by ilene - July 24th, 2014 10:31 am
Submitted by Tyler Durden.
New Home Sales in June plunged to 406k vs 504k in May (remember that 504k print was the catalyst for 'weather' is over and the market to surge: it somehow was magically revised lower by more than 10% to only 442K) Now that has soaked in, consider this is equal lowest sales print since September 2013 (and Dec 2012) and the biggest miss since July 2013.
The last 3 months of exuberance have all been revised significantly lower as follows:
- March: 410K to 408K
- April: 425K to 408K
- May: 504K to 442K
What is even more troubling in the "survey" vs "reality" world is this collapse in sales when NAHB Sentiment surged to near cycle highs. For context, this is a 5-standard-deviation miss from economists' expectations, below the lowest guess and a massive miss from almost highest estimate Joe Lavorgna's 510k.
Where the biggest revision was: sales in the West. One wonders how it is possible to overestimate sales in one region by 20%?
And this is all going to be quite a shock for the homebuilders…
Finally, here is your long-term recovery:
by ilene - July 24th, 2014 10:18 am
Courtesy of Pam Martens.
Since March 30 of this year when bestselling author, Michael Lewis, appeared on 60 Minutes to explain the findings of his latest book, Flash Boys, as “stock market’s rigged,” America has been learning some very uncomfortable truths about the tilted playing field against the public stock investor.
Throughout this time, no one has been more adamant than Terrence (Terry) Duffy, the Executive Chairman and President of the CME Group, which operates the largest futures exchange in the world in Chicago, that the charges made by Lewis about the stock market have nothing to do with his market. The futures markets are pristine, according to testimony Duffy gave before the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee on May 13.
On Tuesday of this week, Duffy’s credibility and the honesty of the futures exchanges he runs came into serious question when lawyers for three traders filed a Second Amended Complaint in Federal Court against Duffy, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade and other individuals involved in leadership roles at the CME Group.
The conduct alleged in the lawsuit, backed by very specific examples, reads more like an organized crime rap sheet than the conduct of what is thought by the public to be a highly regulated futures exchange in the U.S.
The lawyers for the traders begin, correctly, by informing the court of the “vital public function” that is supposed to be played by these exchanges in “providing price discovery and risk transfer.” They then methodically show how that public purpose has been disfigured beyond recognition through secret deals and “clandestine” side agreements made with the knowledge of Duffy and his management team.
by ilene - July 24th, 2014 5:18 am
Courtesy of Mish.
As I suspected would happen, the exclusive Reuters interview in which "Commander Alexander Khodakovsky acknowledges rebel fighters had BUK missiles" has been challenged.
In my analysis of the Reuters article (see Ukraine Rebel Commander Admits Having BUK Missiles; Damning Contradictions?), I point out considerable discrepancies in what Reuters author Anton Zverev wrote and actual quotes Reuters presented.
The discrepancies were so big I stated "It appears to me Reuters may have stretched this interview quite a bit."
Thus I am not surprised to discover Khodakovsky challenged huge aspects of that interview, in terms of things he stated, did not state, and even timing of events.
Reader Jacob Dreizin, a US citizen who speaks Russian and reads Ukrainian provides this translation from the Ria.Ru post "Khodakovsky Denies Talking About Buks"
by ilene - July 24th, 2014 12:18 am
Courtesy of Mish.
Jean Claude Juncker (Mr. “Lie When It’s Serious”) is already accused of sending the UK down the drain.
British companies will be forced to publish details of their environmental impact and efforts to improve “gender equality” under a diktat from Brussels.
Bureaucrats want all large firms in the European Union to include details of their policies on “environment, diversity and human rights” in their annual financial statements, it emerged last night.
The “corporate governance” directive has been drawn up by EU internal market commissioner Michel Barnier, a close ally of new European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
Under the plan, any company with 500-plus employees will be expected to make an annual “corporate social responsibility statement”.
Simon Rose, of the anti-Brussels campaign group Get Britain Out, said: “The dust has only just begun to settle on Juncker’s appointment and already we have a proposal to burden British business. It’s just another example of excessive Brussels interference.”
The campaign group claims each firm hit by the Brussels legislation will face an extra £4,000 a year in administration costs.
The directive requires firms to detail any “current and foreseeable” impact from their business on the environment, including “health and safety, the use of renewable and non-renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions…and air pollution”.
They will also have to list action taken to ensure gender balance in the workforce, respect for workers’ rights and talks with trade unions.
Firms will be expected to outline their “diversity policy” in employing and promoting staff of different ages, genders and “educational and professional backgrounds”. They should also “include information on the prevention of human rights abuses and instruments in place in order to fight corruption”.
If this absurd ruling only costs £4,000 ($6814 at current rates) I will be amazed. Regardless, there is no indication madness will stop there….
by ilene - July 23rd, 2014 11:25 pm
Courtesy of John Rubino.
The old Dickens quote “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” is pretty much always applicable to a world as big and complex as this one. But lately, as the disparity between financial markets (best of times) and geopolitics (worst) has grown to almost comical proportions, Dickens has been sounding even more apropos than usual. To take just a few “worst of times” examples:
- Palestinians are shooting rockets at Israel, which is responding with a full-scale invasion that will end up killing many hundreds, including an appalling number of kids.
