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HFTs Pay Reuters To Learn First That Consumers Suddenly Less Confident

After reaching six year highs last month, UMich consumer sentiment dropped back, missing expectations by the most in six months (82.7 vs 84.5 expectation). Of course, it is the hope for the future that maintains the overall level as the 'outlook' section rose from 75.8 to 76.7 - its highest in 7 months while the current conditions fell back notably (its biggest drop in a year!). Inflation expectations also rose for both 1- and 5-year horizons. The worse than expected print provided some modest pre-release jerk lower in futures which was immediately bid after as S&P pushes the highs in a seemingly bad-is-good reaction (though in a tiny 3 point range).

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WTI Crude Tops $98 - Highest In 9 Months

Amid the Syria debacle (or growth 'hope' if you are a true believer), the price of a barrel of WTI crude oil just topped $98 - its highest since September of last year. The bad news for all those that 'consume' is that this level of crude suggests the price at the pump will be hitting $3.80 - that elusive P/E expansion-ending level - very soon.

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US Economy Decelerates As Industrial Production Misses, Capacity Utilization Lowest Since October

Earlier today we reported that producer prices in May rose primarily as a result of a jump in electricity and nat gas prices. Which is why it is somewhat surprising that Industrial Production among Utilities dropped by the most, or -1.8%, for the second month in a row, following last month's -3.2% decline. This drop was offset by an increase in Mining IP of 0.7% (a decline from April's 1.1%) and the general manufacturing production which increased by a tiny 0.1%, still the best result of the past three months.  Altogether, these amounted to an unchanged print in the broader index, which printed at 98.7, same as April, and the lowest since February, not to mention below expectations of a 0.2% increase. Finally, looking at capacity utilization, in May total industry CU edged down 0.1 percentage point to 77.6 percent, a rate 0.2 percentage point below its level of a year earlier and 2.6 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2012) average. It was also the lowest print since October 2012. Oops.

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Welcome To The "Policy-By-Whim" Environment

Sometimes you see something that is from a credible source and you are so dumbfounded you don’t know what to think. Yesterday's raly-inducing WSJ' Jon Hiselnrath is one such example. If the Fed believes the market is worried about a rate hike, it would be downright terrifying how out of touch the Central Bank. Our explanation for the move in short rates is the loss of confidence in the Central Bank and its policy making process. The Fed’s balance sheet and Quantitative Easing program has become a Frankenstein monster over which the Central Bank is losing control. QE1 started during a crisis and was either incredibly successful or well-timed. It is often forgotten that the S&P 500 dropped another 22% in the first 3 months of QE1. QE1 had an Exit Strategy, a plan, a time frame and a reason. QE3 has no Exit Strategy, no plan, time frame, no expected level of job creation and no known end. As such, forecasting is nearly impossible in a policy by whim environment, especially when the key decision maker is likely to leave.

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May PPI Jumps Due To Rise In Gasoline, Electricity, Eggs And Imitation Cheese Production Prices

So much for continued disinflation: moments ago the PPI headline number came out at the highest level since February, or 0.5%, well above the expected 0.1% and up significantly from the -0.7% in April. The core PPI ex-food (which rose 0.6%) and energy (increasing 1.3% in May, the highest since February) rose a far more manageable 0.1% in May, and just 1.7% Y/Y, below the statutory accepted 2% annual growth on both the producer and consumer side: a break down of just which finished products led to this increase (gasoline, eggs and imitation cheese as it turns out) is provided below. Luckily, since nobody in the US either eats or uses energy (because they are such a "small component" of the hedonically-adjusted purse), nobody will mind when companies have no option but to pass through rising input costs to consumers.

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Chinese Cash Squeeze Leads To First Failed Liquidity-Draining Debt Auction Failure In 23 Months

It was less than 24 hours after we warned that the Chinese "liquidity shortage" had hit an all time high, as a result of the PBOC's intransigence to inject liquidity into a financial system roiled by Bernanke's and Kuroda's offshore hot-money flows, that things got worse when early in the Chinese trading session we learned that the PBOC experienced its first liquidity drainage failure in 23 months, when the Chinese Finance Ministry failed to sell over 30% of the debt offered at auction - the direct result of a cash squeeze currently ravaging the country's banks. The ministry sold 9.53 billion yuan ($1.55 billion) of 273-day bills, less than the 15 billion yuan target, according to Chinabond, the nation’s biggest bond-clearing house. Agricultural Development Bank of China Co. raised 11.51 billion yuan in a sale of six-month bills last week, less than its 20 billion yuan goal.

