Initial Jobless Claims
Presenting the Florida jobless claims website. According to the Miami Herald reports, on Friday, the state’s auditor general issued a scathing 45-page audit that joins mounting evidence that CONNECT - aka Florida's Online Reemployment Assistance System or said simpler, jobless claims website - is a system in disarray.
After last week's holiday-shortened exuberance over initial jobless claims, this week's slam back to reality is quite a shock to the "everything is awesome" crowd. Initial jobless claims jumped 31,000 to 313,000 - the biggest percentage rise since December 2013. Continuing claims dropped modestly but remain up around 3.5% over the last quarter - near the worst since 2009.
The Dallas Fed manufacturing outlook plunged in January - despite Richard Fisher's claims that "everything is awesome" and low oil prices are a net positive for Texas - so it is perhaps not surprising that - with a backdrop of rig count collapses and oil price lows - February's data (delivered late) plunged-er to -11.2 (against expectations of -4 - 3rd miss in a row - well below every economist's estimates). This is the lowest since April 2013. This is the fastest 3-month decline since April 2013.
With Greece moving to the, ahem, periphery if only for a few days/hours, this week the US calendar returns to the forefront with Fed Chair Yellen’s semi-annual monetary policy testimony before the Senate Banking Committee tomorrow night and the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, which the market will be paying very close attention to for the reconciliation of how the Fed plans to continue on its rate-hiking path despite rapidly deteriorating US macro data that has started 2015 at the worst pace (in terms of downside surprises) since Lehman.
If you thought the Greek tragicomedy is over, you ain't seen nothing yet, because despite the so-called Friday agreement, the immediate next step is for Greece to submit its list of reform measures to the Troika, which will almost certainly result in an immediate revulsion in Germany's finance ministry, and lead to another protracted back and forth between the Troika and Greece, which may once again well end with a Grexit, especially if the Greek liquidity situation, where bash is bleeding from both the banks and the state at a record pace, remains unhalted. It is therefore not surprising that the ongoing decline in the EURUSD since the inking of the agreement, and the fact that the pair briefly dipped below 1.13 this morning - over 100 pips below the euphoric rip on Friday - is a clear indication that the market is starting to realize that absolutely nothing is either fixed, or set in stone.
With the new and revised (until it is re-revised again to some future date), Greek D-Day set for today's third in the past 2 weeks Eurogroup meeting, every favorable headline serves as a springboard for ES-buying algos, while every negative headline is promptly ignored. And since this is Europe's style trial ballooning, there have been many of both with just these two hitting in the last hour:
- GREECE, EURO ZONE NEAR DEAL ON PACKAGE, REUTERS CITES UNIDENTIFIED GREEK OFFICIAL
- GREECE DID NOT GO FAR ENOUGH IN THEIR LATEST PROPOSAL: GREEK GVOERNMENT SPOKESMAN
Guess which one pushed ES into the green?
After spending the past year deteriorating with each passing month, as global acceleration dipped decidedly in the negative camp, the only thing that kept the Goldman Global Leading Indicator "swirlogram" somewhat buoyant was that "Growth" measured in absolute terms had remained slightly positive. Not any more: according to Goldman's latest global economic read, the world is now officially in contraction, following a sharp plunge in both acceleration and growth in February.
For the 9th week in a row, the smoothed average of initial jobless claims in Texas surged (Other Shale States - PA, ND, and CO also saw a notable rise in claims). While Tennessee's levels were estimated, the broad levels of claims send a mixed message. Initial claims beat expectations, fell from 304k to 283k with the trend now clearly flat since September. However, Continuing Claims jumped 58k to 2.425 million - the biggest jump in 2015, notably missing expectations. The trend of employmenmt has clearly changed...
After yesterday's FOMC Minutes, despite a huge dovish reversal by the Fed - one which increasingly puts its "credibility" and reputation at risk - stocks were unable to close green, or even above 2100, for one simple reason: uncertainty with the fate of Greece. Overnight there has not been much more clarity, when as previously reported Greece submitted a 6 month extension request to its master loan agreement but not to its bailout extension, a nuance lost in the annals of diplomacy. But is this the much-awaited Greek capitulation? Or will the Eurogroup reject this too? The answer may be available in a few hours after an emergency Eurogroup meeting due later today. However, as usual stocks are ready to "price in" yet another Greek conflict resolution, and after futures were lower by 7 points overnight, were up 4 points at last check: a rebound which will not correct if the latest Greek "compromise" fails to deliver.
It has been a quiet start to the week, with US equity futures and European stocks mostly unchanged with all eyes on what progress (if any) will be made between Greece and the Eurogroup, where the press conference is scheduled for 7:00 pm GMT (expect significant delays) in what is otherwise expected to be a relatively subdued day with the US away from market and a light macroeconomic calendar.
Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher proclaimed that he and some esteemed colleagues in the business community believe the collapse in oil prices is a net positive for Texas, while "we will lose about 150,000 [oil-based] jobs, but we will pick them up elsewhere since we are a consumer society," and low oil prices is good for everyone... so far he is absolutely wrong!
As the noise of jobless claims data once again ripples through the narrative of unequivocally good low gas prices, initial claims in Shale States continues to trend higher. TX and PA saw the largest rise in claims (from the Shale States) lagged a week. Overall, initial jobless claims jujmped 24k to 304k (above the supposed Maginot Line demarcating the "everything is awesome" from the "we're gonna need a bigger QE") missing expectations by the most in a month. The Initial Claims trend appears to have seen a regime shift from lower to higher...
So far it has been an overnight session which clearly forgot to take its lithium, with futures first tumbling after CNBC's "leak" that a Greek deal had been reached was refuted, only to surge subsequently on both the Riskbank's foray into NIRP and QE which crushed the Swedish currency and sent its stocks to recorder highs, and more importantly, on the latest ceasefire out of Minsk which has pushed Russian and European assets substantially higher. While only the most naive believe that any palpable end to Ukraine hostilities will emerge as a result of today's delay, expect for Greek headlines to return with a vengeance as today it is Tsipras' turn to speak at a summit of the 28 European Union leaders set to begin momentarily.
Six years on from the financial crisis and central banks are still hacking away at interest rates. Australia and Romania's did this week and while Poland and India held off, both are expected to prune rates later in 2015.
It all makes perfect sense. Challenger announced this morning that layoffs in January soard 17.6% year-over-year with planned job cuts at the highest level in almost 2 years... Jobless claims in Shale states continues to trend higher as oil prices collapse... but initial jobless claims beat expectations - hovering near cycle lows - though did rise modestly WoW.