The grind lower in initial jobless claims continues, which from an upwardly revised 342k (was 340K) last week, declined to 332K in the most recent week ended March 9, on expectations of an increase to 350K. This was the third consecutive beat in a row and the lowest total print since January, which in turn takes it all the way back to January 2008. Continuing claims were also better than expected, dropping from an upwardly-revised 3113K, to 3024K, on expectations of a 3090K print. According to the BLS, unlike the last time we had an abnormally low print, no states were estimated this time around.
If it appears that there has been a period of perplexing quiet in the financial comedy TV's hammering on the topic of the great rotation, it is because that is indeed the case. The reason? As per ICI, following the start of year inflow surge into domestic equity mutual funds, we have experienced a steady trickle lower in inflows, and then, as noted last week, have had not one but two consecutive outflows, confirming that the pattern from 2011 is fully set. Finally, for those curious where the surge in early 2013 inflows came from, we suggest rereading our post from December on "A Record $220 Billion "Deposit" Injection To Kick Start To The 2013 Market." In summary: there has been zero, zilch, none "great rotation" out of bonds into stocks, especially since bond funds have seen far greater inflows in 2013 compared to stocks, and the only money "rotating" has been the parked deposits in year end 2012 ahead of the Fiscal Cliff, being reallocated back into equities (of which there is now no more), and some modest money market fund moves, which also have now tapered out.
Three sticks and three chances for a poke in the eye. On the other hand they could be kindling for the fire or perhaps the first ingredients of alphabet soup. You see, this is what makes things so tough; we all stare at the same things, the same events and reach wildly different conclusions. The media hands out each stick as presented by the government, a corporation or someone else in a supposed leadership position. The somewhat wise can grasp that there are three sticks and not just one and the good minds recognize not only the three sticks but see that it can be made into the first letter of the alphabet. In this light then let us consider the recent proposal from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Under the banner of limiting the government’s support for the large U.S. banks in case one were to fail the Dallas Fed has proposed capping assets at $250 billion and of walling off investment banking from the bank...
If anyone is confused why European stocks just hit their highest levels in nearly 5 years (if not all time highs - there America with its 48 million foodstamp recipients has it beat), the chart below should provide some lack of color. According to Eurostat, in Q4 the number of persons employed in Europe compared to Q4 declined by 0.3% in the Euroarea, and 0.2% in the Eu27. The decline was -0.8% and -0.4% for the EA17 and EU27 compared to a year ago. Of course, if the Fed and ECB keeps pushing stocks higher, monetary illogic dictates that eventually this number will rise because somehow having more diluted claims on money floating around is good for jobs. Just not yet.
- Dimon’s ‘Harpooned’ Whale Resurfaces With Senate Findings (BBG)
- Greece and lenders fall out over firings (FT) - as predicted 48 hours ago
- Dallas Fed Cap Seen Shrinking U.S. Banking Units by Half (BBG) - which is why it will never happen
- Xi elected Chinese president (Xinhua)
- Russia Bond Auction Bombs as ING Awaits Central Bank Clarity (BBG)
- U.S. and U.K. in Tussle Over Libor-manipulating Trader (WSJ)
- Chinese firm puts millions into U.S. natural gas stations (Reuters)
- In Rare Move, Apple Goes on the Defensive Against Samsung (WSJ)
- Berlin Airport Fiasco Shows Chinks in German Engineering Armor (BBG)
- Ex-PIMCO executive sues firm, says was fired for reporting misdeeds (Reuters)
- Bank of Italy Tells Banks in the Red Not to Pay Bonuses, Dividends (Reuters)
If the last three days were spared an overnight ramp in US futures, today this has not been the case as the new carry pairs of choice, the USDJPY and EURJPY, have seen constant gradual levitation overnight, pushing the correlated US OTC markets higher and setting the stage for the tenth consecutive, and perfectly artificial, Dow Jones increase. It is notable just how broken the old direct EURUSD-ES correlation is in times when correlation desks can offset selling pressure by shorting Yen and obtain local funding. That said, even the USDJPY appears to have stalled out in the low/mid 96 range - it is unclear what the catalyst pushing the Yen much lower will be, as virtually all rhetorical ammunition used by the BOJ and its affiliates, has by now been well and truly used up, and the daily talkdown sessions are merely a regurgitation of previous talking points.
Here is a quick overview of what is going on. Besides reviewing the key developments, we explain why the EU Summit, which is not attracting much attention, is in fact important.
