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The Week That Was: July 29th - Auguest 2nd 2013





Succinctly summarizing the positive and negative news, data, and market events of the week...

 
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Friday Humor: US Citizens 'Just' Want To Be Safe, Happy, Rich, Comfortable, & Entertained At All Times





Fact or Fiction: In a new report released Wednesday, Americans indicated that when it comes to what they expect from their country, all they really want is to be safe, happy, rich, comfortable, and entertained at absolutely all times.

 
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S&P Closes At Record High Thanks To "BTFATH Mentality"





Well that's that - Bad is definitely good. While an initial dip was seen in US equities (as the rest of the asset-classes shifted in Taper-off mode after the dismal jobs/factory orders data), it didn't take long (and took no volume) to wriggle us back up to green and a new all-time high for stocks. But while stocks ended unch for all intent and purpose, the moves were violent elsewhere. 10Y yields collapsed the most in over 5 months today (continuing its ECG-like performance recently); the USD dropped over 0.5% on the day; and while gold ended the day unch, silver (and gold) gapped higher on the NFP release (ending the week lower though). High-yield credit markets are not amused - following long-dated bonds' 7bps yield increase on the week (confirming unwind fears as opposed to growth-driven hopes). Homebuilders gained over 4% on the week (just because). On the week, 'most-shorted' stocks tripled the market's performance. VIX closed at 12.00% - lowest in almost 4 months. BTFATH

 
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Geithner To Advise Obama On Next Fed Chairman





While assuring the world that he will not give advantage to Larry Summers, we wonder if the meeting with the President will sound a little like this?

 
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When The "Market" Thinks The Taper Will Begin?





With the return of Federal Reserve Chair(wo)man odds at PaddyPower (leaving Summers a dreary 28% likelihood of winning) comes the Irish bettors' latest gamble... when will the US Fed initiate Tapering of QE? Based on the month during which the first reduction of QE bond-buying from the current $85bn per month, it seems (unlike the majority of prognosticators and standing blithely in the face of technical, political, and deficit reasons) that tapering will not begin until December at earliest with most believing 2014-or-later...

 
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Chart Of The "Recovery": GDP vs Market Capitalization Since "The Lows"





In short:

Since the March 2009 lows, US GDP has increased by $2.3 trillion.
Since the March 2009 lows, the capitalization of the US stock market has increased by $12.3 trillion.
Delta between the two: 436% in favor of stocks.

 
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Guest Post: Amazon.com Creates 5,000 Jobs, Destroys 25,000 In The Process?





The past few weeks have seen the tech and business media abuzz about a not-so-little warehouse in Tennessee. That's because this distribution center, opening its doors with a burst of fanfare and even a few visits from nearby politicians, isn't a jumping-off point for Macy's or Target. Instead, the warehouse is the latest in a series of new locations being opened by retail technology giant Amazon.com. The jobs this new mega-warehouse is purported to create: 5,000. However, as we discuss below, for every job Amazon "creates," four other jobs go away at a company like TJX.

 
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US Escalates: Issues Worldwide Travel Alert Following Embassy Closures





With US leaks about Israeli air strike on Syria, John Kerry stirring the civil war pot in Egypt, and the closure of US embassies across the Muslim world (Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Yemen, UAE, Algeria, Mauritania, Sudan, Israel (Tel Aviv) and Jordan), it appears something is afoot. To add to the intrigue, the US State Department just issued a worldwide travel alert for US citizens.

*STATE DEPARTMENT WORLDWIDE TRAVEL ALERT EXPIRES AUGUST 31, 2013
*STATE DEPT ISSUES WORLDWIDE TRAVEL ALERT FOR U.S. CITIZENS

An Al-Qaeda threat has been posited but with no follow-up but we can't help but fear what we wondered about previously - the need for deficits to re-awaken (via some external event that no-one can 'un-patriotically' demur) providing more room for Bernanke to avoid his need for Taper.

 
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Guest Post: The Snowden Time-Bomb





In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, world leaders repeated a soothing mantra. There could be no repeat of the Great Depression, not only because monetary policy was much better (it was), but also because international cooperation was better institutionalized. And yet one man, the American former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, has shown how far removed from reality that claim remains. Prolonged periods of strain tend to weaken the fabric of institutional cooperation. The two institutions that seemed most dynamic and effective in 2008-2009 were the International Monetary Fund and the G-20; the credibility of both has been steadily eroded over the long course of the crisis. The Snowden affair has blown up any illusion about trust between leaders – and also about leaders’ competence.

