnel. The ultimate in central-planning largesse - directing both fiscal investment into dead-end projects (see Spain) and ad hoc monetary injections to save banks one by one.
As we warned here most recently, the shadow-banking system remains the most crisis-catalyzing part of the markets currently as collateral shortages (and capital inadequacy) continue to grow as concerns. In recent weeks, between The Fed, Basel III, and the FDIC, regulators have signalled the possible intent to change risk, netting, and capital rules that could have dramatic implications on the repo markets and now, it seems, the SEC has begun to recognize just how big a concern that could be. As Reuters reports, the SEC urged funds and advisers last week to review master repurchase agreement documentation to see if there are any procedures to handle defaults, and if necessary, prepare draft templates in advance. A retrenchment in repo markets is unwelcome news for the liquidity of the underlying securities and the impact on the derivative portfolios should not be underestimated.
When the city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy last week, it became the largest such filing in United States history. Detroit’s population has dropped from 1.8 million in 1950, when it was America’s fifth-largest city, to less than 700,000 today. Its industrial base lies shattered. And yet we live in a world where cities have never had it so good. More than half of the world’s population is urban, for the first time in history, and urban hubs generate an estimated 80% of global GDP. These proportions will rise even higher as emerging-market countries urbanize rapidly. So, what can the world learn from Detroit’s plight? Stories like Detroit’s have played out several times in developed countries during the last half-century. And, as the fate of Mexico’s northern towns suggests, emerging economies are not immune from this process. Detroit’s fate should serve as a warning, not only for China, but for the next generation of urbanizing countries (for example, India) as well.