What Zero Hedge has been saying for well over half a year has finally hit the mainstream, with pundit after pundit "suddenly" coming out of the closet and making the uber-bold proclamation that "QE3 is here." Yawn. That said, since Goldman's opinion is the only one that matters (see previous posts on this matter, especially those referencing the activities of one Bill Dudley at one "Pound and Pence"), here is Jan Hatzius explaining how the whole world now looks up to Bernanke to pick up the QE torch lit up in the past week by the SNB, the BOJ and the ECB, and take Central PlanningTM to escape velocity (which may well be needed if we hope to get Mars to bail out the Earth shortly). Specifically, when discussing what the Fed will announce on Tuesday, naturally follows Monday, or the day in which risk comes home to roost, Hatzius says the following: "First, we expect them to expand the scope of their “extended period” language to cover not just the exceptionally low funds rate but also the exceptionally large balance sheet. For example, they could rewrite the current forward-looking language in the statement to say that economic conditions “…are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate and exceptionally large asset holdings for an extended period” (our suggested change in italics). Indeed, our baseline expectation is that this change will occur at the August 9 FOMC meeting, although it is a relatively close call. Second, we expect the composition of the Fed’s balance sheet to shift toward longer maturities. This could happen via an increase in the average maturity of its reinvestment of MBS paydowns and/or a change in the reinvestment policy for its Treasury portfolio. However, we do not yet expect this for the August 9 meeting, although it is possible." Operation Twist 2 it is then, with unlimited purchases in the 2-7 year range to keep the yield at a sturdy 0%, and the 2s10s to surge record highs (alas, QE3 means inflation, inflation, inflation down the line) in a last ditch attempt to bailout America's financial system, which unfortunately has just entered wind-down mode.
Today's ISM will almost certainly be a major disappointment based on regression analyses, although it will be largely ignored in the major headline onslaught, as the soap opera continues even though at this point the most it can do is lead to a massive market drop since the market has already priced in a successful, if short term, "debt man walking" (thank you Bill Gross) solution.
When it comes to the name John Williams, there can be only one. The status quo apparatchik who is the new head of the San Fran Fed is a distant second. Alas, it is his words that are more important today, as in a speech to the Community Leaders of Salt Lake City titled The Outlook for The Economy and Monetary Policy, he just made it clear that should the current re-re-recession within a depression accelerate, more QE/LSAPs are coming. To wit: "Looking ahead, we at the Fed will keep a very close eye on incoming data and adjust our policy as needed to work towards our two policy goals. If the recovery stalls and inflation remains low or deflationary pressures reemerge, then we may need to keep our very stimulatory policies in place for quite some time or even increase stimulus." And unlike Lacker earlier who admitted QE 2 had been a failure, Williams is a liltle more polite: "the Federal Reserve doesn’t have a magic wand that will allow the economy to get through a crisis of this magnitude unscathed." Translation: we have been improvising and we have failed although in the process we have made the rich richer, and everyone else as poor as they ever have been. Lastly, Williams appears to be a fan of the Boehner plan: "There is no question that we are currently on an unsustainable long-run path of federal fiscal deficits. It is essential that budget deficits over the next decade be brought under control." Funny that because it was none other than the Chairsatan himself who every time he is trotted before congress, says that stimulus has to come from a fiscal basis, not monetary. While Congress is obviously full of contradicting idiots, it is a little scary if the same can be said of the Fed as well too.
