Money is only as useful as to what it can purchase. The Fed has created a system where debt is now equal to money. This is why big purchases like cars, housing, and even going to college are only feasible by mortgaging your future for many decades. Since the payments are broken down into tiny monthly installments many people pay little attention to the true cost of things over their lifetime. Yet, as MyBudget360 shows, over time, the U.S. dollar has lost a tremendous amount of purchasing power due to inflation. Inflation slowly eats away at your purchasing power yet having access to debt has given the middle class the false impression that they are still protected from the unraveling impacts of inflation. They are not...
We are happy to announce that the job market is officially improving. It was almost exactly a year ago when we reported that Delta Airlines received 22,000 applications for about 300 flight attendant jobs in the first week after posting the positions outside the company. The applications arrived at a rate of two per minute. Said otherwise, the precious few lucky hires had overcome an acceptance ratio of 1.3%. Putting this into perspective, the acceptance ratio at Harvard, the lowest of any university, is 5.9%. Fast forward to today and once can clearly see an improvement: over the weekend, Southwest Airlines Co. which last hired flight attendants from outside the company in 2011, received applications at a rate of only 80 a minute, getting a paltry 10,000 resumes for 750 openings.
Despite the mainstream media's premature exuberance over the 10Y yield breaking above 3.00%, it didn't (according to Bloomberg) but that didn't stop it from closing as close as it can get to the high yields of the year (and back to July 2011 levels) at 2.9905%. The USD drifted getly lower with GBP and EUR strength the biggest drivers. Commodities saw Gold and even more Silver jump at the open then drift while copper and oil limped higher. Volume in stocks was 20% below last Boxing Day which provided the perfect recipe for a VIX smack-down, slow meltup rally to new record-er highs.
It seems not only is the "market" adhering to the lower-left-to-upper-right mentality of newsletter-writers a little too literally but it it would appear we have found the limit of Birinyi's ruler... Behold the Dow Jones Industrial Average on the straight-and-narrow. Because, when there's no dip to buy, you BTFATH...
U.N. Asks U.S. To Justify Latest "Cruel, Inhuman" Drone Attack That Killed 15 Yemen Civilians In A WeddingSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/26/2013 16:08 -0400
Imagine, if you will, that you and your 15 closest unarmed, civilian friends are celebrating a young couple who has just started their lives together, and are on your way to their wedding party, when all of a sudden a remote-controlled US killing machine drops several air-to-surface tactical missiles on your group and kills you before you have a chance to blink. Macabre as it sounds, this is precisely what happened in the conflict-torn (courtesy of the CIA) republic of Yemen last month when a US drone mistakenly killed 15 people.
Apparently having 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of its prisoners simply isn’t good enough for neo-feudal America. No, we need to find more creative and archaic ways to wastefully, immorally and seemingly unconstitutionally incarcerate poor people. Welcome to the latest trend in the penal colony formerly known as America. Debtors’ prisons. A practice we thought had long since been deemed outdated (indeed it has been largely eradicated in the Western world with the exception of about 1/3 of U.S. states as well as Greece).
To think it was just two weeks ago, on December 13, when the S&P was being supported by the "Independence Day" barrier of 1776. It was also on that day that Goldman's strategist David Kostin updated his most recent forward S&P500 price targets for both 6 months ahead (i.e. June), and December 31, 2014. The numbers were 1850 and 1900 respectively. What is just a little bit concerning, is that the S&P, following yet another 10+ point move today on what can only be characterized as "hilarious" volume, will hit Goldman's S&P500 June price target some time tomorrow (or maybe today if the NY Fed trading desk sends the VIX to a 10 handle).
When it comes to screening for stocks, one traditionally uses CapIQ, Factset or the Bloomberg Terminal. However, in a welcome development, the Bloomberg website has launched its own free screener of companies titled the Bloomberg Industry Leaderboard, which this day and age of visual learning, has the added benefit of breaking down the data in an easily digestible, visual format. It allows the sorting of industry leaders by virtually every economic metric of relevance, and while it will never replace paid screeners, it does provide a useful first step in understand who the world leaders in any given industry are.
We wondered previously what happens when there are no more greater fools to sell to? But, US investors have turned the euphoria dial to 11 this week as the percent bullish is the highest since the peak in Fall 2007 and bears are at their lowest percentage since Spring 1987. Thus, the Bull-bear spread (based on AAII's survey) has never been wider (and don't forget, even Cliff Asness knows the unbridled idiocy of the 'money-on-the-sidelines'-meme).
Obamacare's rollout may be in limbo even though the official deadline has come and gone (despite a much touted 2 million visitors to healthcare.gov on Monday which probably means it should IPO immediately), but the real sticker shock of actual fees awaits. And even as most insurers are opting to keep the full impact of the higher cost hidden, instead adding them to the overhead premiums charged, one company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, has itemized the impact of the Unaffordable Care Act by adding a separate line itme for the "Affordable Care Act Fees and Taxes." Here is how these add up according to a breakdown conducted by the Post.
For the second time in 6 months, French joblessness has re-surged back towards record highs, dashing the hopes and dreams of a European recovery. The first time it was thousands of texts that didn't get sent that implied joblessness dropped, this time, no excuse and we push back to within 2k of the all-time high unemployment in France. As Germany heads inexorably in the other direction, one can only hope the French President does not decide to take matters into his own hands and 'draft' the youth into employment.
As US and European stocks glide effortlessly higher, even the most ardent of US bulls has begun to realize things are getting out of hand. In order to keep his AUM flowing (and afford the next yacht), the friendly local asset gatherer will offer insights like... "there is value overseas" or "Europe is cheap" in hopes that his audience is none the wise as to the true state of affairs elsewhere in the world, let alone in the US. The truth, the gap between US and European earnings has never been wider and with 3 (or 4) false dawns already, European earnings (supposedly the true mother's milk of the stock market) continue to fall - as the strong 'whatever-it-takes' EUR does nothing but stymie their recovery.
The Chinese population may be engulfed in a gold-buying spree to take advantage of low precious metal prices, but when it comes to sheer breadth of materialistic interests, they have nothing on the US consumer. And while previously we highlighted the products that filled online buyers' shopping carts during Walmart's record-breaking cyber Monday sales, they were, in a word, boring. So to get a sense of just how expansive the imagination of the US consumer is when armed with the trusty old credit card, and an internet connection, we go to Amazon which has just laid out it holiday best sellers. So without further ado, this is what Americans just couldn't live without this shopping season.
Whether your tipple of choice is a warm dark ale or a clear cool liquor, the price of alcohol is soaring (but there is still no inflation anywhere remember - especially in Europe) and so is demand. From watered-down beer in the UK to rubbing-alcohol split scotch in New Jersey, stealth inflation is growing. So who is most responsible for this demand-pull (and cost-push) driven inflation in alcohol? Germany and Czech Republic (beer) and Russia (liquor) are topping the charts in per-capita demand and it seems the Italians, not content with spending less on gifts are also not drinking much...
Turkish stocks are tumbling, bond yields are soaring, and the Lira is collapsing to new record lows as the prosecutor in charge of investigating the nation's "Graft" case points out the seemingly obvious (but in public)...
*ISTANBUL PROSECUTOR SAYS GOVT INTERFERING IN GRAFT PROBE: NTV
*COURT ORDERS FOR SEARCH, DETENTION BEING PREVENTED, AKKAS SAYS
*TURKEY PROSECUTOR SAYS OFFICIALS CRIMINALLY DISOBEYING COURTS
Judge Akkas cites clear pressure on the judiciary through the police are affecting his ability to continue the probe into the Turkish government's potential misdeeds and corruption.