 
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Spain To Suffer At Least 25% Unemployment Until 2018, IMF Forecasts





With the mean-reverting extrapolators all calling the bottom in Europe and scandal-plagued PM Rajoy desperate for distraction repeatedly arguing that the country's depressed economy is finally emerging from a two-tear slump, the FT reports that IMF has just popped that balloon of hope. "Spain has historically never generated net employment when the economy grew less that 1.5-2%,” the IMF notes, pointing out "yet growth is not projected to reach these rates even in the medium-term." In fact, echoing recent warnings from independent economists at exuberance over the most recent data (driven by seasonally-enhanced tourism) as the start of a new trend, the IMF warns, "the weak recovery will constrain employment gains, with unemployment remaining above 25 per cent in 2018." So, for Rajoy, its back to the grift.

 
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The Smartest Money Has Two Words Of Advice: "Sell Now" (And Is Doing Just That)





Yesterday, in the aftermath of first Apollo then Blackstone, it was the turn of that third mega Private Equity shop, Fortress, to "say that now is the time to exit investments as stocks rally and interest rates start to rise. "This is a better time for selling our existing investments than making new investments," Pete Briger, who oversee the New York-based firm's $12.5 billion business said on a call with investors yesterday. "There’s been more uncertainty that’s been fed into the markets." Ironically, this is precisely the opposite of what one will hear on the mainstream media, but such is life: for every smart money seller, there must be a willing sheep led to the slaughter.

 
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Pakistan Bans Gold Imports for 30 Days





The latest buzz circulating around the gold market relates to news that Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) has decided to ban duty free gold imports for thirty days. Why you ask? Because those pesky Indians are using Pakistan as a conduit to get around the country’s recent 8% duty imposed on gold imports. All of this of course begs the question: With the price of gold “plunging” over the past several months, why did Pakistan and India both feel the need to take such draconian measures against a barbarous relic that everyone is supposedly panic selling? If there is so much gold to be had and no one wants it, what’s the problem? Strange indeed...

 
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Record Jobs For Old Workers; For Others - Not So Much





While we have banged the table on the full vs part-time disconnect for so long even the mainstream media has finally caught up, another issue that few outlets mention let alone discuss is that all the job growth in the US has, so far, only benefited old workers: those 55 and older. July was no difference. As the chart below shows, of the 160k jobs broken down by age group, 60% went to workers aged 55-69. No jobs were added by those 16-19, 49K jobs went to recent college grads, or those otherwise aged 20-24, and a measly 15K jobs were gained by Americans in the prime working age between the years of 25-54.

 
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Biderman Blasts Bernanke's "Biggest Bubble Of All-Time"





"The more stocks go up, the more analysts, strategists, the financial media - and inevitably investors - firmly believe that the US economy has to be on the verge of rapid growth." TrimTabs' CEO Charles Biderman is back and blasting the "mass psychosis" that has overtaken the markets - driven by endless liquidity from a consequence-blind central bank - as the real economy struggles to keep its head above water. Growth must be coming sometime soon, "or else the market would not be going up," right? The "belief in the growth fairy," is not new. Since 2010, economists and sell-side strategists have been betting it all (and encouraging investors) on this faith that growth will arrive any day now. In fact, as Biderman lays out in unarguable facts, that this is simply not true - job growth is slowing, economic growth is slowing, and income growth is stagnant.

 

 
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US Embassies Across Muslim World Mysteriously Shutting Down This Weekend





Amid all the high-fives over stocks hitting all-time highs and Edward Snowden's temporary freedom hogging the headlines yesterday, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf quietly pointed out that, due to an "abundance of caution," an unspecified number of US embassies and consulates in the Muslim world will be closed this weekend (and diplomatic facilities maybe longer). House foreign affairs committee chairman Royce suggested this morning that this closure is 'Al-Qaeda-threat-related'; and, as AP reports, the last major warning came last fall when embassies warned American diplomatic facilities across the Muslim world of potential violence around Sept. 11. (and the disaster that was Benghazi). But we can't help but worry about the coincident 'leak' by US officials of Israel's airstrike on Syria (and the potential forced response from Assad this would seem to portend).

 
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