It has been a quiet start to the week, with US equity futures and European stocks mostly unchanged with all eyes on what progress (if any) will be made between Greece and the Eurogroup, where the press conference is scheduled for 7:00 pm GMT (expect significant delays) in what is otherwise expected to be a relatively subdued day with the US away from market and a light macroeconomic calendar.
Few people understand the global economy and its (mis)management better than David Stockman -- former director of the OMB under President Reagan - and he is now loudly warning that events have entered the crack-up phase, which he predicts will be defined by four key developments. As the crack-up phase gains momentum, he predicts an increasing number of "financial breaks" that will add to the unpredictability and instability of the environment for investors. Even 'dancing close to the door' sounds excessively risky at this point.
"I constantly feel inadequate, which may be what drives me," Kyle Bass tells Raoul Pal in this excellent discussion between two of the world's foremost (non-status-quo-hugging everything-will-be-fine) market practitioners. The interview with Bass, from the newly launched Real Vision TV, covers everything from how he got started in his career, what drives him, his process "it's an art - there is no science to it", and not only how we got here, but where we are going (inevitably)...
"European leaders resolved a bitter financial dispute with Greece today, paving the way for Spain and Portugal to join the Common Market at the start of next year. Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou of Greece had threatened to veto an agreement reached this week on Iberian membership unless the other nine members gave Greek farmers $2 billion in special subsidies to help them compete with Spain and Portugal. But after two days of negotiations at a European Economic Community meeting here, Greece was persuaded to accept about $1.4 billion in new agricultural aid in return for lifting its veto threat."
- March 31, 1985
"So why do I stay? Why do any of us continue to put up with the gut-wrenching, soul-sucking, misery-drenched, demoralizing existence that is America today?"
Looking at a map of current American military engagements overseas, one cannot help but notice their wide geographical spread and their seemingly interminable nature. Battles have raged in Europe (Yugoslavia and Ukraine), in Africa, in the Middle East, and in central Asia. The American Empire has launched this country into a series of battles that have no end in sight and no location that may not become a focal point of military force. Upon close inspection, however, all of their rationales fall apart. None is satisfactory. The interventions are too widespread, too long-lasting and too unsuccessful at what they supposedly accomplish to lend support to any of the common justifications.
By reviewing the earnings transcripts from the companies of the S&P 500, Goldman Sachs notes 4 key themes emerge from the maelstrom of double-speak, bravado, and actual data (GAAP or non-GAAP). Without question the US Dollar strength is a drag on multinationals and CEOs are resolute in that (despite mainstream media prognostications that 'king dollar' is "unequivocally good") but what CEOs and CFOs seems just as resolutely positive about is that while macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties still exist in Asia and Europe, they expect solid US economic growth in 2015. It appears - given the data - they will be disappointed.
The week just ended laid bare any pretensions that there is not something wrong (seriously wrong) within the natural world of both the macro underpinnings of business as well as finance. Unimaginable just a short 6 years ago, the U.S. equity markets closed at a height once again never before seen in human history highs, (it has more than tripled from the 2008 bottom!) but has done so solely on Keynesian fairy tales. The issue now is: does the fairytale end in a nightmare?
Since late 2013, The NY Times reports that an unknown group of hackers has reportedly stolen $300 million - possibly as much as triple that amount - from banks across the world, with the majority of the victims in Russia. The attacks continue, all using roughly the same modus operandi...
It appears "hope" is a strategy in Japan. Abe's nation emerged from recession in Q4 but with business spending (capex grew at a mere 0.1%) and private consumption (+0.3% - which Amari defined as "solid private demand supporting economic recovery") both coming in considerably below estimates, Japanese GDP QoQ SAAR grew at+2.2% (missing expectations of 3.7%) but real GDP growth was negative for the 3rd quarter in a row. Of course the GDP deflator grew at 2.3%, beating expectations, is desperately clung to by Japan's economy minster Amari as evidence of the end of deflation in Japan.
We were almost eager to swallow the blue pill and admit that the "recovery" is an actual recovery this time (non-GAAP that is, one where all the economic data is first excluded)... and then we happened to glance at this chart, courtesy of Citigroup's Matt King.
Presented with no comment...
The stock market continues to flirt with new record highs, but the signs that we could be on the precipice of the next major financial crisis continue to mount. There are multiple warning signs that have popped up repeatedly just prior to previous financial crashes, and many of those same warning signs are now appearing once again.