- A coalition of Islamic radical groups called Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is grinding towards Iraq’s capital, home of the small city that is the US embassy. What we’ll do should it be taken is anybody’s guess, but odds are it won’t be pretty. Meanwhile, Iraq’s Christians are the largely-unnoticed victims of the fundamentalist resurgence.
- Someone using advanced anti-aircraft missiles shot down a civilian passenger jet over Ukraine, and Russia, Europe and the US are making all kinds of threats and counter-threats as they try to apportion blame. There are an awful lot of soldiers in a small space, and the press is now full of “Archduke Ferdinand moment” kinds of analysis.
Meanwhile, global growth isn’t looking so hot. See World GDP Hopes Are Collapsing, which comes with this dramatic chart:
Now, contrast this dark vision with the financial markets, where the picture has literally never been brighter. The US on Wednesday July 23: Stocks mostly higher; S&P 500 in record territory.
And that’s the tame part of the equities world. Emerging market stocks are absolutely soaring. See: EMERGING MARKETS-Indonesia, Russia gains push emerging stocks to new 17-mth high.
So what’s happening? One would think that rational investors would be cautious about buying volatile assets like stocks when there are so many geopolitical landmines just waiting to blow up — and when global growth is failing miserably to meet economist expectations. Instead they’re buying with abandon.
by ilene - July 23rd, 2014 9:58 pm
Courtesy of Joshua M Brown, The Reformed Broker
The flipside of the performance chase.
“What have you done for me lately? How dare you miss a market trend? Why aren’t we on top right now? Is something wrong? Have you lost your edge?”
The type of investor who is easily impressed by short-term performance is also really easily disappointed when a strategy struggles. It’s a personality thing. It’s what drives the behavior gap that Carl Richards talks about – getting into the next hot thing at a top and then getting out at a bottom for the hot thing after that, “repeat until broke.”
Look at Balestra Capital as a brand new example of this timeless cycle.
The fund’s manager was one of a handful of hedge fund guys that “called the crisis” and profited from the market collapse. In the aftermath of the crash, having posted a once-in-a-lifetime performance, Balestra became a hot fund. This is the same thing that happened for the rest of the crash-callers.
Only that’s not a trick that anyone can pull off twice. And so absent a follow-up miracle, the investors get bored. They get restless as other managers appear to pulling other miracles out of their asses.
“I want in on that!”
And then the drawdown comes and it’s lights out.
Check this out, via the Wall Street Journal:
All the new investors who came banging Balestra’s door down to give them money after 2007-2008 are now wondering why they bothered. As Rob Copeland reports:
Balestra Capital Partners LP, founded by Wall Street veteran James Melcher, saw investors yank more than $600 million—or more than 60% of its assets—at the end of the second quarter, according to investor documents…Due to losses and redemptions, the firm’s main fund now has under $400 million, about one-fifth of its size two years ago.
This is a fund that doesn’t appear to have made anyone money over the last five years. But you know exactly when it raised the most money and brought in the most new investors, just by looking at the chart above.
Someone running a fund somewhere is going to call the next crisis exactly right. An ocean of money will come pouring in over the transom. Unfortunately, there probably won’t be any follow-up miracle there either. But there will likely be disappointment.
Repeat until broke.
New World Disorder: Emerging Division Between East And West Threatens To Plunge The Globe Into Chaos
by ilene - July 23rd, 2014 8:59 pm
New World Disorder: Emerging Division Between East And West Threatens To Plunge The Globe Into Chaos
Courtesy of Michael Snyder, the Economic Collapse
In general, over the last several decades the world has experienced an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity. The opening up of relations with China and the "end of the Cold War" resulted in an extended period of cooperation between east and west that was truly unique in the annals of history.
But things are shifting. The civil war in Ukraine and the crash of MH17 have created an enormous amount of tension between the United States and Russia, and many analysts believe that relations between the two superpowers are now even worse than they were during the end of the Cold War era. In addition, the indictment of five PLA officers for cyber espionage and sharp disagreements over China's territorial claims in the South China Sea (among other issues) have caused U.S. relations with China to dip to their lowest point since at least 1989. So could the emerging division between the east and the west ultimately plunge us into a period of global chaos? And what would that mean for the world economy?
For as long as most Americans can remember, the U.S. dollar and the U.S. financial system have been overwhelmingly dominant. But now the powers of the east appear to be determined to break this monopoly. Four of the BRICS nations (China, Russia, India and Brazil) are on the list of the top ten biggest economies on the planet, and they are starting to make moves to become much less dependent on the U.S.-centered financial system of the western world. For example, just last week the BRICS nations established two new institutions which are intended to be alternatives to the World Bank and the IMF…
So in their summit, from July 14 to 16, the five BRICS announced two major initiatives aimed squarely at increasing their power in global finance. They announced the launch of the New Development Bank, headquartered in Shanghai, that will offer financing for development projects in the emerging world. The bank will act as an alternative to the Washington, D.C.—based World Bank. The BRICS also formed what they’re calling a Contingent Reserve Arrangement, a series
by ilene - July 23rd, 2014 7:13 pm
Courtesy of David Stockman
The 2008 Wall Street meltdown is long forgotten, having been washed away by a tsunami of central bank liquidity. Indeed, the S&P closed yesterday at 1,983—or up by nearly 200% from its March 2009 low. Yet four cardinal measures of Main Street economic health convey nothing like a 2X pick-up from the post-crisis bottom.
