New Home Sales
Hong Kong home prices tumbled the most since July 2013, and after a 12 year upcycle, prices are now down a whopping 10% from the recent peak four short months ago. But not only has the Hong Kong housing bubble burst, it has done so in spectacular fashion: as quoted by the SCMP, the local Centaline Property Agency estimates that total Hong Kong property transactions in January were on track to register the worst month since 1991, when it started compiling monthly figures. In other words, the biggest drop in recorded history!
Following the post-regulatory-change spike in existing and new home sales, pending home sales disappointed with a mere 0.1% rise MoM (missing expectations of a 0.9% rise). The weakness of the forward-looking indicator of home closings was blamed - as usual - on low inventories but also on "sizable losses in the stock market." The 3.1% YoY sales increase is close to the weakest since November 2014.
Following the Fed's disappointing "dovish, but not dovish enough" statement which effectively admitted Yellen had committed policy error by hiking just as the US economy "was slowing down" which in turn lowered the odds of a March rate hike to just 18%, it was up to oil to pick up the correlation torch, and so it did, rising in an otherwise mixed session which has seen European stocks slide on continued weakness surrounding Italian banks, many of which have been halted limit down, while Asia was treading water following news of the resignation of Japan’s "Abenomics" minister Akira Amari to over a graft scandal, and yet another day of Chinese stock dropping.
Following existing home sales post-regs change spike, new home sales (after 9 months of missed expectations) soared 10.8% in December to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 544k (smashing expectations of just 500k). This is 1k short of the February 545k highs going back to Feb 2008. Median home prices dropped however (a good thing for affordability but not so much for The Fed's wealth illusion machine) to the lowest since May.
"Nobody is really sure where we go from here, and nobody is brave enough to make the call,” Peter Dixon, Commerzbank AG’s global equities economist in London told Bloomberg. “Corporate earnings season won’t provide much of a support - markets may find a floor if the Fed is extremely dovish tonight. At least investors will have time to think and reassess valuations."
Following a rerun of September 2015, when Draghi sent market expectations about ECB action sky-high only to massively disappoint in December (we will have to wait until March to see if it is deja vu all over again) last week, this week is just as big for central bank jawboning with the FOMC (Wednesday) and the BoJ meeting on Friday, with hopes that they will at least hint of more easing if not actually do much.
While prices in China's Tier 1 cities are soaring, let's put the country's vacant housing problem in context: China has some 13 million homes vacant - enough to house the families of several small countries . Actually, it's worse: Zhu Min, deputy managing director at the International Monetary Fund, recently admitted that China’s real estate bubble now manifests itself in 10. 7 billion square feet (1 billion square meters) of unused housing! Min added that many housing stock go unused, and the market may see a significant price correction in the future, wiping out vast household wealth.
Most Americans will still welcome low prices at the pump. But in the oil boom towns of yesterday, the slowdown is very much being felt - "The jobs are leaving, and if an area gets depopulated, they can't take the houses with them and that's dangerous for the housing market."
Earlier today the US Census released its latest, November, construction spending data, which not only missed expectations of a 0.6% rebound, but tumbled -0.4%, the most since June of 2014, while all the recent data had been mysteriously revised lower. And then the source of the mystery was revealed, because in the fine print the government made a rare admission: all the construction spending data for the past 10 years had been "erroneous."
Despite such endless financial engineering, sales for the S&P 500 have been declining for the last three quarters. And profits have declined for the first time since the 2009 expansion. Simply put: The recovery is a mirage... It isn’t real... And it isn’t sustainable.
Having seen New Home Sales disappoint and Existing Home Sales crash in November, Pending Home Sales plunged 0.9% MoM (against expectations of a 0.7% MoM rise). Having plateaued in October near 8-month lows, today's huge miss was driven by a plunge in sales in The West (-5.5%) and NorthEast (-3.0%). Home sales rose just 2.6% YoY - the weakest since October 2014. The excuse factory was busy with weather, home prices, and inventory trotted out but, perhaps most notably, Realtors warned that higher mortgage rates will temper sales growth in an explicit threat to Janet to "hold."
Not only were there downward revisions between the November and October "government data", but as the chart below shows, over the past 5 months the data has been consistently "revised lower" with every incremental release.
Following Existing Home Sales sudden collapse catch down to reality (blamed on new paperwork timing), New Home Sales in November printed 490k SAAR (missing expectations of 505k). Historical revisions enabled a 'rise' MoM but we note that new home sales in The Northeast crashed 28.6% (after a huge spike in October) while The West saw sales rise 20.5% MoM (seriously!!??).
Santa Rally Lifts Global Stocks For Third Day: Will Volumeless Levitation Push The S&P Green For 2015?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 12/23/2015 06:55 -0500
With just a handful of trading sessions left in the year, this is how the major global markets look as 2015 is about to close. As of this moment, and in keeping with the Christmas spirit, the biggest question is whether the S&P500 will close green or red for the year.
Futures Jump After Friday Drubbing, Despite Brent Sliding To Fresh 11 Year Lows, Spanish Political UncertaintySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/21/2015 06:55 -0500
In a weekend of very little macro newsflow facilitated by the release of the latest Star Wars sequel, the biggest political and economic event was the Spanish general election which confirmed the end of the PP-PSOE political duopoly at national level. As a result, there was some early underperformance in SPGBs and initial equity weakness across European stocks, which however was promptly offset and at last check the Stoxx 600 was up 0.4% to 363, with US equity futures up nearly 1% after Friday's oversold drubbing. In other key news, the commodity slide continues with Brent Oil dropping to a fresh 11-year low as futures fell as much as 2.2% in London after a 2.8% drop last week.