Housing Starts

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Stellar Econ Data This Week

The econ data this week signal the US Economy is in a bull market (not the same as the Fed -roided stock and commodity markets), now let`s hope we can keep inflation from spoiling the party! 

Futures Flat With All Headline-Scanning Algo Eyes On Today's FOMC Minutes

While everyone's (algorithmic) attention will be focused on today's minutes from the July 29-30 FOMC meeting for views on remaining slack in U.S. economy following recent changes in the labor market (especially a particularly solid JOLTS report which indicates that at least on the openings front, there is no more) and any signal of policy change by the Fed ahead of Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech in Jackson Hole on Aug. 22, a curious thing happened overnight when a few hours ago the BoE's own minutes show the first vote split since 2011, as Weale and McCafferty argue for a 0.75% bank rate. Then again, if the Russians are finally bailing on London real estate, the inflationary pressures at the top of UK housing may finally be easing. In any event, every FOMC "minute" will be overanalyzed for hints of what Yellen's speech on Friday morning will say, even if stocks just shy of all time highs know quite well she won't dare say anything to tip the boat despite her warnings of a biotech and social network bubble.

Housing Permits, Starts Surge Driven By Renewed Rental Housing Scramble

After June's very disappointing housing starts and permits numbers, which plunged to 893K and 963K respectively well below consensus expectations, it was time for the Department of HUD to show how it's done, and moments ago the July housing starts and permits data literally blew away Wall Street expectations, as Starts soared from an upward revised 945K to 1093K, the highest print since November 2013, while permits surged from an also upward revised 973K to 1052K, smashing expectations of 1000K and the biggest beat since October. Why? Multi-family housing is back with a vengeance with "rental" permits and starts soaring by 24% and 33% respecitvely in the month of July.

Frontrunning: August 19

  • Just how many rats are there? Steven Cohen's Firm Loses Another Top Executive (WSJ)
  • Iceland Sees a Potential Volcanic Eruption, and Airlines Cower (Bloomberg)
  • Iraqi forces battle to drive jihadists from Saddam's home town (Reuters)
  • Israel, Palestinians Agree to Extend Gaza Truce for 24 Hours (BBG)
  • Pimco now buying junk (BusinessWeek)
  • Pakistan arrests 147 in Punjab towns as protests in capital continue (Reuters)
  • Ex-Rabobank Employee Pleads Guilty in Libor-Rigging Probe (BBG)
  • Ebola Orphans Targeted by Aid Groups as Newest Victims (BBG)
  • Two California youths accused of plotting high school shooting spree (Reuters)
  • Only Rich Know Wage Gains With No Raises for U.S Workers (BBG)

Futures Levitate Because Any Re-escalation Is Simply Pent Up De-escalation

A quick reminder of how geopolitics governs markets: on Friday, the market plunged 0.005% over fears Ukraine and Russia may be about to go at it all out after a fake report Ukraine shelled a Russian military convoy. On Monday, the same "market" soared just under 1% as the news that had caused the "crash" was refuted. That has been the dominant rinse, repeat theme for the past month and will continue to be well after Yellen's Friday speech at Jackson Hole (although one does wonder why she is not speaking on Wednesday when the symposium begins). Not surprisingly, with only modest re-escalation news overnight (that Russia is preparing further retaliatory sanctions against the West), which is simply "pent up de-escalation" in the eyes of Keynesian algos, futures are again up a solid 0.2% and rising, and the way the rampy USDJPY is being manipulated before its pre-market blast off, we may well see the S&P hit 1980, if not a new all time high before 9:30am, let alone during today's cash session. In any event, whatever you do, don't you dare suggest that algos should care one bit about Ferguson and its implications for US society.

All Eyes On Jackson Hole: Key Events In The Coming Week

The main event of the week will be Yellen's long awaited speech at the Jackson Hole 3-day symposium taking place August 21-23. The theme of this year's symposium is entitled "Re-Evaluating Labour Market Dynamics" and Yellen is expected to deliver her keynote address on Friday morning US time. Consensus is that she will likely highlight that the alternative measures of labour market slack in evaluating the ongoing significant under-utilisation of labour resources (eg, duration of employment, quit rate in JOLTS data) have yet to normalise relative to 2002-2007 levels. Any sound bite that touches on the debate of cyclical versus structural drivers of labour force participation will also be closely followed. Unlike some of the previous Jackson Hole symposiums, this is probably not one that will serve as a precursor of any monetary policy changes but the tone of Yellen's speech may still have a market impact and set the mood for busier times ahead in September.

