The story making the rounds these days is that the USA’s industrial economy is on the rise again; that the housing market has “recovered;” that (according to Meredith Whitney) the “central corridor” of the nation (Texas to Minnesota) is the second coming of Japan in the 1960s; that we have more oil than we know what to do with; that the nation has bred a super-race of intrepid entrepreneurial risk-takers like unto no other society in history; and finally that whatever else we are or are not, America is the cleanest shirt in the laundry basket of Mother Earth.
This is all horseshit of course, being smoked in the New York Fed’s crack pipe.
The difficulty of US workers to obtain "desirable" jobs has been noted here previously. Recall in 2012 when Delta received 22,000 applications for about 300 flight attendant jobs in the first week after posting the positions outside the company (which was an improvement from 2010, when the Atlanta-based carrier received 100,000 applications for 1,000 jobs when it last hired flight attendants in October 2010). Or when in 2011 McDonalds hired 62,000 minimum wage applicants out of one million total applicants. However, that is nothing compared to the job seeking frenzy in China, where as AFP reports, more than one million people took China's national civil service exam at the weekend in a modern version of an age-old rite, but faced huge odds against clinching one of the few government jobs available. A total of 1.12 million took the National Public Servant Exam, according to figures from the State Administration of Civil Service figures. How many total job openings were there? A tiny 19,000 according to China's Global Times, meaning less than 1 on 50 would be successful.
Even as the Dot-Com 2.0 exasperates to new highs, it seems Twitter - the darling of the no-profit-but-lots-of-hype recent IPOs - is losing its lustre. TWTR is down 4% today to new lows post-IPO. The catalyst for this latest slump appears to be a WSJ article about "fake accounts" - whocouldanode? Of course, it wouldn't be the new normal markets without an exchange 'breaking'... The NYSE and NYSE MKT cash equities markets is working to resolve an issue with customer connectivity.
Despite the downtick in rates for a month or two, the housing 'recovery' appears to have come to an end. This is the fifth consecutive monthly decline in pending home sales and even though a smorgasbord of Wall Street's best and brightest doth protest, it would appear the lagged impact of rising rates is with us for good (as the fast money has left the flipping building). This is the biggest YoY decline since April 2011 as NAR blames low inventories and affordability for the poor performance. Perhaps more worrying for those still clinging to the hope that this ends well is the new mortgage rules in January that could further delay approvals.
Shortly after 1amET this morning, someone with no apparent fiduciary duty to their client's for best execution or any apparent trade allocation expertise decided it was time to dump 1500 contracts into an entirely illiquid gold futures market. The 150,000 ounce notional sell order ($184.5 million), captured graphically by Nanex, sent the price down $10 instaneously, tripped the exchange's circuit breakers and halted the market's trading for 20 seconds (once again). This is now the 4th market halt in the past 3 months (and this time on no news whatsoever), as the manipulative monkey-hammerings from who knows whom (BIS?) is becoming increasingly obvious.
Nope, no bubble here... and no complacency either. And while just like last time, the tech companies still have no profits, at least this time they have revenues... most of which originate from the seemingly infinite advertising budgets at struggling discretionary retailers. By way of gentle reminder - In 2000, total US debt was $5.7 trillion. Now it is three times greater, or $17.2 trillion. As Kyle Bass once warned, "we are right back there! The brevity of financial memory is about two years."
Walmart's Now Ex-CEO To Pocket $113 Million Pension, 6182 Times Greater Than Average WMT Worker's 401(k) BalanceSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/25/2013 10:24 -0400
Moments ago, as we reported, the CEO of Walmart, Mike Duke, retired. And while he will hardly pocket quite as much as Hank Paulson, his departure may raise even more eyebrows as his retirement package, to which he is now entitled, is a whopping $113 million, or about 6,182 times greater than the average 401(k) balance of a typical Wal-Mart worker according to a NerdWallet analysis. Naturally, this is orders of magnitude greater than the already debatable ratio of CEO compensation, which was $20.7 million in 2012, or about 305 times more than the average Walmart manager, and 836 more than the take home of the median Walmart worker.
