Who could have seen this coming? Well apparently all but one economist (TD Securties Greene and Mulraine had a -5.0 est) as the -4.4 print is almost a 4 standard deviation miss from extrapolator's and hockey-stickers' dreams. Following December's drop and miss, the Dallas Fed Manufacturing index is now at its lowest since May 2013. All components dropped, apart from inventories as 11% of firms reported layoffs and wage pressures eased.
- 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)
This morning both the SNB stunner from two weeks ago, and the less than stunning ECB QE announcement from last Thursday are long forgotten, and the only topic on markets' minds is the startling surge of Syriza and its formation of a coalition government with another anti-bailout party - a development that many in Europe never expected could happen, and which has pushed Europe to the bring of the unexpected yet again. And while there is much speculation that this time Europe is much better positioned to "handle a Grexit", the reality is that European bank balance sheets are as bad if not worse than in 2014, 2013, 2012 or any other year for that matter, because none of ther €1+ trillion in NPLs have been addressed and the only thing that has happened is funding bank capital deficiencies with newly printed money. You know what they say about solvency and liquidity.
Our question is this: if indeed the shale boom is now turning to bust, and if indeed the vast majority of jobs created were thanks to the shale revolution (which is about to go in reverse), what happens to the primary source of high-paying jobs: the energy sector? Before you answer, take a look at the following chart, courtesy of the Dallas Fed.
"This is why Putin is Public Enemy Number 1. It’s because he’s blocking the US pivot to Asia, strengthening anti-Washington coalitions, sabotaging US foreign policy objectives in the Middle East, creating institutions that rival the IMF and World Bank, transacting massive energy deals with critical US allies, increasing membership in an integrated, single-market Eurasian Economic Union, and attacking the structural foundation upon which the entire US empire rests, the dollar." Up to now, of course, Russia, Iran and Venezuela have taken the biggest hit from low oil prices; but what the Obama administration should be worried about is the second-order effects that will eventually show up...
Goldman Sachs expects nonfarm payroll job growth of 230k in December, slightly below the consensus forecast of 240k. Labor market indicators continue to point to a strong pace of employment gains, but softened on balance in December. In particular, jobless claims rose modestly and the employment components of service sector business surveys weakened somewhat. With respect to wages, we expect a softer +0.1% gain in average hourly earnings following an unusually large gain in November. On balance, labor market indicators looked somewhat softer in December, but remain consistent with a solid trend rate of employment growth.
The investment climate is being shaped by four forces:
1. De-synchronized business cycle with the US ahead of the pack
2. The prospects of sovereign bond purchases by the ECB, amid political uncertainty sparked by Geece's snap election
3. The continued drop in energy prices is a stimuluative writ large but poses challenges for oil producers and the leveraged eco-system that has been built on the premise of high oil prices forever.
Less drilling will not only lead to a loss of jobs for oil workers, but the services that pop up around drilling sites – restaurants, bars, construction, and more – are feeling the slowdown as well. States like Texas, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Louisiana have seen their economies boom over the last few years as oil production surged. But the sector is now deflating, leaving gashes in employment rolls and state budgets. With such extensive dependence on oil for prosperity in these states, the pain will mount if oil prices stay low.
I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that we gold advocates have gone all in. We have made one argument for gold...
The American people are feeling really good right about now. For example, Gallup’s economic confidence index has hit the highest level that we have seen since the last recession. In addition, nearly half of all Americans believe that 2015 will be a better year than 2014 was, and only about 10 percent believe that it will be a worse year. And a lot of people are generally feeling quite good about the people that have been leading our nation. Unfortunately, when things seem to be going well common sense tends to go out the window. Sadly, what we are experiencing right now is so similar to what we witnessed in 2007 and early 2008. The stock market had been on a great run, people were flipping houses like crazy and most people were convinced that the party would never end. But then it did end – very painfully.
Who could have possibly anticipated that the one state that contributed the most high-paying jobs during the "recovery" on the back of the shale miracle, is facing recession (as JPM predicted)? Certainly not economists, who have correctly predicted exactly zero of the last 20 economic recessions, and whose lowest estimate for today's Dallas Fed manufacturing outlook survey was 5.0 (with 12.5 on the high side, and a 9.0 consensus mean). Moments ago we got the official number and it was a doozy, plunging from 10.5 to just 4.1, the lowest print since the Polar Vortex swept away economic activity across the US and when the Dallas Fed printed a tiny 0.3.The drop of 6.4 from the November print was also the largest slide in economic activity since October 2013.
- European Stocks Drop as Greece’s ASE Tumbles After Vote Results (BBG)
- AirAsia Stock Drops Most Since 2011 After Flight Vanishes (BBG)
- Libya's NOC says firefighters had managed to extinguish the blaze at three of 6 burning oil tanks (BBG)
- Bomber kills 11 Shi'ite pilgrims north of Baghdad (Reuters)
- Hillary Clinton Faces Uphill Fight for White, Rural Vote (WSJ)
- Yen’s Slump Seen Longest Since Gold Standard Ended (BBG)
- The 94% Plunge That Shows Abenomics Losing Global Investors (BBG)
- Sony's 'The Interview' makes $18 million in opening weekend (Reuters)
As noted earlier, following the failed vote Greek banks are cratering, with many entering a bear market as of the last price update, such as Eurobank Ergasias -23%, Piraeus Bank -21%, National Bank of Greece down 18%, Alpha Bank 17% lower. While in the past this would have been enough to send European shares limit down and peripheral bonds bidless, algos have forgotten their programmed kneejerk reaction since Greece has been off the front page for so long. As a result, Europe is down but not nearly where it would have been had today's vote taken place a couple of years ago. Then again, with the USDJPY far more important than what Greece may or may not do, all that will take for the Santa rally to resume, if only in the US, is for "someone" to buy a few yards of Dollar-Yen, push the pair to 121, and all shall be well once more.
Just two months after the OECD cut its global growth outlook, overnight the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development cut it again, taking down its US, Chinese, Japanese but mostly, Eurozone forecasts. In the report it said: "The Economic Outlook draws attention to a global economy stuck in low gear, with growth in trade and investment under-performing historic averages and diverging demand patterns across countries and regions, both in advanced and emerging economies. “We are far from being on the road to a healthy recovery. There is a growing risk of stagnation in the euro zone that could have impacts worldwide, while Japan has fallen into a technical recession,” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria said. “Furthermore, diverging monetary policies could lead to greater financial volatility for emerging economies, many of which have accumulated high levels of debt.” And sure enough, the OECD's prescription: more Eurozone QE. As a result, futures in the US are in fresh all time high territory ignoring any potential spillover from last night's Ferguson protests, just 30 points from Goldman's latest 2015 S&P target, Stoxx is up 0.5%, while bond yields are lower as frontrunning of central bank bond purchases resumes. Oil is a fraction higher due to a note suggesting the Saudi's are preparing for a bigger supply cut than expected, although as the note says "it is unclear if the cut sticks."
Of the 15 sub-indices under the Dallas Fed Manufacturing survey, only 4 improved in November with New orders tumbling, and wages, number of employees, and average workweek all sliding notably. So, with that in mind, thanks to a surge in 'hope'-based business activity outlook 6 months forward (from 13.3 to 18.3), the Dallas Fed printed 10.5 (against expectations of 9.0) and unchanged from October's 10.5. The number of employees shrank to its lowest in 6 months.