Remember those June calls after April's (yes, two month delayed) Case Shiller report that housing has hit a bottom? Scratch them. The Case Shiller 20 City composite for May (so why anyone even looks at this is beyond us) just came at -0.05% M/M on expectations of an unchanged print, with the previous revised from -0.09% to 0.44%. On a Year over Year basis the 20 City Composite dropped 4.51% on consensus of a -4.50% drop (the previous -3.96% was revised lower to -4.22%) - this was the biggest drop since November 2009. Washington DC was up 1.3% Y/Y (2.4% M/M) and was the only city to gain on a yearly basis. Minneapolis was down the most: 12%. That said there were some modest improvements in several of the regions: “We see some seasonal improvements with May’s data,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices. “This is a seasonal period of stronger demand for houses, so monthly price increases are to be expected and were seen in 16 of the 20 cities. The exceptions where prices fell were Detroit, Las Vegas and Tampa. However, 19 of 20 cities saw prices drop over the last 12 months. The concern is that much of the monthly gains are only seasonal." Good luck trying to extrapolate data away from seasonal adjustments: "May’s report showed unusually large revisions across some of the MSAs. In particular, Detroit, New York, Tampa and Washington DC all saw above normal revisions. Our sales pairs data indicate that these markets reported a lot more sales from prior months, which caused the revisions. The lag in reporting home sales in these markets has increased over the past few months. Also, when sales volumes are relatively low, as is the case right now, revisions are more noticeable."
Two for the price of zero: first, we present David Kostin's weekly chartology, which once again focuses on the only good thing to discuss these days: US corporate earnings which have now seen 45% of companies report (note: not European ones which as we pointed out on Friday have been abysmal so far). Here, among other things we learn that Apple now accounts for 40% ($0.23/share) of the $0.57 aggregate in EPS surprise beat for the S&P 500. Said otherwise, and the cumulative trailing "beat" for all the remaining companies in the S&P would have been 40% lower. In summary: "Three key numbers: 18% year/year EPS growth, 13% revenue growth, and 64 bp of margin expansion" Another notable observation which is in line with our prediction from mid May that staples will outperform discretionary: "Market participants will be surprised to learn that Consumer Staples growth is stronger than Consumer Discretionary growth for both sales (8% vs. 4%) and earnings (7% vs. 5%). Philip Morris International (PM) is a key contributor to growth in Consumer Staples. Actual results together with consensus expectations indicate slight margin declines in Telecom Services and Consumer Staples relative to 2Q 2010." Some may indeed be surprised, others not so much. Lastly, Kostin still sees 1450 on the S&P by the year end despite Hatzius' cut to estimates last week. Second, also included is last week's key event summary.
It ended in a shoot-out? What is this, the Wild Wild West???
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This lack of accountability leads to increasing bad behavior.
- Moody's suggests U.S. eliminate debt ceiling (Reuters)
- ECB weighing eurozone default options (FT)
- Debt Deal Search Intensifies (WSJ)
- Obama struggles to get Wall Street funding (FT)
- Euro Zone Sees 3 Options For Private Role in Greece (Reuters)
- Germany Says It's Confident EU to Reach Agreement on Second Greek Bailout (Bloomberg)
- ECB's Mersch-Inflation risks to upside, eyeing developments (Reuters)
- Lockhart: Fed could keep rates low "much longer" (Reuters)
- Greece Seeks Advisers for Privatization (WSJ) - there's always Goldman
Housing starts and permits for June. As usual, the key driver will be Europe-based headlines. There is a tiny POMO closing at 11 am.
Next week is light on data, thus developments in the European and US fiscal tensions are likely to remain high on the agenda. The Eurogroup heads of state will meet on Thursday to discuss European financial stability and further aid for Greece. Expectations are for an increase in the Greek financial rescue package, alongside some form of voluntary ‘bail in’ for holders of Greek debt. More comprehensive solutions to stem contagion risk, such as secondary market purchases of EMU government bonds by the EFSF, are said to be also on the cards, but uncertainty is very large. Ahead of the statement resulting from the summit, the market may remain caught in the headlights of headline risk. Discussions over raising the debt ceiling in the US will continue. On the data front, the business surveys will be key to watch. Towards the end of the week the HSBC flash PMI for China, the Euroland flash PMIs and the Philadelphia Fed Survey will all be published. The Euroland surveys are expected to decline slightly, but the Philadelphia Fed survey is expected to rise although our forecast is for a notably smaller rise than that of the consensus.
China is struggling with inflation, speculation, an increasingly polarized society and even some social unrest. Shilling continues his 5 part China article today on how the country is strolling along the path leading to Hard Landing.