Yet another case of rodents departing a sinking ship as the pent up discrepancy between reality and future expectations means imminent scapegoating of executives for poor performance:
- WAL-MART STORES NAMES DOUG MCMILLON CEO, SUCCEEDING MIKE DUKE
- BLACKBERRY SAYS ROGER MARTIN RESIGNS FROM BOARD
- BLACKBERRY SAYS COO, MARKETING CHIEF TO LEAVE; REPLACES CFO
You decide... The press releases are mind-blowingly full of fluff.
Blockback against US companies took a turn for the worse moments ago, when Qualcomm said China's price regulator, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), has started an investigation of the mobile chipmaker under the Chinese Anti-Monopoly Law. According to Reuters, NDRC has advised that the substance of the investigation was confidential, the company said in a statement. Qualcomm said it was not aware of any violation. Well, maybe not any violation of its own, but it certainly is aware of the NSA exposed violations, which are now impacting US corporations across the globe.
Looking ahead at the week ahead, data watchers will be kept fairly occupied before Thanksgiving. Starting with today, we will see US pending home sales with the Treasury also conducting the first of 3 bond auctions this week starting with a $32 billion 2yr note sale later. We will get more housing data tomorrow with the release of housing starts, home prices as well as US consumer confidence. Durable goods, Chicago PMI, initial jobless claims and the final UofM Consumer Sentiment print for November are Wednesday’s highlights although we will also get the UK GDP report for Q3. US Equity and fixed income markets are closed on Thursday but US aside we will get the BoE financial stability report, German inflation, Spanish GDP and Chinese industrial profit stats. Expect market activity to remain subdued into Friday as it will be a half-day for US stocks and bond markets. As ever Black Friday sales will be carefully monitored for consumer spending trends. So a reasonably busy, holiday-shortened week for markets ahead of what will be another crucial payrolls number the following week.
- Washington turns bond market upside (FT)
- China Air-Zone Move Expands Field of Islands Spat With Japan (BBG); Japan rejects China claim on airspace over disputed islands (FT)
- 'Great Satan' meets 'Axis of Evil' and strikes a deal (Reuters)
- Iran Pact Faces Stiff Opposition (WSJ)
- Allies Fear a US Pullback in Mideast (WSJ)
- India to resume paying Iran in Euros (Economic Times)
- At 'Business Insider,' it's time to sell (USA Today)
- More ECB currency war jawboning: ECB’s Hansson Says Rate Cut Options Not Fully Exhausted (BBG)
- Spy World Links Plus Obama Ties Stoke Concern About NSA Review (BBG)
- A disunited Europe will struggle even to disintegrate (FT)
The only thing that prevents us from going all in short the S&P following the revelation that Goldman's first revealed top trade of 2014 is to go long the S&P Dec 2014 futures with a target of 2250 and a close below 1855, is that the reco is not from Tom Stolper but his colleague Noah Weisberger whose muppet wipe out record is not quite as prominent. Still, for Goldman clients to buy S&P futs, Goldman has to sell it to them, and as always - do what Goldman does, not what it says.
The Fed's Catch 22 just got catchier. While most attention in the recently released FOMC minutes fell on the return of the taper as a possibility even as soon as December (making the November payrolls report the most important ever, ever, until the next one at least), a less discussed issue was the Fed's comment that it would consider lowering the Interest on Excess Reserves to zero as a means to offset the implied tightening that would result from the reduction in the monthly flow once QE entered its terminal phase (for however briefly before the plunge in the S&P led to the Untaper). After all, the Fed's policy book goes, if IOER is raised to tighten conditions, easing it to zero, or negative, should offset "tightening financial conditions", right? Wrong. As the FT reports leading US banks have warned the Fed that should it lower IOER, they would be forced to start charging depositors.