While chart analogs provide optically pleasing (and often far too shockingly correct) indications of the human herd tendencies towards fear and greed, a glance through the headlines and reporting of prior periods can provide just as much of a concerning 'analog' as any chart. In this case, while a picture can paint a thousand words; a thousand words may also paint the biggest picture of all. It seems, socially and empirically, it is never different this time as these 1936 Wall Street Journal archives read only too well... from devaluations lifting stocks to inflationary side-effects of money flow and from short-covering, money-on-the-sidelines, Jobs, Europe, low-volume ramps, BTFD, and profit-taking, to brokers advising stocks for the long-run before a 40% decline.
Despite around $135 million in bailouts, the UK government's Insolvency Service disputes its own insolvency. The FT reports that one British MP summed it up - "it is fair to say that if this was a company it would be in deep trouble." The group, which polices bankrupt companies, liquidates failed businesses and disqualifies unfit directors, would be bankrupt were it not for the government's cash injection. Dependent on fees and recoveries from bankrupt companies, the agency over-estimated its ability to recover assets from collapsed businesses. It dismisses the insolvency claims against itself however, noting the service is "living within its means" and expects to be deficit-free by 2015 (though it is unclear how unless they expect recoveries to rise dramatically or bankruptcies to increase significantly) as it is forced to provide services even when there is no prospect of recovering fees from bankrupt people or companies. Their rate of prosecution has dropped from 40% to 21% and even the creditor community has lost faith arguing that the agency's model was "unreliable in the current economic climate" and required urgent reform.
In August 2011, while undergoing cancer treatments that ultimately failed him, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez began withdrawing 160 tons of gold from U.S., European and Canadian banks. “It’s coming to the place it never should have left. ... The vaults of the central bank of Venezuela, not the bank of London or the bank of the United States. It’s our gold,” he said on national television as crowds cheered armored trucks carrying an initial bullion shipment to the central bank. The Caracas hoard would today be valued at around $9 billion, were it not for the fact that Venezuela has been selling it — about $550 million worth in the first eight months of 2012, according to the IMF. Did further sales follow over the past six months, with proceeds partly paying for the public largesse that helped fuel Chávez’s victorious up-from-the-sickbed presidential run? Thus, there is something less than $8.5 billion in untraceable gold bullion stashed in an extremely politicized city that’s simmering with grudges and dreams. Physical gold is modestly short of priceless to a criminal. What mala gente or dissident generals wouldn’t want some of Chávez’s rich legacy?
We can only imagine the lines around the block in readiness for this Chicago Booth lecture "Career Advice From Hank Paulson" urging students not to obsess about positioning themselves for the top job - or perhaps, as we might sub-title it, "Don't obsess - your efforts to make $478m tax-free like me are completely futile."
Over the weekend we learned that the most indebted nation in the world (net of unfunded liabilities), that would be the US, just hit an all time high in foodstamp recipients, which when added to record disability recipients, and various other programs providing for free benefits and entitlements, means that just as the US hit a record Dow Jones (and total Federal debt) print, it at least had a record amount of welfare recipients to show for it. In this context it is probably to be expected then, that that other hyperdebtflationary Keynesian basket case, Japan, just reported that the number of people receiving entitlement benefits just hit an all time high as well. Because the one thing insolvent misery certainly loves is company. Preferably globalized company, just so when the global statist syndicate needs to threaten a record number of people with pulling their welfare privileges should it not get its now periodic taxpayer-funded bailout every several years, it gets a very enthusiastic and prompt global response.
The markets have begun to wonder whether the Fed (and other central banks) will ever be able to exit from its Quantitative Easing policy. We believe there is only one reasonable exit the Fed can take. Rather than sell its portfolio of bonds or allow them to mature naturally, we believe the Fed’s only practical exit will be to increase the size of all other balance sheets in relation to its own. This “exit” will be part of a larger three-part strategy for resetting the over-leveraged global economy, already underway...
Here we go again. As we reported yesterday, Greece was due to present to the Troika "how to cut a massive 150,000 public sector jobs: a move which will result in an immediate surge in public unrest, and an exponential jump in strike activity.... Greece is locked in talks with international creditors in Athens about shrinking the government workforce by enough to keep bailout payments flowing. Identifying redundant positions and putting in place a system that will lead to mandatory exits for about 150,000 civil servants by 2015 is a so-called milestone that will determine whether the country gets a 2.8 billion-euro ($3.6 billion) aid installment due this month. More than a week of talks on that has so far failed to clinch an agreement." Fast forward to today when we learn that any hopes a last minute solution would materialize, allowing the monetary spice to flow and the €2.4 billion loan to be paid, were just dashed following a breakdown in talks between Greece and the Troika. Deja vu all over again.