As the Congressional hearing, to apportion blame for the farce that Obamacare has already become, gathers steam the overwhelming theme from the four witnesses is "it's not our fault," and as much as the Congressmen dive deeply into the process, the more it is clear that the left hand had no idea what the right hand was doing in yet another government-funded SNAFU. The entire discussion can be summed up by CGI's comments that "our portion of the application worked as designed." Indeed, all of the contractors point the finger back at the government's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid as responsible for "end to end testing," and ultimately the #fail.
"Inherent in the nature of government itself is the fact that it is incapable of effectively providing services," Biderman blasts, noting that "by 'effective', he means dollars and hours." The TrimTabs CEO is breathless in his beration of "the biggest of the big lies," that continues to be believed by most of America ("given their re-election of Barack Obama" he adds), that government can effectively provide services. The reality is "governments are not capable of getting anything done cost-effectively," and Biderman, focused on Obamacare as a recent example, concludes "its all FUBAR."
When France released its August Jobseekers data in August, and it beat expectations dramatically reversing the trend of ongoing malaise with little to no supporting evidence of 'why', we were skeptical. Fast forward one month and we are almost speechless in that not only are European PMIs rolling over just as we warned but the French jobs data is totally screwed up as yet another technical glitch meant 20,000 'text' messages that went unreplied were responsible for the entire improvement. French Labor Minister Michel Sapin is back tracking fast, admitting pre-emptively that "September's data won't be good... due to the 'statistical incident'." The 50k drop last month has been was bettered by a 60k rise to a new record high for French unemployment.
Just last week we noted that the cryptocurrency was quietly surging towards record highs once again as the debacle in Washington, China's comments on the USD, and Baidu's acceptance of Bitcoins all interplayed to disrupt what many called he end of Bitcoin following the shuttering of Silk Road. Just yesterday, Bitcoin rose to almost USD235, within touching distance of April's record high... but then this morning, it collapsed to under $175 (as its liquidity reflected NFLX not global FX). The last couple of hours have seen the price bounce back to $210, but if you like high-beta vol, then Bitcoin is the new TSLA...
Having seen his "unconditional surrender or default" strategy work over the debt ceiling, we wonder what 'ultimatum' President Obama has up his sleeve to get the Immigration Bill passed...
In a tougher-than-expected proposal, the Fed has decided that "internationally active banks" raise their minimum liquidity standards (more than some expected, it would seem by the reaction in stocks).
- *FED PROPOSAL CALLS FOR BANKS TO HOLD 30 DAYS OF READY ASSETS
- *FED: US BANKS ROUGHLY $200 BILLION SHORT OF PROPOSED LIQUIDITY REQUIREMENT.
- *BERNANKE SAYS LIQUIDITY RULE WILL MAKE FINANCIAL SYSTEM `SAFER'
The Fed seeks comments on this proposal over the next 90 days - which we presume will involve much hand-wringing and jawboning until the shortfall disappears magically with transformed collateral... but for now, it is yet another 'tightening' stance in global policy that will impact 'trading' banks considerably more than 'deposit-taking' banks.
— PIMCO (@PIMCO) October 24, 2013
While hardly as followed as the other two key US manufacturing indices, the Mfg ISM and the Chicago PMI, the recently introduced Markit PMI, which comes from the same firm that tracks manufacturing data across the rest of the world, shows that in addition to the sliding job picture in September (and soon October), one other aspect of the US economy that took a big hit in October was manufacturing. As Markit just reported, "the U.S. manufacturing sector grew at its weakest pace for a year in October... based on approximately 85% of usual monthly survey replies. The flash PMI index registered 51.1, down from 52.8 in September, and was consistent with only a modest rate of expansion." Not only was this the lowest headline print in one year, and should the drop continue it would be the worst print since 2009, not only was the New Order index had its weakest number in 6 months, but worst of all, the Output index, plunging from 55.3 to 49.5, had its first contrationary print since 2009!
As much as we loathe saying "we told you so" - especially when it relates to highlighting the fallacious bullshit of one James Cramer - the truth is that just 3 weeks ago we pointed out the fact that the Baltic Dry Index was being heralded as proof of China's (and therefore the world's great recovery) was a mistake. At the time, we noted the temporary nature of the move and now forward markets indicated it was not sustainable; and of course, were met with a chorus of deniers. Well, following a 4.4% decline today, the Baltic Dry Index has now plunged over 20% from its recent peak (and the more crucial Capesize container rates even more) as underlying demand simply cannot keep pace with the massive (overbuilt) ship glut that remains. Added to this is the apparent 'tightening' stance by the PBOC that we have been noting and we suspect, as we warned, the 2011 deja vus will be clear.
With claims from the backlog in California's systems "glitch" (which began in September) still working their way through the system, one can only imagine the debacle that this data really is as more people filed for unemployment claims that expected for the 3rd week in a row. 44,100 Federal workers applied for claims two weeks ago (and received it we presume as well as their back pay now) but the Labor department notes these claims are not reflected in the total. At 350k, vs 340k expectations, this is the first time since early January that we have seen 3 weeks in a row of missed expectations...
Just two weeks after Goldman's "Slam Dunk Sell," report, the price of gold is surging once again. Goldman's Currie (in direct opposition to BofAML's Curry) argument that post debt-ceiling, "... with significant recovery in the U.S., tapering of QE should put downward pressure on gold prices," seems like another round of wishful thinking as physical premiums for gold around the world surge to record highs and spot prices reach one-month highs. Of course, while Goldman had a few days of positive reaction after their call, it is none other than Dennis Gartman who provided the bottom-tick in the latest exuberance.
Despite Ron Insana's insta-dismissal of all things "Austrian", and Maria Bartiromo's scoffing at his comments, Mark Spitznagel (who most recently discussed the problems we face here, here and here) ventured on to the unreality channel this afternoon and much eyebrow-raising ensued. Spitznagel, author of The Dao of Capital , explained why he believes "the market is setup for a major crash," and expects a 40% decline in stocks. The current market "entirely artificial" environment driven by zero-interest-rates and central bank asset purchases, along with valuations and sentiment, has distorted the 'markets' in the same way as "in all other major tops in history." His investing advice is simple, "step aside!" But doesn't expect many to heed his proven advice, because, "it is the hardest thing to do right now, "and makes you look like a fool."
Ordinary Americans Priced Out Of Housing: Institutional Purchases Hit Record, Half Of All Deals Are "All-Cash"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/24/2013 08:13 -0400
If there was any doubt that the US housing "recovery" is anything but the latest speculative play by deep-pocketed (namely those who already have access to cheap funding) investors, who are now engaged in rotating cash gains out of capital markets and into real estate, on their way hoping to flip newly-acquired properties to other wealthy investors, then the most recent, September, RealtyTrac report will put that to rest. To wit: Institutional investors (purchasing 10 or more properties in the last 12 months) accounted for 14 percent of all sales in September, up from 9 percent in August and also 9 percent in September 2012. September had the highest percentage of institutional investor purchases of any month since RealtyTrac began tracking in January 2011....All-cash purchases nationwide represented 49 percent of all residential sales in September, up from a revised 40 percent in August and up from 30 percent in September 2012. In other words, institutional purchases are now at all time highs, with all-cash accounting for half of all transactions!