When it comes to predicting consumer spending patterns, especially those of the baby boomers who are traditionally reliant on fixed income (but lately have had to migrate back into the workforce, as retirement prospects diminish, in effect displacing the young 18-24 year old Americans where unemployment is now at a substantial 46%), the following two charts from today's David Rosenberg letter do a great job at explaining the schism between interest and dividend income. The former, as is well-known, has been crippled and is plunging courtesy of Bernanke's ZIRP policy, which makes cash yields on savings and fixed income instruments virtually negligible, and the latter, which while rising, has a long way to rise if it is to catch up to lost annuity potential. It is here that the primary tension for the Fed resides: it has to force investors to switch their mindsets from the capital preservation of fixed income, to the risky behavior of pursuing stock dividends. It is also here that we see the lost purchasing power of the US consumer: interest income is down $450 billion from 2007-2008 levels to roughly $1 trillion, while dividend income has risen to $825 billion, which is where it was at the prior peak. In other words, when all is said and done, Bernanke's ZIRP policy has eliminated $450 billion in purchasing power, even if he has succeeded in reflating the equity bubble. Yet while bonds at least have capital preservation optics, what happens to dividend stocks whose cash flow yields can be eliminated at the bat of an eye, if and when the next flash crash materializes, or the next financial crisis is finally too big for the central planners to control?
Balestra Capital: "If Government Programs Were Cancelled, The Economy Would Collapse Back Into Severe Recession"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/12/2012 20:52 -0400
While hardly an opinion that would be questioned around these parts, it is still good to see that even some of the smart money shares our views about the Schrodinger Economy ('alive' and 'dead' at the same time, depending if the BLS or anyone else is observing it) and we are not totally insane vis-a-vis one-time, non recurring government bailouts, which just incidentally have become perpetual and endless: "The Federal government has manfully stepped up to fill the gap left by consumers who have been forced to retrench and who are trying to repair their finances by paying down debt and increasing their savings. So the next question has to be: Is this recovery self-sustaining or is the economy still on life support, held together by periodic massive liquidity injections and ultra low interest rates, and accompanied by a dangerous, if not reckless, expansion of government debt? We think that if government programs were canceled, the economy would collapse back into severe recession." And here Balestra's Chris Gorgone explains quite astutely why anyone betting on a decoupling or perpetual USD reserve status may want to reconsider: "the U.S. is no longer in complete control of its own destiny. We exist now in a world of increasing correlation in the arenas of economics, finance, trade, politics, etc. What happens in Europe, China, the Middle East, etc. will have major impacts on American economic, political, and social outcomes. The world is changing rapidly. The old rules that so many investors rely upon may no longer apply the way they did during the great growth years after World War II." Alas, this too is spot on.
Re: LTRO2, banks, CRE and the oppurtunity to see just how much free really costs...
The Blokes across the pond are starting to sound as bad as some of the sell side charlatans stateside. Either that or the weed over there is just that much better!
It's getting to the point where the rating agencies are so far behind the reality curve that they are putting the system at risk again, and again, and again...
In a move that will surely shock, shock, the monetary purists out there, the Bank of Japan has just gone and done what we predicted back in May 2011, with the first of our "Hyprintspeed" series articles: "A Look At The BOJ's Current, And Future, Quantitative Easing" (the second one which discussed the imminent advent of the ¥1 quadrillion in total debt threshold was also fulfilled three weeks ago). So just what did the BOJ do? Why nothing short of join the ECB, the BOE, and the Fed (and don't get us started on those crack FX traders at the SNB) in electronically printing even more 1 and 0-based monetary equivalents (full statement here). From WSJ: "The Bank of Japan surprised markets Tuesday by implementing new easing policies and moving closer to an explicit price target, the latest sign of growing worries around the world about the ripple effects of the European debt crisis on the global economy. With interest rates already close to zero, the BOJ has relied in recent months on asset purchases to stimulate the economy. In Tuesday's meeting, the central bank expanded that plan by ¥10 trillion, or about $130 billion. The facility, which includes low-cost loans, is now worth about ¥65 trillion, or $844 billion." The rub however lies in the total Japanese GDP, which at last check was $6 trillion (give or take), and declining. Which means this announcement was the functional equivalent to a surprise $325 billion QE announced by the Fed. What is ironic is the market reaction: the BOJ expands its LSAP by 18% and the USDJPY moves by 30 pips. As for gold, not a peep: as if the market has now priced in that the world's central banks will dilute themselves to death. Unfortunately, it is only at death, and the failure of all status quo fiat paper, that the real value of the yellow metal, whose metallic nature continues to be suppressed via paper pathways, will truly shine.
