The attached Barron’s article appeared in December 2007 as an outlook for the year ahead, and Wall Street strategists were waxing bullish. Notwithstanding the advanced state of disarray in the housing and mortgage markets, soaring global oil prices and a domestic economic expansion cycle that was faltering and getting long in the tooth, Wall Street strategists were still hitting the “buy” key. In fact, the Great Recession had already started but they didn’t have a clue: "Against this troubling backdrop, it’s no wonder investors are worried that the bull market might end in 2008. But Wall Street’s top equity strategists are quick to dismiss such fears."
As the following just released chart from Goldman shows that while non-GAAP EPS in the US have stabilized (and Japan is clearly the upside suprise even as its economy is once again teetering on the edge of recession), and Asia ex Japan is slowly rolling over once more, it is Europe that is the big shocker: as of July, European 2014 EPS forecasts are now the lowest they have been for the entire year, and are down 8% from where they were at the beginning of the year!
Amazon is Exhibit A of how the Fed’s free money for Wall Street and corporate mastodons is destructive to the rest of the economy.
JPM Earnings Slide 8% On Drop In Trading Volume, Mortgage Production Offset By $1.5 Billion Stock BuybackSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/15/2014 07:40 -0400
While JPM stock is trading modestly higher in the pre-market following its earnings report which beat expectations on the top and the bottom line, it doesn't hide a troubling trend seen across all the banks that have reported so far, one we forecast would take place in an environment of plunging trading volumes and near-record low mortgage production: slumping earnings. J.P. Morgan Chase JPM +0.88% & Co. said second-quarter earnings sank 7.9% as the bank continued to grapple with weak trading revenue. Indeed, as WSJ summarized, "J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. said second-quarter earnings sank 7.9% as the bank continued to grapple with weak trading revenue."
The central banks of the world are massively and insouciantly pursuing financial instability. That’s the inherent result of the 68 straight months of zero money market rates that have been forced into the global financial system by the Fed and its confederates at the BOJ, ECB and BOE. ZIRP fuels endless carry trades and the harvesting of every manner of profit spread between negligible “funding” costs and positive yields and returns on a wide spectrum of risk assets. Stated differently, ZIRP systematically dismantles the market’s natural stability mechanisms.
This week was interesting to say the least and it is ending with a bang. We are covering a number of brief subjects this week. I hope you enjoy them.
Just when you thought that nothing could be worse than bubble blindness of Greenspan and Bernanke - along comes the Yellen doctrine of “resilience”. Its dangerous Keynesian blather, and far worse than Greenspan’s feigned agnosticism which held that the Fed does not have the capacity to recognize financial bubbles in the making and should therefore mop them up after they burst. The Maestro never did say exactly what caused the massive and destructive dot-com and housing bubbles which occurred on his watch - except that Chinese factory girls stacked 12-to-a-dorm-room apparently saved way too much RMB. By contrast, Yellen’s primitive Keynesian mind knows exactly what causes financial bubbles. She has now militantly asserted that bubbles are entirely an irrational impulse in the private market and that the price of money and debt has absolutely nothing to do with financial stability.
Current forward S&P 500 P/E: 15.6x
Forward S&P 500 P/E on October 9, 2007: 15.2x
Has Skynet become self-aware? It seems the 'robots' that run the US equity markets (HFT/algo trading dominates what little volume there is left) have decided to cut out the middle man in the market as Associated Press reports this morning that it will employ the story-writing software by start-up Automated Insights to automate the production of U.S. corporate earnings stories. To be frank, given the copy/paste nature of most mainstream media 'analysis' of earnings, we thought this had already occurred but AP notes, "We are going to use our brains and time in more enterprising ways during earnings season." Does that mean that anyone but Zero Hedge will be discussing cashflows or GAAP earnings? It seems the circle is complete, machines write the stories that machines trade on; why not just do everything in binary - it's not like humans have a chance to react anyway before the robots.
Anyone curious how real, GAAP EPS performed in the just completed quarter, should look at the chart below. It shows that GAAP EPS (helped by a record amount of corporate buybacks) in the first quarter of 2014 actually dropped 2.2% from Q1 2013 even as Non-GAAP suggested a nearly 5% increase!
- Obama Administration Widens Export Potential for U.S. Oil (BBG)
- WTI Pares Gains as U.S. Export Ruling Seen Limited (BBG)
- Senator Cochran defeats Tea Party rival in Mississippi Republican runoff (Reuters)
- Militants attack Iraq air base, U.S. assessment teams deploy (Reuters)
- Maliki rules out national emergency govt (AFP)
- Koch to Start EU Power Trading as It Plans LNG Expansion (BBG)
- Obama Said to Ready Sanctions on Russian Industries (BBG)
- Ghana Sends Plane With $3 Million to Calm World Cup Team (BBG)
- Ghana’s First Hedge Fund Planned by Ex-Exchange Regulator (BBG)
- SEC Is Gearing Up to Focus on Ratings Firms (WSJ)
- Abe Declares Deflation End as Growth Plan Confronts Skeptics (BBG)
The only thing that can be said about Janet Yellen’s simple-minded paint-by-the-numbers performance yesterday is that the Keynesian apotheosis is complete. American capitalism and all political life, too, is now ruled by a 12-member monetary politburo, which is essentially accountable to no one except its own misbegotten doctrine that prosperity flows from the end of a printing press.
In a day and age in which corporations rule the world, the brutal Al-Qaeda spin off known as ISIS is learning from the best, and as part of its credentialising and image-building has done something only major corporations do at the end of every year: it has issued annual reports for the past 2 years (unaudited). That's right: as the FT reported earlier, "Since 2012 the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, (known as Isis) has issued annual reports, outlining in numerical and geographical detail its operations – the number of bombings, assassinations, checkpoints, suicide missions, cities taken over and even “apostates” converted to the Isis cause."