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US earnings drop materially less than a week after the ECB fires its gun & competing nations only start to react - just like the reaction at the beginning of the Great Depression! Rememberr, this isn' even a shootout yet. Wait until next quarter when the US multinatonals report. Of course, by then it'll be ALL OUT WAR!

Frontrunning: January 28

  • Fed seen remaining patient with rate guidance amid global turmoil (Reuters)
  • National Weather Service apologizes for blizzard forecast miss (CBS)
  • Greek PM Tsipras pushes on with radical change, markets tumble (Reuters)
  • Obama Drops Plan to Raise Taxes on ‘529’ College Savings Accounts (WSJ)
  • Hard Choices on Easy Money Lie Ahead for Fed Chief (Hilsenrath)
  • Debt That Once Boosted Its Cities Now Burdens China (WSJ)
  • Skymark Said to File for Bankruptcy After Airbus Deal Flops (BBG)
  • Heavy Fighting Drains Ukraine Government’s Options and Finances (WSJ)

Market Wrap: All Eyes On Yellen Who Better Not Disappoint

While all the algos are programmed and set to scan today's FOMC statement for whether both "patient" and "considerable time" are still there (as it did last time when it supposedly sent a pseudo-hawkish message while telling Virtu and Getco to buy, buy, buy), the market is torn between the trends observed in recent days: on one hand finally succumbing to the adverse impact of USD strength, which overnight also saw the Singapore Dollar admit defeat in the ongoing currency wars, is crushing both revenues and EPS, as well as outlooks, for the bulk of US companies, even as millennials - long since given up on buying a house - allocate their meager savings to the annual incarnation of Apple's flagship product as seen in yesterday's record, blowout numbers by AAPL which is up 8% in the premarket and sending Nasdaq futures soaring compared to the stagnant DJIA or S&P. And then there is Europe where the mood is decidedly sour this morning, with Greece imploding on fears Tsipras really means business and concerns the Greek "virus" may spread to other peripheral nations whose bonds have also seen a lack of a bond bid this morning.

Market Wrap: Futures Tumble On Spike Of "Strong Dollar" Earnings Disappointments And Profit Warnings

Following yesterday's earnings disappointments, most notably from Microsoft which is down 7% this morning following the usual after-the-fact downgrades from JPM, Citi and Nomura, futures were already on a the back foot heading into this morning - no doubt impacted by the deja vu ridiculous move in the EURCHF noted earlier - when the latest batch of earnings just hit, of which Dow component Procter and Gamble stood out and which missed the top and bottom line.  But the punchline, and in direct refutation of what Jack Lew said previously about a strong dollar being good for the US economy, was this:"The outlook for the year will remain challenging. Foreign exchange will reduce fiscal 2015 sales by 5% and net earnings by 12%, or at least $1.4 billion after tax." In other words, P&G will "offset" the surge in the USD with more layoffs. So when Jack Lew said "good" he really meant "bad."

Frontrunning: January 26

  • Alexis Tsipras: the Syriza leader about to take charge in Greece (Guardian)
  • Tsipras to form anti-bailout Greek government after big victory (Reuters)
  • Tsipras Forges Anti-Austerity Coalition in EU Challenge (BBG)
  • East Coast braces, flights canceled as 'historic' blizzard bears down (Reuters)
  • Rebels press Ukraine offensive, Obama promises steps against Russian-backed 'aggression (Reuters)
  • Syriza Victory Brings Hope for Immigrants of EU Access (BBG)
  • For Saudis, Falling Demand for Oil Is the Biggest Concern (BBG)
  • Oil prices fall on market relief over Saudi policy (Reuters)

Frontrunning: January 23

  • Saudi Arabia’s New King Probably Will Not Change Current Oil Policy (BBG)
  • Saudi King’s Death Clouds Already Tense Relationship With U.S. (WSJ)
  • Oil Pares Gains as New Saudi King Says Policies Stable (BBG)
  • Kuroda Says BOJ to Mull Fresh Options in Case of More Easing (BBG)
  • U.S. pulls more staff from Yemen embassy amid deepening crisis (Reuters)
  • Putin Said to Shrink Inner Circle as Hawks Beat Billionaires (BBG)
  • A Few Savvy Investors Had Swiss Central Bank Figured Out (WSJ)

The Ghost In The Machine, Part 1

Everyone who lost money on the SNB’s decision to reverse course on their three and a half year policy to cap the exchange rate between the CHF and the Euro made a category error. Simply put, the rules always change as the Golden Age of the Central Banker begins to fade. The SNB decision was a wake-up call, whether or not you were directly impacted, to re-examine portfolios and investment behavior for category errors. We all have them. It’s only human. The question, as always, is whether we’re prepared to do anything about it.

A New Theory Of Energy & The Economy, Part 1

How does the economy really work? In our view, both energy and debt play an extremely important role in an economic system. Once energy supply and other aspects of the economy start hitting diminishing returns, there is a serious chance that a debt implosion will bring the whole system down. In this first piece of this story, we explain how the economy is tied to energy, and how the leveraging impact of cheap energy creates economic growth.

Why Our Central Planners Are Breeding Failure

Success, we’re constantly told, breeds success. And success breeds stability. The way to avoid failure is to copy successful people and strategies. The way to continue succeeding is to do more of what has been successful. This line of thinking is so intuitively compelling that we wonder what other basis for success can there be other than 'success'? As counter-intuitive as it may sound, success rather reliably leads to failure and destabilization. Instead, it’s the close study of failure and the role of luck that leads to success. In the macro-economic arena, we think it highly likely that the monetary and fiscal policies of the past six years that are conventionally viewed as successful will lead to spectacular political and financial failures in 2015 and 2016. How can success breed failure? It turns out there are a number of dynamics at work.

The Wearable Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Google Pulls Glass

For anyone who has actually worn Google Glass, the news today will not be a surprise, but as The Wall Street Journal reports, Google will stop selling the initial version of Glass to individuals after January 19th and is moving it from the Google X research lab to be a stand-alone unit reporting to Tony Fadell, a former Apple executive who heads Nest Labs. Analysts remain confident it will be a cajillion dollar business at some point in the future (along with Apple Watch).

Is Hugh Hendry A Greater Fool?

The current premise is that global equities markets will rise regardless of economic fundamentals. Money must flow into equities [perceived as the only asset class capable of producing “acceptable” returns] because the alternatives offer virtually no return…with interest rates pinned near zero in most western economies. Just buy any equity [akin to dart throwing] and a “greater fool than you” will buy after your purchase, at a higher price, ad infinitum... thus ever increasing the asset’s value This is such an obviously flawed argument on so many levels... albeit, like almost any strategy, is surprisingly effective from time to time.

Greater Fool Theory, Cognitive Dissonance, & Financial Instability

"I am concerned that a sizable equity market correction looms. In order to justify general equity market over-weights, either risk premiums needs to fall further, or the economy and financial markets need to have reached a level of ‘escape velocity’ powerful enough to push them forward, even in the face of Fed rate hikes. I find such a ‘soft landing’ scenario improbable at best."