Interesting & Informative Documentary on the Power of Rating Agencies, Along With Reggie Middleton ExcerptsSubmitted by Reggie Middleton on 01/31/2012 11:46 -0400
Ever want to know what a documentary that spits the truth about the rating agency scam and overall Ponzi would look like if it actually aired on international TV???
One won't find many orthodox strategists who believe that currency printing, and thus dilution, is favorable for said currency. Yet they do exist (as a reminder, this is precisely what saved the REITs back in early 2009, who came to market with massively dilutive follow on offerings, but the fact that they had market access was enough for investors to buy the stock despite the dilution). One among them is Citi's Steven Englander who has released a rather provocative piece in which he claims that as a result of reduction in tail risk, or the possibility of aggressive ECB bond buying (and implicitly, Englander suggests that what we believe is a core correlation: between the sizes of the Fed/ECB balance sheets and the relative value of the respective currencies, is not as important as we suggest), the "EUR will be stronger if the ECB compromises its ‘principles’, but succeeds in convincing investors that the sovereign risk is limited to the smaller peripherals, rather than the core." Currency stronger on central bank printing? And by implication, an x-trillion LTRO being FX positive (and thus risk-FX recoupling)? We have heard stranger things. And remember it is the bizarro market. And finally, Morgan Stanley, which won that shootout with Goldman's Stolper two months ago on the EURUSD, has just turned tactically bullish on the currency (more shortly). For now, here is how Steven Englander explains his contrarian view.
Yesterday, in a must read post, Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg played the devil's advocate and presented a much needed experiment in contrarianism, attempting to unravel what it is that bulls may be seeing in the economy and the market (an analysis which may have to be revised after today's pro forma 400K in initial claims and deplorable retail sales update). While we don't know if anyone was converted into the permabullish fold as a result, it certainly was useful to have a view of what "sliding down the wall of satisfaction" means currently . Today, Rosie is back to his traditional skeptical self with today's publication of the "Laments of a Bear", which is yet another must read inverse view of everything that yesterday was not. Our advise to readers: be aware of both sides of the argument and make up your own mind. Plus at the end of the day the only thing that really matters is what side of the bed Bernanke wakes up on...
The iconoclastic outcast being called in to shake things up a little. I'll appear on CNBC @2:30 with my outlook for 2012. I'm not shy about my track record & here's what I'll have to say.
Where Are The Ratings Agencies Before UK & German Banks Go Boom? How About Those Euro REITs? Agencies Anybody?Submitted by Reggie Middleton on 11/30/2011 13:25 -0400
I'm calling the ratings agencies on this...
Wondering why the future for housing as an asset is so bleak, why median housing prices continue to tumble and recently saw their biggest three month drop ever, and why there is no bottom in sight? Simple: the American public appears to have woken up to the reality that homes are no longer a flippable asset, and in fact continue to drop in price, an observation that is obvious to virtually all now. So what happens next? Why renting of course. Here is Morgan Stanley explaining (granted in a pitchbook for REITs but the underlying data is quite useful) why the Housing 2.0 paradigm is all about renting.
The Japanese government has just authorized the BOJ to buy more ETFs and REITs in order to stabilize the market. In times like this apparently preserving the global "wealth effect" is of paramount importance. In the meantime the news is getting worse- according to the French Nuclear Watchdog the containment vessel on Reactor #2 is no longer sealed (meaning radiation can enter the environment freely), while according to Kyodo the radiation level is now too high for normal work at the Reactor #4 control room.
Japan Decision To Allow BOJ To Monetize ETFs, REITs And BBB-Rated Bonds Sends Yen Higher, Gold SpikesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 10/28/2010 09:02 -0400
Earlier, the Japanese government approved the BOJ decision to monetize in addition to the traditional JGB securities, also ETFs, REITs, and BBB and higher-rated bonds. In other words, the BOJ is now permitted to do what the Fed will have authority to do with a few months: buy virtually all risk assets, as buying ETFs is the same as buying the general market courtesy of the most traded security in the world, SPY, to push and pull the entire market in whatever direction it goes. There are two questions at this point: is the BOJ allowed to buy foreign (read US) assets that fall under the above buckets, and whether the FX currency swap line recently established with the BOJ will allow the Fed to use Japanese proxies to monetize various US assets. Or will the Fed first seek input from the BOJ on how to proceed with sending the Dow to 36k.