FOMC Preview: Dashboards, Dissent, & "Degree-Of-Accommodation" Differences

"More of the same," should summarize today's FOMC statement. There will be no press conference or refresh of the 'dot plot' economic projections. The Fed is expected to continue to taper by $10 billion with confirmation that the "growth meme" is playing out just as they projected (especially after today's GDP print). Goldman believes the focus will be on the jobs 'dashboard' and recent inflation data enables the dovish Fed to argue recent moves were noise and stay easier for longer. The downside risk (for markets) may be that Fed hawks will likely have little luck in altering the way forward guidance is employed by the Fed (and chatter over a Fisher dissent is possible).

French Housing "In Total Meltdown", "Current Figures Are Disastrous"

If Venezuela is the case study of a country in the late stages of transition into a socialist utopia, then France is the clear runner up. The most recent case in point, aside from the already sliding French economy, whose recent contraction can be best seen be deteriorating PMI data which hints at the dreaded "triple dip" recession, nowhere is the economic collapse in France more evident than in its housing market which as even Bloomberg admits, citing industry participants, is now "in total meltdown." Pierre-Andre de Chalendar, chief executive officer of Saint-Gobain, summarized the current dire situation best: "Current figures are worrying and will be disastrous if nothing is done; clients of the building sector are sounding the alarm bell.

Dazed Global Markets Respond Wearily To Yesterday's Shocking Events

For a centrally-planned market that has long since lost the ability to discount the future, and certainly respond appropriately to geopolitical events, yesterday was a rough wake up call with a two punch stunner of not only the MH 17 crash pushing the Ukraine escalation into overdrive, but Israel's just as shocking land invasion of Gaza officially marking the start of a ground war, finally dragging global stocks out of their hypnotized slumber and pushing risk broadly lower across the globe, even if the now traditional USDJPY and AUDJPY ramp algos have woken up in the past few minutes and will be eager to pretend as if nothing ever happened.

Frontrunning: July 17

  • Bubble Paranoia Setting in as S&P 500 Surge Stirs Angst (BBG)
  • But how will math PhDs determine "fair value" - Wall Street Techs Take Secrets to Next Job at Their Peril (BBG)
  • U.S., EU Escalate Russia Sanctions as Putin Holds Firm (Bloomberg)
  • Australia Becomes First Developed Nation to Repeal Carbon Tax (WSJ)
  • Gaza humanitarian truce goes into force, hours after tunnel clash (Reuters)
  • Barclays, Deutsche Bank Said to Face U.S. Senate Hearing (BBG)
  • ECB Asset Buying Far Off and May Not Come, Hansson Says (BBG)
  • Time Warner win would make Murdoch U.S. media king (Reuters)
  • Costly Vertex Drug Is Denied, and Medicaid Patients Sue (WSJ)
  • China Rallying for All Wrong Reasons to Top-Rated Analyst (BBG)
  • GM recalls some cars with problematic switches; judges others safe (Reuters)

Obama's Latest Russian Sanctions Send Global Stocks Reeling

Slowly but surely, all those cans that many hoped were kicked indefinitely into the future, are coming back home to roost. The biggest impact on global risk overnight have been undoubtedly the expanded Russian sanctions announced by Obama yesterday, which have sent the Russian Micex index reeling to six week lows (as it does initially after every sanction announcement, only for the BTFDers to appear promptly thereafter), with the biggest hits saved for the named companies such as Rosneft -5.6%, Novatek -5.1%, and others Alrosa -5.7%, VTB Bank -4.3%, Sberbank -3.4% and so on. Then promptly risk off mood spilled over into broader Europe and at last check the Stoxx600 was down 0.8%, with Bund futures soaring to record highs especially following news (from the Ukraine side) that a Russian warplane attacked a Ukrainian fighter jet. Not helping matters is the end of the dead cat bounce in Portugal where after soaring by 20% yesterday on hopes of a fresh capital infusion, Espirito Santo has once again crashed, dropping as much as 11%, driven lower following downgrades by both S&P and Moodys, as well as the realization that someone was pulling everyone's legs with the rumor of an equity stake sale.