If you thought Greek GDP was an impressive miracle of modern monetary policy manipulation... take a look at the 'gap' between European revenues and earnings...
Another chart to ignore... because - we are sure - it's different this time.
Economic forecasting is a dangerous job. As Mark Twain put it in his novel Pudd’nhead Wilson, “October. This is one of the peculiarly dangerous months to speculate in stocks. The others are July, January, September, April, November, May, March, June, December, August, and February.” Every wrong prediction could doom a career, or a bank account. Prudence and humility are the only sound tools for building one’s reputation. The talking heads on CNBC appear to know neither. They pledge allegiance to the flag of the tinkering bureaucracy. It explains the loss of ratings, and loss of confidence in the ability of “experts” to see what’s coming down the tracks. Refusing to learn from mistakes will lead to future blunders. Pundits that don’t heed this message are doomed to fail.
Stay young, my friend...
Yesterday higher oil prices were the catalyst for higher stock prices. Today lower prices - after OPEC slashed growth expectations - were "unequivocally" positive for Americans and sent Trannies soaring. Of course, it was Draghi's promise that there's more to come that sustained USDJPY's levitation and thus stocks. Treasury yields slid 2-4bps higher on the day as the USDollar surged to +1.2% on the week after Draghi's chatter slammed EURUSD below 1.24. Gold and silver were flat (despite USD strength) as oil prices dipped to $78. HY credit diverged notably after EU closed as managers appeared to protect bond positions into the jobs data. VIX pumped then dumped and cracked back to a 13 handle as stocks closed at record highs (right before the uncertainty of tomorrow's NFP).
Since Jim Bullard unleashed his "we're gonna need a bigger QE" speech as the Dow-Data-Dependent Federal Reserve saw a 1000-point drop as the trigger for moar intervention, the world has changed. In fact, the exuberance is so effusive that, according to AAII, the percentage of Bullish advisors surged by the most on record... and yet we keep being told how negative everyone is?
"It doesn't make me mopey"
US Services dropped modestly from the 58.9 in September to a final print at 57.1 in October - the lowest since April. This should be no surprise as for the last 5 years, H2 has seen a notable decline in the soft-survey-based data. Despite the plunge, employment remained solid even as the business outlook neared 2-year lows. As Markit notes, the survey "warns of a slowdown as move towards the end of the year," which is odd because the world and his pet rabbit said US was decoupling. For a change ISM Services actually agreed with Markit and printed 57.1, missing by the most since Feb 2014 with New Orders and Prices Paid down.
Having destroyed any remnants of the "it's earnings that matter" meme, we thought the following chart would clarify just how bad the outlook for Q4 EPS is. As Factset notes, "the decline in the bottom-up EPS estimate recorded during the course of the first month (October) of the fourth quarter was higher than the 1-year, 5-year, and 10-year averages." That is not a 'good' thing..
"We are all wrong so often that it amazes me that we can have any conviction at all over the direction of things to come. But we must." - Cramer
"Seek not the favor of the multitude; it is seldom got by honest and lawful means. But seek the testimony of few; and number not voices, but weigh them." - Immanuel Kant
"Steady as she goes" was expected... having kept the "considerable time" dream alive last month, the FOMC ended QE3 on schedule but remained 'data-dependent' on reviving it... (even as Kocherlakota dissented)
- *FED ENDS THIRD ROUND OF QUANTITATIVE EASING AS PLANNED
- *FED SEES `SOLID JOB GAINS' WITH LOWER UNEMPLOYMENT
- *FED REPEATS RATES TO STAY LOW FOR `CONSIDERABLE TIME'
And so now the "flow" has stopped; given that "bond buying" did not work, we are reminded of Alan Greenspan's warning that "I don’t think it’s possible" for the Fed to end its easy-money policies in a trouble-free manner. Full redline below.
Just 7 short weeks ago, no lesser guru of gains than CNBC's Jim Cramer proclaimed for all retail-stock-investing moms-and-pops that "through the end of the year, I am pegging Twitter, GoPro, Tesla and Netflix as the four stocks that investors will find irresistible." Things are not going well...
Remember when the Fed (and their Liesman-esque lackies) tried to convince the world that it was all about the 'stock' - and not the 'flow' - of Federal Reserve Assets that kept the world afloat on easy monetary policy (despite even Bullard admitting that was not the case after Goldman exposed the ugly truth). Having first explained to the world that it's all about the flow over 2 years ago, it appears that, as every equity asset manager knows deep down (but is loathed to admit for fear of losing AUM), of course "tapering is tightening" - as the following chart shows, equity markets are waking up abruptly to that reality. So no wonder Bullard is now calling for moar QE - he knows it's all there is to fill the gap between economic reality and market fiction.
As market prognosticators search for something to pin the recent weakness on (Ebola panic, macro data weakness, global growth scare, M&A boom over, fund liquidations, oil crash.. and so on), there is one much larger driver of hysteria that is missing from this list... The Moon and the madness of crowds.
The last time the stock market reached a fevered peak and began to wobble unexpectedly was August 2007. Markets were most definitely not in the classic “price discovery” business. Instead, the stock market had discovered the “goldilocks economy." But what is profoundly different this time is that the Fed is out of dry powder. Its can’t slash the discount rate as Bernanke did in August 2007 or continuously reduce it federal funds target on a trip from 6% all the way down to zero. Nor can it resort to massive balance sheet expansion. That card has been played and a replay would only spook the market even more. So this time is different. The gamblers are scampering around the casino fixing to buy the dip as soon as white smoke wafts from the Eccles Building. But none is coming. For the first time in 25- years, the Wall Street gamblers are home alone.