Japan

The Three Cs Keeping CFOs Up At Night: China, Commodities, Currencies

With two-thirds of companies still set to report, and as the second quarter earnings season continues and assures the first revenue and EPS recession since 2009, the question on everyone's lips is just how bad will/can it get. The answer will be determined largely by any/all of the following three "C"s which continue to define the ugly face of non-GAAP corporate earnings for the past 3 quarters which appear set to persist for the foreseeable future.

The Casino-fication Of Markets Is Pervasive & Permanent

Here we now call market deflation by the sobriquet “volatility”, as in “major market indices suffered from volatility today, down almost one-half of one percent”, where a down day is treated as something akin to the common cold, a temporary illness with symptoms that we can shrug off with an aspirin or two. You can’t be in favor of volatility, surely. It’s a bad thing, almost on a par with littering. No, we want good things and good words, like “wealth effect” and “accommodation” and “stability” and “price appreciation”. As President Snow says in reference to The Hunger Games version of a political utility, “may the odds be always in your favor”. Who doesn’t want that?

Frontrunning: July 24

  • Gunman kills two, wounds seven in Louisiana theater before killing himself (Reuters)
  • Health insurer Anthem to buy Cigna in $54.2 billion deal (Reuters)
  • Murder, Poisoning, Raids: It’s Election Season in Russia (BBG)
  • Lagarde Push for Greece Debt Relief Challenges Merkel (Bloomberg)
  • Fund Boss’s Gamble on Health Law Pays Off Big (WSJ)
  • Wall Street Cranks Up Its Outlook for Amazon After It Delivers Monster Earnings Report (BBG)
  • China's Richest Man Marks Push Into Hollywood With Jake Gyllenhaal Movie (BBG)
  • West Africa's alarming growth industry - meth (Reuters)

Commodity Clobbering Continues As Amazon Lifts Futures

After yesterday's latest drop in stocks driven by "old economy" companies such as CAT, which sent the Dow Jones back to red for the year and the S&P fractionally unchanged, today has been a glaring example of the "new" vs "old" economy contrast, with futures propped up thanks to strong tech company earnings after the close, chief among which Amazon, which gained $40 billion in after hours trading and has now surpassed Walmart as the largest US retailer. As a result Brent crude is little changed near 2-wk low after disappointing Chinese manufacturing data fueled demand concerns, adding to bearish sentiment in an oversupplied mkt. WTI up ~26c, trimming losses after yday falling to lowest since March 31 to close in bear mkt. Both Brent and WTI are set for 4th consecutive week of declines; this is the longest losing streak for Brent since Jan., for WTI since March.

World Trade Slumps By Most Since Financial Crisis

As goes the world, so goes America (according to 30 years of historical data), and so when world trade volumes drop over 2% (the biggest drop since 2009) in the last six months to the weakest since June 2014, the "US recession imminent" canary in the coalmine is drawing her last breath...

The World Economy Visualized

If itsy bitsy pie slice – Greece (.33%) – can create this much worldwide economic havoc because of their unpayble level of debt, imagine what will happen when the truth is revealed about France (3.81%), Italy (2.88%), and Spain (1.88%).

3 Things: Steel, Sentiment, & Productivity

Innovation in technology reduces the need for labor. More individuals are sitting outside the labor force increase the demand for available jobs. Increased competition for available jobs suppresses wage growth. It is a virtual spiral that continues to apply downward pressure on an economy based nearly 70% on consumption. Importantly, what small increases there have been in unit labor costs have primarily come at the expense of higher benefit and healthcare costs rather than an increase in wages. As discussed previoulsy, for roughly 80% of the working labor force, wages have declined over the last five years. Janet Yellen is right that wages will have a hard time increasing without a pick up in productivity. The issue is that innovation IS the problem, not the solution. That is unless we begin to include the productivity of robots.

Central Banks Have Shot Their Wad - Why The Casino Is In For A Rude Awakening, Part I

There has been a lot of chatter in recent days about the plunge in commodity prices - capped off by this week’s slide of the Bloomberg commodity index to levels not seen since 2002. That epochal development is captured in the chart below, but most of the media gumming about the rapidly accelerating “commodity crunch” misses the essential point. To wit, the central banks of the world have shot their wad.  The Bloomberg Commodity index is a slow motion screen shot depicting the massive intrusion of worldwide central bankers into the global economic and financial system. Their unprecedented spree of money printing took the aggregate global central bank balance sheet from $3 trillion to $22 trillion over the last 15 years. The consequence was a deep and systematic falsification of financial prices on a planet-wide scale.

"No Longer Confined To The Lunatic Fringe": SocGen Admits Markets Are Completely Manipulated

"If in the short run, to paraphrase Benjamin Graham, equities are a voting machine, then it seems many of these votes are being coerced by interventionists.Central bankers the world over have become obsessed with asset prices, to the extent that the notion of central banks making outright purchases of equities is no longer confined to the lunatic fringe."

Japan's Financial Times: Nikkei Buys FT

Just minutes after rumors of Axel Springer Verlag's interest in buying The Financial Times were flatly denied, Marketwatch reports that Japanese financial newspaper Nikkei said Thursday that it is buying Financial Times from U.K. publishing group Pearson for 160 billion yen, or $1.29 billion.

JPY Slides After IMF Warns Debt Is "Unsustainable"

It appears The IMF is willing to shake the boat of status quo, everything-is-awesome, once again. After proclaiming Greece is screwed and needs a haircut no matter what, the bank to save the world has unleashed a new report on Japan...

*IMF SAYS JAPAN NEEDS DEEPER CUTS TO CURB ‘UNSUSTAINABLE’ DEBT,  RISKS SURGE TO TRIPLE GDP WITHOUT CHANGE, IMF SAYS
*IMF: YEN MODERATELY WEAKER THAN IS CONSISTENT WITH FUNDAMENTALS

We assume Abe and Kuroda will disagree strongly, argue that they just need a little more devaluation and everything will be perfect. The slide in JPY suggests some more capital leaving their shores. It appears The IMF has read some of Kyle Bass' work.

Caterpillar Explains Why It Is A Global Recession

  • In Asia/Pacific, the sales decline was primarily due to lower sales in China and Japan.
  • Decreases in Latin America were primarily due to continued weak construction activity
  • Sales declined in EAME primarily due to the unfavorable impact of currency, as sales in euros translated into fewer U.S. dollars.
  • Sales declined in North America as weakness in oil and gas-related construction was largely offset by stronger activity in residential and nonresidential building construction.