There was some good news for the home sector after Case Shiller the first sequential increase in home prices in almost a year, with the Composite 10 increasing 0.8% in April, and a 0.7% increase in the Composite 20 on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. On a SA basis prices fell again, this time by 0.1%, slightly better than consensus which was looking for a 0.2% drop (and lest anyone believes revisionism is contained to the BLS, the February/March decline was revised even more from -0.23% to -0.26%) and in line with Goldman's expectation noted earlier. But before Toll and Lennar go ahead and prebuild another 10,000 empty units, there were some caveats: "In a welcome shift from recent months, this month is better than last - April’s numbers beat March,” says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices. “However, the seasonally adjusted numbers show that much of the improvement reflects the beginning of the Spring-Summer home buying season. It is much too early to tell if this is a turning point or simply due to some warmer weather...“Other housing statistics show the same trends. Single-family housing starts were up in May, but still well below their 2010 levels and still very close to their 30-year low. Existing home sales rose in May, but are still about 15% below last year’s pace and about 35% below their 2005 pace. While foreclosures remain a large factor in most parts of the country, the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default indices show a small decline in the pace of new defaults since last November. Other reports confirm that banks have tightened lending standards in the past year making it harder to qualify for a mortgage despite very low interest rates." Lastly, and perhaps most important, is that this is data that was relevant back in April... and that 6 out of 20 MSA just hit new lows. America is increasingly becoming a story of two polar opposites.
It is Friday night, which means that any bad and self-discrediting news from Goldman Sachs are due any minute. Sure enough, the squid does not disappoint: "Following another dose of disappointing economic data, we have cut
our Q2 growth estimate to 2% (annualized) from 3%. We also have issued a
preliminary forecast for the manufacturing ISM in June of 52.0. At this
point, we still expect a bounceback in Q3 and beyond, but will need to
see significant improvement in the data over the next few weeks to
maintain that view." Zero Hedge's own ISM outlook is for a 48 print. And as we will comment on later, as JPM's Michael Feroli demonstrates, the fate of the economic pick up in Q3 is all up to car sales surging by about 58% on an annualized basis as predicted by IHS. Good luck with that. As we said yesterday, we expect Goldman to lower its H2 outlook to under 2% within a month, most likely following the next ISM miss and the disappointing NFP report due out in 2 weeks.
Initial Jobless Claims At 414K, 10th Consecutive Week Above 400K; Housing Starts At 560K, Both Modestly Better Than ExpectedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/16/2011 07:43 -0500
While this morning litany of economic news was modestly better than expected, it really did nothing to change the picture that the US is rapidly regressing into another recession. Initial claims came at 414K, better than expectations of 420K, but as always expect next week's number to be revised higher to 418K or so: last week's number was as always pushed up from 427K to 430K. Far more importantly, this is the 10th consecutive week in which the initial claims data prints over 400k. Bullish? Continuing claims was just worse than the consensus of 3,670K, at 3,675K, down from an upward (of course) revised 3,696K from 3,676K. The biggest change was attributed to New York state, where 4,060 fewer layoffs were seen in the construction, mfg and retail industries, followed by California with 2,510 fewer claims due to a "Shorter work week, as well as fewer layoffs in the service industry." So shorter work weeks are now economic positive. Lastly, on the claims front, the 99 week cliff is pushing ever more people from under the government subsidy wing as 115K people dropped from ongoing EUC and Extended Benefits. The EUC 2008 number is 3,293,507 compared to 4,798,009 a year ago: nearly 1.5 million people have now lost the weekly government check to sit around and look for jobs. Looking at housing starts, the seasonally adjusted annualized number for May was 560,000, just above the 541,000 from April, although below the 580,000 from May 2010. Consensus expected 545K new home starts for the month, or a 4.2% increase from the unrevised April number of 523K. In other words, the starts data was both a miss and a beat, depending on what the baseline used is: revised or unrevised. On an unadjusted basis, there were 55.6K units in May started on, with multi-family units jumping to 13.1K, the highest since September 2010's 13.2k. Lastly, the Q1 current account balance, a largely delayed and irrelevant number, came at -119.3 billion, on expectations of -130 billion.