"...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."
If there is one chart that most clearly captures the unsustainable US home price appreciation bubble, it is the following which was released overnight from RealtyTrac: home price appreciation nationwide has outpaced wage growth by a 13:1 ratio!
The top 5% of San Francisco households (the highest 'high income' city in a recent study on income inequality) earns over 47 times the income of the bottom 20% in Detroit (the lowest 'low income' city). As WSJ reports, a recent Brookings Institution study finds Atlanta, GA has the widest gap between rich and poor in the nation (followed by San Francisco, Boston, and Miami) and Virginia Beach, CA has the least income inequality. As Brookings concludes, these findings confirm that income inequality remains a salient issue in many big cities today.
The percentage of homeowners underwater in the US was flat from Q3 to Q4 which doesn’t sound all that terrible until you consider that this figure had fallen for 10 consecutive quarters. Things look particularly bad in Florida and the midwest where more than 25% of borrowers are sitting in a negative equity position. A new report from Zillow says negative equity will become a permanent fixture in the housing market.
- Fed May Not Hit Neutral Until 10th Anniversary of Lehman Collapse (BBG)... make that never
- Global stocks and bonds roar Fed approval, dollar fights back (Reuters)
- EU to tell Greece time, patience running out (Reuters)
- U.S. likely to delay planned closure of two Afghanistan bases (Reuters)
- Norway Signals Reduction After Unexpectedly Holding Rate (BBG)
- Oil Falls to $55 as Kuwait Comments Refocus on Oversupply (Reuters)
- Tsipras Heads to Summit as Merkel Tries to Defuse Greek Crisis (BBG)
- Yahoo Pulls the Plug on China Operations (WSJ)
It is becoming just a little too much of a daily occurrence but instead of a rail freight car crashing, today we see a massive explosion and fire erupt from an oil tanker crash in Detroit... As gas prices remain low, the shift from rail to road will likely increase the frequency of these scenes....
A Black Swan Lands In Southern Austria: The Ripple Effects Of "Mini-Greece Going Off In The Heartland Of Europe"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/08/2015 23:48 -0400
Austria’s decision to wind down Heta Asset Resolution AG sent ripples through the financial system, causing credit rating downgrades in Austria and bank losses in Germany: "It’s a mini-Greece going off in the heartlands of Europe." Here are some of the consequences, and delightful ironies, of a completely unexpected black swan landing in the south of Austria.
“They were people with great dignity,” Ivo Costamagna said of his neighbors who committed suicide in 2013. Romeo Dionisi, 62, and Anna Maria Sopranzi, 68, hanged themselves after Ms. Sopranzi’s pension evaporated. “Romeo just wanted a job.” But no jobs were available in the dismal Italian economy.
In what may be another case of research confirming common sense, a new study finds, in all four regions of the world studied, “unemployment was related to an increased relative risk of suicide by 20-30%." While the tragic consequences of ZIRP, bailouts, and multiple QEs have so far been ignored, a tsunami of suicides are coming as the under-saved American baby boom generation faces the stark reality of having to work until they die to survive.
- Goldman Employees Reaped $2 Billion From 2008 Options Last Year (BBG)
- On Bush turf, Obama blames immigration woes on Republicans (Reuters)
- Tougher Internet rules to hit cable, telecoms companies (Reuters)
- Russia's Gazprom says can exempt rebel-held areas from Ukraine gas contract (Reuters)
- Allianz Says Pimco Seeing ‘Substantially’ Lower Outflows (BBG)
- Merkel Faces Stepped-Up Dissent on Greek Bailout in Party (BBG)
- SEC Probes Companies’ Treatment of Whistleblowers (WSJ)
- 2-Year Trek From Turf to Table Delays Cheaper U.S. Beef (BBG)
- Turkish jets violate Greek air space (Kathimerini)
The post-1945 European settlement had many successes. But it is now crumbling. It needs drastic modification. That requires statesmen of the calibre of the men of 1945. It is time for politicians who wish to earn a place in history and upgrade themselves to statesmanhood to step up to the challenge.
- Greece requests euro zone loan extension, offers big concessions (Reuters)
- Germany Rejects Loan Request Saying Greece Must Meet Conditions (BBG)
- Did the Fed Just Enter the Currency Wars (BBG)
- French consumer prices fall for first time since 2009 (Reuters)
- Oil falls sharply after U.S. crude inventories rise (Reuters)
- High-Speed Firm Virtu Revives IPO Plans (WSJ)
- Fed Tiptoes Into Rate-Hike Debate (Hilsenrath)
- Rajoy’s Nemesis Is Back: Anti-Graft Editor Targets Vote (BBG)
"Our downgrade is about more than execution risk; we note: (1) The profound drop in fuel prices harms the competitiveness relative to internal combustion engine vehicles of TSLA’s planned Model 3 mass-market car, the potential for which we believe accounts for the majority of today’s equity value; and (2) Competition is mounting – automakers at the recent Detroit Auto Show debuted a number of electrified vehicles, some of which appear directly aimed at the Tesla Model S (e.g., Mercedes C-Class Plug-in Hybrid), the X (e.g., Audi Q7 e-Tron Plug-in Diesel Hybrid), and the 3 (e.g., Chevrolet Bolt) – see takeaways from our walking tour of the show. We reduce our estimates on flow-through of 4Q’s softer sales and margin trends, and guidance for higher operating costs: 1Q15 goes to -$0.31 from +$0.93 and FY15 to $1.89 from $4.12. Our December 2015 price targetd-declines to $175 from $180." -JPM
The dominoes are beginning to fall. The initial spark in 2008 has triggered a series of unyielding responses by those in power, but further emergencies and unintended consequences juxtapose, connect and accelerate a chain reaction that will become uncontainable once a tipping point is reached. The fabric of society is tearing at points of extreme vulnerability, with depression, violence and war on the foreseeable horizon. Mr. President, the shadow of crisis has not passed. The looming shadow of crisis grows ever larger and darker by the day as this Crisis enters the most dangerous phase, where the existing social order will be swept away in a torrent of carnage and ferocious struggle. We are not a chosen people. We are not immune from dire outcomes.
The US, like western Europe, is in the midst of a massive failure of its brand of capitalism. There are no free markets, no price discovery, there are asset bubbles being blown with money that belongs to our grandchildren as people are thrown into despair, while others attain unparalleled riches, and the whole grossly distorted movie is fed to everyone by a well-oiled spin machine. Yes, 40 million Americans are on food stamps, 100 million are not even officially in the labor force, and perhaps as much as most Americans are receiving some sort of government assistance, but that doesn’t make it socialism. It makes it a failed capitalist system. Socialism is supposed to be about a society that cares, and that’s not what those US government handouts are about. They’re about keeping people quiet in a failed system.
"Prospects For A Home Run In 2015 Aren’t Good" - November Case-Shiller Confirms Ongoing Housing Market SlowdownSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/27/2015 10:40 -0400
In a day of furious disappointments, the Case-Shiller housing report, albeit looking at the ancient economic picture as of November, confirmed what most had known: that the growth in housing prices slowed down yet again on not only a Year over Year basis, which rose just 4.31%, the lowest annual increase since October 2012 but also dropped by -0.22% decline on a monthly basis, which may not sound like much, but was the worst monthly drop since February 2012!