To wit, in June the count of breadwinner jobs was 68.5 million or 5% below were it stood as the crisis got underway. Likewise, business investment in real plant and equipment is still 5% below its late 2007 peak. So too with the real median family income at about $53k—its still down by 6%. And unlike past cycles where safety net programs like food stamps shed recipients as the recovery gained momentum, there are still nearly 47 million Americans in the program compared to 30 million in March 2009.
This juxtaposition has been explained away by Wall Street stock touts under the heading that “this time is different”. Markets have allegedly sprung loose from their moorings in the real economy owing to record corporate profits and an upward re-rating of PE multiples reflecting lower than historical interest rates. And, indeed, the raw facts can be marshaled to this end.
As shown in the stunning chart below, profits have doubled as a share of corporate net value added since the turn of the century. Likewise, when measured against GDP, profits are at 60-year highs.
This is just the trouble, however. The robust rate of profit growth during recent years reflects a one-time gain in the profit share of factor income. This gain in all probability cannot be replicated again during the next decade, and, in fact, is extremely vulnerable to the mean reversion so evident in the historical data above. Indeed, that may have already begun during the first quarter of 2014 when the profit share dropped sharply as shown in both charts above.
The same can be said of low interest rates. After an unprecedented 33-year descent, the yield on the 10-year treasury benchmark has nowhere
by ilene - July 23rd, 2014 7:00 pm
Note: There's a mistake in this article below--plague is not a viral infection but a bacterial infection. ~ Ilene
Courtesy of ZeroHedge
A month ago we mapped the current state of the Ebola crisis in Africa, which has claimed over 600 lives in recent months, and which according to the director of operations of medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières, Bart Janssens, has grown into an "epidemic which is totally out of control." He added that "Ebola is no longer a public health issue limited to Guinea: it is affecting the whole of West Africa," urging WHO, affected countries and their neighbours to deploy more resources especially trained medical staff.
Tragically, the "out of control" epidemic has taken a major turn for the worse when the head doctor fighting the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone has himself caught the disease, the government said.
Health workers take blood samples for Ebola virus testing at a screening
tent in the local government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone, June 30, 2014.
According to Reuters, the 39-year-old Sheik Umar Khan, hailed as a "national hero" by the health ministry, was leading the fight to control an outbreak that has killed 206 people in the West African country. Ebola kills up to 90 percent of those infected and there is no cure or vaccine.
Khan, a Sierra Leonean virologist credited with treating more than 100 Ebola victims, has been transferred to a treatment ward run by medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, according to the statement released late on Tuesday by the president's office.
Health Minister Miatta Kargbo called Khan a national hero and said she would "do anything and everything in my power to ensure he survives".
Khan told Reuters in late June that he was worried about contracting Ebola. "I am afraid for my life, I must say, because I cherish my life," he said in an interview, showing no signs of ill health at the time.
"Health workers are prone to the disease because we are the first port of
by ilene - July 23rd, 2014 6:06 pm
Courtesy of Bill Bonner
US stocks dropped on Thursday, after news broke that someone shot down a Malaysian passenger airplane over eastern Ukraine. Then came the report that Israel had ordered a ground assault on Gaza. The Dow lost 161 points. Gold shot up $17 an ounce.
This comes only days after the Princess of Peace, Janet Yellen, assured investors that most stocks were fairly priced. We don’t doubt that she was right. Prices are set by willing buyers and sellers, operating on the basis of what they know at the time.
What they knew on Wednesday was that Yellen had their backs. Thursday, they weren’t so sure. Friday’s another matter …
Swinging Both Ways
Fair – in the context of market prices – has nothing to do with it. Mr. Market goeth whither he wouldst… given the facts on the ground and the theories in the air. The important questions: Does Mr. Market intend to take prices down now? Can Yellen manipulate them higher faster than he can push them down?
Helpful as always, we have no answer to either question. Instead, we have something more important to tell you. It’s an instinct, an intuition and an observation: Prices always go both ways.
No, we are not revealing any deep market secret. Nor any special insight into the world’s crises. We are just observing that trouble comes when it is needed. Markets can’t go in only one direction forever. Sooner or later, they need a reason to turn around.
Here’s another important insight: The longer the trouble is held off, the more trouble there is waiting to express itself. US stock prices and corporate earnings are near all-time highs. Those two facts seem to click. But they warn us too: Lows follow highs.
At highs it always seems like it cannot go down – and then it does – click to enlarge.
A Crowded Theater
Debt is at all time highs, too. And the cost of capital – expressed as