Investors are too complacent (the Minsky-Moment). Too many are still trying to profit from the Fed subsidy of past stimulus. Investors remain loaded in risk assets, incentivized by the need to beat peers and benchmarks and comforted into complacency by the Fed ‘put’. The true level of risk is being ignored. The pervasive mentality of seeking maximum risk has become a terrible risk/reward trade for two main reasons...
In addition to the Fed's credibility, one other privately-controlled organization that has seen its credibility completely crushed in recent months is the Goldman economic forecasting team (if not the team that "forecasts" Fed monetary policy, simply because Goldman controls the Fed and tells it what to do; as such what Goldman "thinks" the Fed will do is usually ironclad) whose Jan Hatzius "for what it's worth" forecast above trend growth for the US economy in 2014. So, "for what it's worth", here is Goldman jobs report post-mortem (in a parallel report Goldman just cut its Q3 GDP forecast from 2.0% to 1.9%), in which the bank admits that the report was a disaster, and that as a result "we now see action at the December meeting as a close call."
From a financial market psychology standpoint it is however very important that central bankers don’t appear clueless. A majority of market participants needs to be able to suspend disbelief to an sufficient extent, i.e., they must be able to share in the collective hallucination that central bankers actually do know what they are doing. When it is no longer possible to maintain this facade, many things are likely to be suddenly questioned – and among these is the question whether it makes sense to remain exposed to yet another gargantuan asset bubble.
While we have exposed the ugly under-belly of today's jobs data, mainstream media is spinning it as a 'Goldilocks' report with enough hits-and-misses for every hawk or dove. The market's initial reaction signals rising expectations of a September rate hike but, as Goldman's Jan Hatzius explains, they continue to expect the FOMC to keep policy rates unchanged at the September 16-17 meeting.
And it's far from over.
It is absolutely normal for employers to completely miss the signs of impending doom. The 2007 extreme occurred just before the carnage of mass layoffs that was to begin a couple of months later. Employers were still clueless that the end of the housing bubble would have devastating effects. If they were clueless then, they are in an advanced state of delirium and delusion now. The devastating 1973-74 bear market, which cut the value of stocks by 50%, was in its early stages. This was an early example of employers being late to the funeral. Similar employer hoarding of workers has been associated with bubbles in the more recent past and has led to massive retrenchment, usually within 18 months or so.
Peering into the froth of a cappuccino, we noticed various sized bubbles. There is a fine line between froth and bubbles. As we continued our gaze, both eventually disappeared. Stirring made the frothy bubbles disappear more quickly. Markets are beginning to stir (more later). Unsustainable states ultimately end.
UK debt has continued to rise throughout the recovery and has soared to an eye-watering £1.48 trillion. In recent days, a slew of foreign exchange analysts have warned that the pound is vulnerable to falling in value. The incumbent government have not reined in public and trade deficits and have been accused of juicing the property market and the economy to postpone a crisis until after the election.
Sentiment in general remains poor and all the focus is on gold's weakness in dollar terms, despite gold's strong gains in euro terms in 2014 and so far in 2015. Poor sentiment is of course bullish from a contrarian perspective and suggests all the froth has been washed out of the gold market.
After the abysmal March payrolls number, there were expectations in the whisper forecast of today's initial claims that there would be a sizable jump in initial unemployment claims, one that may break the streak of 4 consecutive prints under 300K. It did not happen, and in fact the number which was released moments ago by the BLS indicated continued strength in the US labor market, where there was 281K initial claims in the past week, just under the 283K expected and higher than the revised 267K from last week. This is the lowest level for this average since June 3, 2000 when it was 281,500. The previous week's average was revised down by 250 from 285,500 to 285,250.
With all deference to Dr. Richard Fisher, the surging dollar is not good for either the economy or ultimately a stronger labor market. This is particularly the case when the dollar is only stronger because the rest of the world is on the brink of recession and or deflation. The negative impact of a surging dollar in a weak economic environment will more than likely outweigh any positive inputs for the U.S. consumer. Time will tell, but the evidence is mounting that the we are likely closer to the end of the current economic cycle than the beginning.
Payroll employment continued to grow at a strong pace, exceeding consensus expectations. The unemployment rate fell due to lower participation. With the final employment report in hand before the upcoming FOMC meeting, we think the Committee will modify its forward guidance on March 18. Our forecast remains for the first hike in the fed funds rate to occur in September, but today's data affords the possibility of a hike as early as June
"Prospects For A Home Run In 2015 Aren’t Good" - November Case-Shiller Confirms Ongoing Housing Market SlowdownSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/27/2015 09:40 -0500
In a day of furious disappointments, the Case-Shiller housing report, albeit looking at the ancient economic picture as of November, confirmed what most had known: that the growth in housing prices slowed down yet again on not only a Year over Year basis, which rose just 4.31%, the lowest annual increase since October 2012 but also dropped by -0.22% decline on a monthly basis, which may not sound like much, but was the worst monthly drop since February 2012!
How does the economy really work? In our view, both energy and debt play an extremely important role in an economic system. Once energy supply and other aspects of the economy start hitting diminishing returns, there is a serious chance that a debt implosion will bring the whole system down. In this first piece of this story, we explain how the economy is tied to energy, and how the leveraging impact of cheap energy creates economic growth.
The 30 Year U.S. Treasury bond yield hit 2.35% yesterday. Long term interest rates are not controlled by Yellen. They reflect the economic prospects of the country. When they are rising it means the economy is doing well. When they are plummeting to all time lows, the economy is either in recession or headed into recession. Take your pick. No amount of government data manipulation, feel good propaganda spewed by the captured mainstream media, or Ivy League educated Wall Street economist doublespeak, can change the fact this economy is in the dumper and headed much lower. The Greater Depression is resuming its downward march toward inevitable war.