Suppose you could print up counterfeit dollars, euros or yen that were identical to the real things. Fun, you think? Here's how it plays out.
United Parcel Service expects to handle four million returns the first full week of January, up 15% from two years ago as online sales continue to grow as returns "represent a larger percentage of overall sales." As WSJ reports, more than 20% of returns happen during the holiday season - representing $60 billion in merchandise. While returns may be a boon for delivery companies, they are costly for retailers as returns, replacements and damaged goods represent about 10% of revenue. With return rates as high as 50%, one manager explains "'returns' is just a dirty business... Retailers are really losing their shirts on it."
- Ferguson in Flames (Reuters)
- Ferguson Cop Told Grand Jury He Feared for His Life (BBG)
- Sharpton: Grand Jury Announcement ‘An Absolute Blow’ (Daily Caller)
- Gunshots echo as violence returns to Ferguson, protests across U.S. (Reuters)
- BoJ members warned on costs of more easing (FT)
- Hagel Exit Shows Obama Has Taken Power Away From Pentagon (BBG)
- Ukraine leader, under pressure from West, pledges new government soon (Reuters)
- Eurozone Stagnation Poses Major Risk to Global Growth, OECD Warns (WSJ)
- ECB’s Coeure Says Officials Won’t Rush as They Debate All Assets (BBG)
- Levin Hearing Ups Volume in High-Frequency Call to Action (BBG)
- Ukrainian President Fires Central Bank Chief (BBG)
- Argentina Plans Debt Swap (WSJ)
- Fed Decision Day Guide From Dot Plots To Exit Strategy (BBG)
- World Bank Economist: China May Face US-Style Financial Crisis (WSJ)
- Premier Li says no hard landing for China, expects medium to high growth (Reuters)
- Putin Talks Peace With Ukraine Leader After Gas Pipe Fire (BBG)
- Poll Shows Erosion in President's Support (WSJ)
- U.S. mortgage applications plunge in latest week (Reuters)
- Ex-Goldman director goes to prison, still owes $13.9 million fine (Reuters)
What a better way to celebrate the rigged markets that are telegraphing a "durable" recovery, than with a Credit Suisse report showing, beyond a reasonable doubt, that when it comes to traditional bricks and mortar retailers, who have now closed more stores, or over 2,400 units, so far in 2014 and well double the total amount of storefront closures in 2013, this year has been the worst year for conventional discretionary spending since the start of the great financial crisis!
"We never should have painted ourselves so deep in this QE corner in the first place," chides David Stockman, "because the whole predicate [of Fed policy] is false." The author of The Great Deformation holds nothing back in this brief 3-minute primer of everything is wrong with the American economic system (and the CNBC anchors definitely did not want to hear). "We are already at peak debt and forcing more into the economy didn't work," and won't work as is merely funds Wall Street's latest carry trade to nowhere and fiscal irresponsibility in Washington. Simply put, "the private credit channel of monetary transmission is busted," so the Fed is exploiting the only channel it has left - "the bubble channel."
If the U.S. economy is getting better, then why are major retail chains closing thousands of stores? If we truly are in an "economic recovery", then why do sales figures continue to go down for large retailers all over the country? Without a doubt, the rise of Internet retailing giants such as Amazon.com have had a huge impact. Today, there are millions of Americans that actually prefer to shop online. But Internet shopping alone does not account for the great retail apocalypse that we are witnessing. In fact, some retail experts estimate that the Internet has accounted for only about 20 percent of the decline that we are seeing. Most of the rest of it can be accounted for by the slow, steady death of the middle class U.S. consumer. Median household income has declined for five years in a row, but all of our bills just keep going up. That means that the amount of disposable income that average Americans have continues to shrink, and that is really bad news for retailers.
Would you like to buy a house for one dollar? If someone came up to you on the street and asked you that question, you would probably respond by saying that it sounds too good to be true. But this is actually happening in economically-depressed cities all over America. Of course there are a number of reasons why you might want to think twice before buying any of these homes...