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Thursday May Be The New Tuesday, But Friday Is Just Friday (For Now)

Thursdays may be the new Tuesdays (if only this week), but so far Fridays are still just Fridays, and no mysterious overnight levitation is here to open the market 0.5% higher. The Nikkei 225 retraced a fraction of Thursday’s losses overnight as the positive close on Wall Street and a dovish interpretation of Hilsenrath’s WSJ piece yesterday allowed the Japanese indices to recover from the worst levels of the week. USD/JPY has pared Thursday’s bounce and trades lower as the Bank of Japan’s minutes showed one member of the board proposing the advantages of limiting the bank’s QQE program to just two years in order to avoid financial imbalances. Overnight in China, as we warned yesterday, the liquidity situation got even worse, when the PBOC's attempt to drain liquidity failed to sell some 30% of the planned 15 billion yuan in 273-day bills (more on this shortly), leaving the banks screaming Uncle and on the verge of a full-blown liquidity crisis: we expect rumors, and news, of more banks failing to roll over overnight liquidity to hit the tape shortly.

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Frontrunning: June 14

  • As Goldman's money-printing tentacle Carney arrives, everyone else leaves: Tucker to Leave BOE (WSJ)
  • So much for pent up demand: Refinancings Plunge as Bond Yields Rise (WSJ)
  • Singapore Censures 20 Banks for Attempts to Rig Benchmark Rates (BBG)
  • Behind the Big Profits: A Research Tax Break (WSJ)
  • While working for spies, Snowden was secretly prolific online (Reuters)
  • Turkey to Await Ruling on Park as Erdogan Meets Protesters (BBG)
  • Iran votes for new president, Khamenei slams U.S. doubts (Reuters)
  • NSA revelations, modified wheat cast a pall on U.S. trade talks with Europe (WaPo)
  • Euro zone inflation subdued as employment keeps falling (Reuters)
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Thousands Of Firms Trade Confidential Data With The US Government In Exchange For Classified Intelligence

The rabbit hole just got deeper. A whole lot deeper.

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Guest Post: 5 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Poor

Being poor is like a game of poker where if you lose, the other players get to screw you. And if you win, the dealer screws you. A bunch of you reading this are among the 45 million “working poor” in America, and if you’re not, you know somebody who is. People are quick to tell you to pick yourself up by your bootstraps and just stop being poor. What they don’t understand is the series of intricate financial traps that makes that incredibly difficult...

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22 Nauseating Quotes From Hypocritical Establishment Politicians About The NSA Spying Scandal

Establishment politicians from both major political parties are rushing to defend the NSA and condemn whistleblower Edward Snowden.  They are attempting to portray Edward Snowden as a "traitor" and the spooks over at the NSA that are snooping on all of us as "heroes".  In fact, many of the exact same politicians that once railed against government spying during the Bush years are now staunchly defending it now that Obama is in the White House. But it isn't just Democrats that are acting shamefully.  Large numbers of Republican politicians that love to give speeches about "freedom" and "liberty" are attempting to eviscerate the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  The government is not supposed to invade our privacy and investigate us unless there is probable cause to do so. Apparently many of our politicians misunderstood when they read the novel 1984 by George Orwell.  It wasn't supposed to be an instruction manual.

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US Bonds In "Panic" Mode

Based on Credit-Suisse's Panic-Euphoria model of risk appetite, US bond markets are on the verge of the short-term capitulative "Panic" mode. Each time we have reached this level of 'selling' in the last 6 years, Treasury yields have compressed significantly. At the same time, equity risk appetite remains bearish and US credit risk appetite has resumed its decline (but relative to Treasuries they are significantly over-sold). Not a pretty picture...

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It's On: US "Finds" Chemical Weapon Use Against Syrian Rebels; Military Proposes Arming Rebels, No-Fly Zone

The "red-line" has been crossed. The New York Times is reporting that:


And alongside that finding, as part of (or justification for?) the arming of the Syrian rebels, the WSJ reports that the US Military is calling for a limited no-fly zone inside Syria. The seriousness of this escalation must be put in the context of a desperately-needed distraction for the current administration - which makes the decisions being made even more concerning in their potential for extremes.

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10 Nagging Concerns

Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg has ten nagging concerns...

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Nikkei Slides After BOJ Minutes Released

We are trying to remember when the last time the BOJ minutes were important for global risk assets, and are drawing a blank. That's how messed up the financial markets have become. That said, here are the highlights from the BOJ's May minutes which appear to have spooked the Nikkei some 10 minutes ahead of the open.

  • L-T RATE RISES DUE TO WEAK YEN, HIGHER OVERSEAS RATES - And higher overseas rates due to weak yen, also known as a Circular iteration

And perhaps that quotes that spooked the market:

  • ONE MEMBER: TIMELINE SEEMED TO BE INCREASING BOND VOLATILITY - i.e., the longer it goes on, the more we lose control

Nikkei down 200 in minutes.

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