U.S. and U.K. GDP slowed very sharply in first quarter of 2015. Latest data confirms the rapid slowdown despite stock markets booming in the UK, U.S. and globally. This highlights the major disconnect between the real economy and a financial sector intoxified by easy money.
Sentiment in general remains poor and all the focus is on gold's weakness in dollar terms, despite gold's strong gains in euro terms in 2014 and so far in 2015. Poor sentiment is of course bullish from a contrarian perspective and suggests all the froth has been washed out of the gold market.
A “soft landing” is unlikely.
"...The negative divergence of the markets from economic strength and momentum are simply warning signs and do not currently suggest becoming grossly underweight equity exposure. However, warning signs exist for a reason, and much like Wyle E. Coyote chasing the Roadrunner, not paying attention to the signs has tended to have rather severe consequences."
Recent comments from FOMC participants on the forward guidance and the appropriate timing of the first hike of the fed funds rate suggest, Goldman warns, a greater clustering of FOMC participants' views around a mid-2015 'liftoff' in rates. Similarly, private sector forecasts for the first hike are becoming more centered on mid-2015 rather than August to September.
Another morning melt up after a less than impressive session in China which saw the SHCOMP drop again reversing the furious gains in the past few days driven by hopes of more PBOC easing (despite China's repeated warning not to expect much). A flurry of market topping activity overnight once again, with Candy Crush maker King Digital pricing at $22.50 or the projected midpoint of its price range, and with FaceBook using more of its epically overvalued stock as currency to purchase yet another company, this time virtual reality firm Oculus VR for $2 billion. Perhaps an appropriate purchase considering the entire economy is pushed higher on pro-forma, "virtual" output, and the Fed's capital markets are something straight out of the matrix. Despite today's pre-open ramp, which will be the 4th in a row, one wonders if biotechs will finally break the downward tractor beam they have been latched on to as the bubble has shown signs of cracking, or will the mad momo crowd come back with a vengeance - this too will be answered shortly.
It's that time again, when a largely random, statistically-sampled, weather-impacted, seasonally-adjusted, and finally goalseeked number, sets the mood in the market for the next month: we are talking of course about the "most important ever" once again non-farm payroll print, and to a lesser extent the unemployment rate which even the Fed has admitted is meaningless in a time when the participation rate is crashing (for the "philosophy" of why it is all the context that matters in reading the jobs report, see here). Adding to the confusion, or hilarity, or both, is that while everyone knows it snowed in December and January, Goldman now warns that... it may have been too hot! To wit: "We expect a weather-related boost to January payroll job growth because weather during the survey week itself - which we find is most relevant to a given month's payroll number - was unusually mild." In other words, if the number is abnormally good - don't assume more tapering, just blame it on the warm weather!
With the wild world of central bankers full of double-speak, counter-factuals and well-chosen anecdotes, statements of questionable sanity are not difficult to find. However, Dennis Lockhart, who has already done his optimistic economic damage to stocks this morning just outdid himself. Speaking in his home town, the Atlanta Fed President stated confidently in the Q&A after his speech:
“One of the stupidest things a central banker could do is comment on the stock market."
The stock market is not "a bubble in any way"
"Stupid" indeed, Mr Lockhart...
It was all looking so good. NASDAQ was green for the year (so were Trannies), stocks in general were rising and everyone on TV could proclaim how well the 'market' was handling the taper. Then Dennis Lockhart spoke...
*LOCKHART SEES `GROWING CONFIDENCE' IN 2014 OUTLOOK, U.S. ECONOMY ON `MORE SOLID' FOOTING
*LOCKHART BACKS $10 BLN TAPER AS CONFIDENCE IN 2014 GROWS
That's great news right? Wrong? Stocks didn't like it... and NASDAQ rapidly gave up its gains... Fun-durr-mentals remain in control eh? It shouldn't be a big surprise given what Goldman Sachs warned about over the weekend!
In “Why the Fed Won’t Taper in December,” we pretended to write the first paragraph of the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) statement for next week’s meeting. By thinking about the likely mix of upgrades and downgrades to its assessment of the economy, which is the crux of that paragraph, we argued that we can find clues to policy decisions. Our results tell us to expect a deferral of the committee’s tentative plans to taper its securities purchase program. You may suggest, though, that economic data doesn’t always tell you what the FOMC will do. Because we agree, we’ve also taken a different approach: listening to Fedspeak and working through the math on the committee’s consensus view. This, too, leads us to think there won’t be a taper this month. Here’s our math, starting with the biggest QE supporters and ending with Chairman Bernanke...
Just as many expect that the #1 buyer of Treasuries (the Fed) will soon begin paring back its purchases, the top foreign holder (China) may cease buying, thereby opening a second front in the taper campaign. Little thought seems to be given to how the economy would react to 5% yields on 10 year Treasuries (a modest number in historical standards). The herd assumes that our stronger economy could handle such levels. That is why when it comes to tapering, the Fed is all bark and no bite. But the market understands none of this. This is not unusual in market history. When the spell is finally broken and markets wake up to reality, we will scratch our heads and wonder how we could ever have been so misguided.
It was all going according to plan. POMO lifted the S&P 500 instantly 7 points at 1015ET back to unchanged and the mainstream media could discuss the fact that stocks are "off the lows." Then (admittedly non-voting member) uber-dove Dennis Lockhart hit the wires with some oddly hawkish commentary: *LOCKHART SAYS TAPERING 'COULD VERY WELL TAKE PLACE' NEXT MONTH
*LOCKHART SAYS QE NOT MEANT TO BE 'PERMANENT FIXTURE' OF POLICY
Which sent stocks to the lows of the day. We are sure, of course, that these remarks will be walked back by the next Fed speaker but for now, it is clear the market remains entirely headline (and Fed) driven.
South Africa supplies almost 60% of the world's platinum (including secondary supply) and 30% of the world's palladium (including secondary supply).
According to Johnson Matthey, platinum production fell almost 16% in 2012 while palladium production declined 10% last year alone.
With prices well below their recent highs, looming production cuts will leave markets tight supporting prices and likely leading to higher prices.
A record deficit in platinum supplies is set to push prices higher and demand is boosted by the new exchange traded fund (ETF).
The amusing news overnight was that following slightly better than expected Q2 GDP data out of Germany (0.7% vs 0.6% expected and up from 0.0%) and France (0.5% vs 0.2% expected and up from -0.2%), driven by consumer spending and industrial output, although investment dropped again, which meant that the Eurozone which posted a 0.3% growth in the quarter has "emerged" from its double dip recession. The most amusing thing is that on an annualized basis both Germany and France grew faster than the US in Q2. And they didn't even need to add iTunes song sales and underfunded liabilities to their GDP calculation - truly a miracle! Or perhaps to grow faster the US just needs higher taxes after all? Of course, with the all important loan creation to the private sector still at a record low, and with the ECB not injecting unsterilized credit, the European depression continues and this is merely an exercise in optics and an attempt to boost consumer confidence.
- Libor Settlements Said to Ease CFTC’s Path in Rate-Swaps Probe (BBG)
- Manhattan Homes Under $3 Million Never Harder to Buy (BBG)
- Just two years late: Abe Pledges Government Help to Stem Fukushima Water Leaks (BBG)
- Chesapeake drops energy leases in fracking-shy New York (Reuters)
- Hedge Fund Magnetar Won't Face Charges Tied to Mortgages (WSJ)
- U.S. envoy leaves Cairo after talks declared over (Reuters)
- Credit-Crisis Oracle Rajan to Head India’s Central Bank (BBG)
- Bank of England Changes Policy Tack (WSJ)