- Even Obama's fans has turning on him: "The Decline and Fall of 'Hope and Change'"
- European Stocks Drop, Head for Worst January Since 2009 (BBG)
- Euro-Area Inflation at 0.7% Builds Rate Pressure on ECB (BBG)
- Japan’s Inflation Accelerates as Abe Seeks Wage Gains (BBG)
- Unpossible - this is the USSA: Detroit Debt Proposal Favors Pension Funds (WSJ)
- Keystone Report Said Likely to Disappoint Pipeline Foes (BBG)
- YHOO still pretending someone cares about it: Yahoo says detected hacking attempt on email accounts (Reuters)
- How Google's Costly Motorola Maneuver May Pay Off (WSJ)
- Mexico Surpassing Japan as No. 2 Auto Exporter to U.S. (BBG)
Bernanke may be printing the wealth effect to the benefit of the richest 1%, but that only serves to make the already wealthiest even wealthier. When it comes to the creation of new millionaire households, the epicenter of new wealth creation is about as far from Wall Street, West Putnam Avenue or Rodeo Drive as can be. In fact, the state that saw the fastest climb up in millionaire rankings in 2013 doesn't have a single Tiffany or Saks Fifth Avenue, and the closest BMW dealership is a six-hour drive from the capital (stats which are guaranteed to change by the end of the year). Presenting North Dakota: the state which jumped 14 spots in the latest ranking of millionaire households.
Don't Blame Free Market Capitalism ... We Haven't Had It for a While
Following yet another rout in Asia overnight, which since shifted over to Europe, US equity futures have stabilized as a result of a modest buying/short-covering spree in the 10 Year which after threatening to blow out in the 2.90% range and above, instead fell back to 2.81%. Yet algos appear confused by the seeming USD weakness in the past few hours (EURUSD just briefly rose over 1.34) and instead of ploughing head first into stock futures have only modestly bid them up and are keeping the DJIA futs just above the sacred to the vacuum tube world 15,000 mark. A lower USDJPY (heavily correlated to the ES) did not help, after it was pushed south by more comments out of Japan that a sales tax hike is inevitable which then also means a lower budget deficit, less monetization, less Japanese QE and all the other waterfall effect the US Fed is slogging through. Keep an eye on the 10 Year and on the USD: which signal wins out will determine whether equities rise or fall, and with speculation about what tomorrow's minutes bring rife, it is anybody's bet whether we get the 10th red close out of 12 in the S&P500.
- Botulism toxin? There's an apology for that - Fonterra CEO apologizes, sees China dairy curbs lifted within days (Reuters)
- Patent troll-In-Chief strikes again: Veto of Apple Ruling Likely to Upend Big Patent Battles (WSJ)
- Because scapegoating means justice FTW - SEC Gets ‘Shot in the Arm’ With Victory in Tourre Case (BBG)
- Insider-Trading Probe Caught in a Washington Knot (WSJ)
- Miners return to hedging as gold (FT)
- Toyota’s $37 Billion Cash Pile Means Turning Point for Abenomics (BBG)
- Inside the battle at Germany's Siemens (Reuters)
- ‘One million’ UK workers on zero hours contracts (FT)
- Wag the dog, part 1984: Iran Seen Trying New Path to a Bomb (WSJ)
- Tokyo Cheap to Hong Kong Luring Asian Bargain Hunters (BBG)
- Ackman Says Pershing Square Takes 9.8% Stake in Air Products (BBG) - So is APD Carl Icahn's biggest ever short yet
- Latest Hilsenplant: Summers Hedges His Doubts on Fed's Bond Buying (WSJ)
- China Stocks World’s Worst Losing $748 Billion on Slump (BBG)
- U.S. Spy Program Lifts Veil in Court (WSJ)
- Abenomics on the rock again: Japan July manufacturing PMI shows growth at 4-month low (Reuters)
- EADS to be renamed Airbus in shake-up (FT)
- Goldman's GSAM has significantly increased its exposure to European equities (FT) - there is a reason why this is Goldman's worst division
- Japanese Megabanks Post Mega Profit Gains (WSJ) - when one excludes MTM impact from rate surge of course
- Ex-workers sue Apple, seek overtime for daily bag searches (Reuters)
- Hong Kong Yuan Deposits Snap Eight-Month Increase on Cash Crunch (BBG)
- Downtown NYC Landlords Remake Offices in Shift From Banks (BBG)
- More Doctors Steer Clear of Medicare (WSJ)
- Syrian Looters in Bulldozers Seek Treasure Amid Chaos (BBG)
- Siemens CEO Peter Löscher Is Set to Leave His Post After Series of Earnings Misses (WSJ)
- Silver Vault for 200 Tons Starts in Singapore as Wealthy Buy (BBG)
- Omincom and Publicis merger shows that advertising is now firmly in the business of Big Data: collecting and selling the personal information of millions of consumers (NYT)
- Apple supplier accused of labour violations (FT)
- 'BarCap was the Wild Wild West – that’s what we called it’ (Telegraph)
- P&G chief seizes opportunity in era of three-day stubble (FT)
- Federal Reserve 'Doves' Beat 'Hawks' in Economic Prognosticating (WSJ) - LOL: Fed "hawks"