5.7% GDP growth for Q4 2009 is a phantom. Understand that a normal part of the business cycle is to replenish shelves when retailers realize that 90% (or 84%, depending on what you believe) of Americans are working and buy some stuff. But the fundamentals are still bad. It's just the foam off the stimulus brew.
As David Rosenberg points out, "what a difference a year makes." Here is the compare and contrast. And some observations on why real GDP, absent non-recurring stimulus benefits, was more than 7% lower in Q4 compared to the disclosed number.
Zero Hedge has compiled Treasury Auction data going back to early 2008, for the 3 very critical "no man's land" bonds - the 2 year, 5 Year and 7 Year. We observe that notional increases with each subsequent auction, yet an interesting paradox is that with every single auction (juxtaposed with an ever-greater cumulative sovereign leverage), the demand metrics for auctions have consistently been improving. We compare Bid-To-Cover, Direct Bidder and Tail data. We find as supply increases, both in notional and as a portion of total GDP, demand for USTs increases incrementally more, resulting in ever better auction ratios. We have picked the 2-7 Year points on the curve, as this is where the presumed inflation inflection point will most likely strike based on market expectations. So while purchasing a 30 Year Bond certainly presents inflation expectations considerations as part of the purchase process, the same is not true of 52-week Bills. And the further up the curve one moves, the more of a factor inflation worries become.
Yet oddly, over the past year, it would appear accounts both international and domestic have invested ever more money into the 2-7Y interval. Following today's unprecedented GDP number (which one has the choice of ignoring as David Rosenberg pointed out, due to the certainty that it will not repeat in a long time), one immediate measure of the credibility of this economic data point will be observing the performance of future 2-7 Year bonds (and especially the 7 Year, which has the greatest duration-adjusted sensitivity to yield moves on the curve). If historical trends persist, there is no reason to be concerned that the Treasury will not find a multitude of willing buyers: did Geithner finally figure out how to use Say's law properly? Or is this merely the magic touch of the Federal Reserve and the Primary Dealers, greasing up the market? You decide.
Yesterday's uptick in the housing inventory backlog (from 7.6 months supply to 8.1) has another corollary, which, as David Rosenberg points out, is the median amount of time it takes builders to sell a completed unit. The number is now 13.9 months: an all time record, and 50% higher than a year ago. Good thing all that shadow inventory is nothing to be worried about as Cramer says.
Mom and Pop investors aren't buying stocks ...
By now everyone knows about the Rip Van Winkle effect in stocks: the "noughties" were a snoozer, with the stock market lower on December 31, 2009 than on January 1, 2000. Yet what may have escaped most people is that the decade was also a scratch in terms of employment: the country now has essentially the same number of employed people as it did 10 years ago.
Goldman now anticipates an S&P peak of 1,300 intrayear which is somehow equivalent to a 15x EPS. Of course, that makes sense if one believes Goldman's 2010 S&P EPS of $86 ex provisions and writedowns. Somewhere David Rosenberg is vomiting loudly.
One table, two markets. All you need to compare the present market with 1982, courtesy of David Rosenberg. The numbers, unlike TV stations, don't like.
Due to popular demand, and in response to the earlier post by David Rosenberg, we present the Top Ten Surprises for 2010 as laid out by Blackstone Vice Chairman Byron Wien. No commentary necessary.
Rosenberg Points Out That The Stock Market Is Now A Lagging Indicator; Discusses Byron Wien's Beliefs In The Tooth FairySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/05/2010 10:43 -0500
"The consensus sees $76 operating EPS for the S&P 500 in 2010, which would be a 36% increase from 2009
Meanwhile, the consensus basically sees 4% nominal GDP growth for 2010, which would suggest a 10% profit rise in 2010, which would imply a solid but somewhat less exuberant $62 EPS call for the year. Remember that this time last year the consensus was at $77 operating EPS for 2009 and we got $56 — what saved the market was the Geithner & Bernanke show. What do they do for an encore this year?
Forget all the calculations off the “artificial” March lows. Forget the 25% slide in the first 10 weeks of the year to that awful trough. Here is the reality. The S&P 500, from point to point, rallied 23% in 2009 even though earnings for the year as whole came in a whopping $22 a share or 27% below what was being priced in at the start of the year. Now that is remarkable. It almost wants to make you believe in the tooth fairy." - David Rosenberg
2009 was a game changer, a year that will have profound long-term impacts on our future. These changes are generational. Here are the top 10 economic events of 2009. Understand them well because they will change your future and the future of your children and grandchildren. It won't be good change.
True, the decade is not really over, but no one called 1930 the "last year of the 20's," and given the reflective mood that seems to grip all of Western society whenever a year ending in "9" draws to a close, well, we thought we'd better embrace the trend now so that when some idiot with a pair of glow-in-the-dark "2010" glasses with holes in the zeros for his eyes tries to convince us to watch Roy Scheider over and over again in a celebratory, all-day, marathon screening of "2010," well, we can say we gave at the blog.
Instead, and in conjunction with your many suggestions, we took the opportunity to go back over Zero Hedge's posts and see what moved you, with an eye towards getting a sense of what Zero Hedge wants to read. The results were quite interesting. We thought readers would find it engaging both as a sort of "year in review" post, and, perhaps, in finding old material missed the first time around (or before the discovery of Zero Hedge).
Even though we presented Don Coxe's report in full earlier, we wanted to recapitulate his thoughts on gold, as we believe they deserve a post of their own. With gold having become, as we expected more than half a year ago, the most discussed and volatile asset class to accompany the latest Fed inflated bubble, Coxe's view is a welcome addition to other such notable perspectives from the likes of Jim Grant, David Rosenberg, Dylan Grice, Goldman Sachs and many others.
"In a world in which nearly all paper money has problems, and in which the sheer supply of paper money is expanding far faster than global GDP, gold has its best claim as a constituent of foreign exchange reserves since Bretton Woods booted it out sixty-five years ago." - Don Coxe
David Rosenberg And A Few Good Economic Observations: "Can You Handle The Truth?" His 2010 "Outlook"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/16/2009 17:10 -0500
Rosie doing what he does best: staking a lot by going against the consensus... Again
Recently, an extended analysis by Shadow Stats' John Williams evaluated the risk of a hyperinflationary episode as one which has the potential to come as soon as next year. Somewhat in support of this theory yesterday's read of PPI came in above consensus, indicating that inflation may indeed be coming. Yet today's CPI data, whose core read came in at 0.0%, may have just poured a whole lot of cold water over Williams' thesis. Nonetheless, at the end of the day Williams may be right: the question remains - if and when the excess reserves start hitting the broader currency (as the Fed is scared shitless to withdraw liquidity on its own), we may experience a transition from deflation to inflation so rapid, that is has no historic analog. At the end of the day deflation will likely be the name of the game for quite some time, until such point as "Man of the Year" Bernanke finally flips (the turbo print switch on), and any pretence of prudent monetary policy is thrown out of the window. At that point, look for the stock market to promptly go to 36,000 followed by an even faster drop to 0, all the while the dollar gets hyperdeflated (Zimbabwe redux). With the Administration set on not losing the midterm elections by a landslide, don't expect much in terms of economic experimentation at least until 2011. At that point, all bets will be off as the Fed will likely have at most 2 more years of shelf life before both its, and thus Wall Street's, life support are forcefully yanked out.